Concentrate less on the ‘philosophy’ aspect of libraries

Keene Grammar School Class, Keene New HampshireThis anonymous interview is with a public librarian who has been a hiring manager and a member of a hiring or search committee. This person hires the following types of LIS professionals:

Library managers for small/medium rural area libraries. Some of the hires manage up to 3 or 4 libraries — so some practical work experience in a public library setting is essential!

This librarian works at a library with 50-100 staff members in an rural area in the Midwestern US .

Do library schools teach candidates the job skills you are looking for in potential hires?

√ Depends on the school/Depends on the candidate

Should library students focus on learning theory or gaining practical skills? (Where 1 means Theory, 5 means practice, and 3 means both equally)

3

What coursework do you think all (or most) MLS/MLIS holders should take, regardless of focus?

√ Budgeting/Accounting
√ Library Management
√ Collection Management
√ Programming (Events)
√ Web Design/Usability
√ Digital Collections
√ Reference
√ Readers’ Advisory
√ Services to Special Populations
√ Outreach
√ Marketing
√ Soft Skills (e.g. Communication, Interpersonal Relations)

Do you find that there are skills that are commonly lacking in MLS/MLIS holders? If so, which ones?

Customer Service, dealing with a diverse public, Managing staff!, budgeting, collection development/weeding!, working with boards – city/county officials,

When deciding who to hire out of a pool of candidates, do you value skills gained through coursework and skills gained through practice differently?

√ Yes–I value skills gained through a student job more highly

Which skills (or types of skills) do you expect a new hire to learn on the job (as opposed to at library school)?

Technical skills such as using various ILS systems, copy cataloging, some budgeting etc.

Which of the following experiences should library students have upon graduating?

√ Library work experience
√ Teaching assistant/Other instructional experience

Which library schools give candidates an edge (you prefer candidates from these schools)?

No preference.

Are there any library schools whose alumni you would be reluctant to hire?

No.

What advice do you have for students who want to make the most of their time in library school?

Get some practical work experience! Concentrate less on the ‘philosophy’ aspect of libraries -although I do feel that a basic knowledge of theory/practice is needed to get the background and to buy into the core beliefs of library service – it is much more helpful to have the ‘practical’ knowledge of budgeting, managing people, customer service, collection development/how to weed.

This survey was coauthored by Brianna Marshallfrom Hack Library School. Interested in progressive blogging, by, for, and about library students? Check it out!

Special Note: From December 6, 2013 to October 24, 2014, the ALA will accept comments on the Draft revised Standards for Accreditation of Master’s Programs in Library and Information Studies. More information about the process of changing these standards is here. If you have opinions about what people should be learning in library school, here’s a way that you can influence change.

Do you hire librarians? Tell us, “What Should Potential Hires Learn in Library School?”: http://tinyurl.com/hiringlibschoolsurvey

Leave a comment

Filed under 50-100 staff members, Midwestern US, Public, Rural area, What Should Potential Hires Learn in Library School

More actively recruit the best candidates by keeping tabs on networks like LinkedIn

William Williams on a railway jigger, rabbit hunting in Otago, ca 1900This 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 less than six months. This person is looking in academic and public libraries, at the following levels: entry level, requiring at least two years of experience, and supervisory. Here is this person’s experience with internships/volunteering:

Prior to graduate school, I held two different part-time positions at a public library and an academic library for a total of over three years. During graduate school, I held a year-long internship at a public library as well as a part-time position in an academic library for a 7 months. Immediately after graduate school, I was given the opportunity to fill a part-time interim position at a school library before successfully being hired for a full time job, 5 months after graduation. None of my positions have been repeat positions – they have all been different positions in different departments. I have never volunteered in a library, in part because I have always been able to find paying jobs/internships. I did try to volunteer in a preservation department during graduate school, but timing did not work out and certain policies prevented me from doing so without internship credits attached.

This job hunter is in a suburban area in the Northeastern US and is willing to move to a specific area of this job hunter’s choosing.

What are the top three things you’re looking for in a job?

A decent salary, Location, Flexible schedule

Where do you look for open positions?

The Ischool at Drexel’s Job Page, I Need a Library Job, ALA Joblist

Do you expect to see salary range listed in a job ad?

√ Yes, and it’s a red flag when it’s not

What’s your routine for preparing an application packet? How much time do you spend on it?

Total Timing: probably about an hour. Fill out the application/make sure my resume is up-to-date first. Write cover letter, usually at a different time – ex. hours later, or the next day.

Have you ever stretched the truth, exaggerated, or lied on your resume, or at some other point during the hiring process?

√ No

When would you like employers to contact you?

√ To tell me if I have or have not been selected to move on to the interview stage
√ Once the position has been filled, even if it’s not me

How do you prefer to communicate with potential employers?

√ Email

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 facilit
√ Meeting department members/potential co-workers

What do you think employers should do to get the best candidates to apply?

More actively recruit the best candidates by keeping tabs on networks like LinkedIn

What should employers do to make the hiring process less painful?

Do not require that repeat information be given — if what is being required to be filled out on the application can be found on the resume (also required), only one of those portions really needs to be required.

Communicate more. Especially when positions are filled.

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

Knowing someone in the company/prior experience in the company.

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!

