This anonymous interview is with a job hunter who is currently employed (even if part-time or in an unrelated field), has been hired within the last two months, and has been looking for a new position for more than 18 months. This person is looking in academic and public libraries, at the following levels:full time cataloger.
This job hunter is in a suburban area in the Northeastern US and is willing to move within two hours of this person’s hometown.
What are the top three things you’re looking for in a job?
Something that matches my interests (cataloging), something that pays well, something that isn’t too far from my home.
Where do you look for open positions?
Listserv, PALA, and the occasional search engine. For somewhat internal positions, I check my county library’s website.
Do you expect to see salary range listed in a job ad?
√ Other: It should be there, but it won’t prevent me from applying if I don’t see it.
What’s your routine for preparing an application packet? How much time do you spend on it?
I have a general cover letter and resume available on my computer. I make changes to my cover letter to fit the description of the job I apply for, but this takes less than half an hour. I have the information of references saved, which I can provide via an email. The most time I would spend on an application would be completing the formal application, which could take at least an hour.
Have you ever stretched the truth, exaggerated, or lied on your resume, or at some other point during the hiring process?
√ Other: If I need to exaggerate the truth, I’m probably not qualified for the position, and shouldn’t waste my time applying.
When would you like employers to contact you?
√ To acknowledge my application
√ To tell me if I have or have not been selected to move on to the interview stage
√ To follow-up after an interview
√ Once the position has been filled, even if it’s not me
How do you prefer to communicate with potential employers?
√ Other: Whichever is easiest for them.
Which events during the interview/visit are most important to your assessment of the position (i.e. deciding if you want the job)?
√ Tour of facility
√ Meeting department members/potential co-workers
√ Meeting with HR to talk about benefits/salary
What do you think employers should do to get the best candidates to apply?
Be specific about what you want in an employer. Don’t say something vague like “good customer service and library experience”. If you’re only going to seriously consider people with 5+ years of experience and a LIS degree, say it. Include the salary in the ad, including whether it’s negotiable. There are a lot of experienced people without jobs, and it’s a waste of our time to have to send out resumes and applications without knowing all of the necessary facts.
What should employers do to make the hiring process less painful?
Notify everyone who applies that you’ve received their information, the overall time frame, and whether or not they’ve been chosen to interview. After the interview, notify applicants in a timely manner whether they have or have not been chosen. The process is a lot more stressful for people applying for a position, especially one they really need, than HR may be able to remember. The necessary transfer of correct information is imperative.
What do you think is the secret to getting hired?
It depends on a number of elements, including the basic element of luck. I secured my first library job by having a great interview with the manager, who was close to my age and very easy to like. On a later interview, the question of who would be hired was determined entirely by the combined score achieved on the interview questions, calculated objectively by a group of three interviewers. References and likeability had no influence on the decision. You have to prepare beforehand for some “basic” interview questions, but you also have to be prepared to go with the flow. You might get hired by doing a lot of listening and little talking. Or, you might be expected to do most of the talking. You also need the qualifications stated on the advertisement, and then some.
Do you have any comments, or are there any other questions you think we should add to this survey?
Are you hunting for a new LIS job? Take the survey! http://tinyurl.com/hiringlibJOBHUNTERsurvey
This survey was co-authored by Naomi House from I Need A Library Job – Do you need one? Check it out!