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Filed under Job hunter's survey, Northeastern US, Suburban area

Directly coming in from painting their house

Interview outfit and desk by Flickr user TanaiseThis anonymous interview is with a public librarian who has been a hiring manager and a member of a hiring or search committee. This librarian works at a library with 10-50 staff members in a city/town in the Western US  

What Candidates Should Wear

Should the candidate wear a suit to the interview?

√ Yes, absolutely! It shows respect and professionalism

An outfit with a coordinated blazer and trousers:

√ Counts as a suit

Bare arms are inappropriate in an interview, even in the summer.

√ True

If a woman wears a skirt to an interview, should she also wear pantyhose?

√ Either pantyhose or tights. Bare legs are inappropriate

Women should wear make-up to an interview:

√ I don’t care, as long as it’s not over-the-top

Is there anything a candidate might wear that would cause them to be instantly out of the running? If you have any funny stories about horrifying interview outfits, we’d love to hear them.

Flip flops.
Directly coming in from painting their house
Jeans and shirt (for professional job- we expect that for our shelvers!)

Do you expect different levels of formality of dress, depending on the position you’re hiring for?

√ Yes, the higher the position, the more formal I expect the candidate to dress

Which jewelry may candidates wear: (Please select all that are acceptable)

√ Single, simple necklace, bracelet, and/or ring
√ A few simple necklaces, bracelets, and/or rings
√ Arty or more elaborate necklaces, bracelets, or rings
√ Earrings
√ Multiple Ear Piercings

Which hair colors are acceptable for candidates:

√ Natural colors (black, brown, red, blonde, gray)

The way a candidate dresses should:

√ Show personality

How does what a candidate wears affect your hiring decision?

If they don’t care enough to dress up and look professional, then I’m not sure they care enough to do the job I’m looking for.

What This Library Wears

How do you dress when you are going to conduct an interview?

Professionally, business dress

On a scale of one (too dressed up for my workplace) to five (too casual), khakis and a polo shirt are:

3

What’s the dress code at your library/organization?

√ Business casual

Are there any specific items of clothing, etc. that are forbidden by your dress code? (Please check all that apply)

√ Jeans
√ Flip flops
√ Tank tops
√ Logos/band insignia/slogans

Librarians at your organization wear: (Please check all that apply)

√ Badges

This survey was co-authored by Jill of Librarian Hire Fashion – submit your interview outfit to her blog!

Photo: Interview outfit and desk by Flickr user Tanaise

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Filed under 10-50 staff members, City/town, Western US, What Should Candidates Wear?

Be respectful to practicing librarians

New England Girls School, ArmidaleThis anonymous interview is with an academic librarian who has been a hiring manager and a member of a hiring or search committee. This person hires the following types of LIS professionals:

circulation and access, discovery services, interlibrary loan, electronic resources, metadata and digital services, all tech services areas such as acquisitions

This librarian works at a library with 100-200 staff members in an city/town in the Midwestern US.

Do library schools teach candidates the job skills you are looking for in potential hires?

√ Depends on the school/Depends on the candidate

Should library students focus on learning theory or gaining practical skills? (Where 1 means Theory, 5 means practice, and 3 means both equally)

3

What coursework do you think all (or most) MLS/MLIS holders should take, regardless of focus?

√ Cataloging
√ Library Management
√ Collection Management
√ Programming (Events)
√ Metadata
√ Digital Collections
√ History of Books/Libraries
√ Reference
√ Information Behavior
√ Instruction
√ Field Work/Internships

Do you find that there are skills that are commonly lacking in MLS/MLIS holders? If so, which ones?

People skills– library schools should interview applicants and screen out truly dysfunctional people, especially those with advanced degrees in other areas.

When deciding who to hire out of a pool of candidates, do you value skills gained through coursework and skills gained through practice differently?

√ Yes–I value skills gained through a student job more highly

Which skills (or types of skills) do you expect a new hire to learn on the job (as opposed to at library school)?

how to work with a specific system, how a library structure works, supervision

Which of the following experiences should library students have upon graduating?

√ Library work experience
√ Conference presentation
√ Other presentation
√ Professional organization involvement

Which library schools give candidates an edge (you prefer candidates from these schools)?

Illinois, UCLA, North Carolina, Indiana

Are there any library schools whose alumni you would be reluctant to hire?

San Jose State

What advice do you have for students who want to make the most of their time in library school?

It’s about what they put into it; even if courses are easy, work hard to get to know your instructor and find library work as a student. Be respectful to practicing librarians and try to attend at least one library conference to network and get a bigger picture.

Do you have any other comments, for library schools or students, or about the survey?

Most library schools do a very poor job of teaching digital topics, and do not orient students to seek continuing education as well as they should.

This survey was coauthored by Brianna Marshallfrom Hack Library School. Interested in progressive blogging, by, for, and about library students? Check it out!

Special Note: From December 6, 2013 to October 24, 2014, the ALA will accept comments on the Draft revised Standards for Accreditation of Master’s Programs in Library and Information Studies. More information about the process of changing these standards is here. If you have opinions about what people should be learning in library school, here’s a way that you can influence change.

Do you hire librarians? Tell us, “What Should Potential Hires Learn in Library School?”: http://tinyurl.com/hiringlibschoolsurvey

Leave a comment

Filed under 100-200 staff members, Academic, Midwestern US, What Should Potential Hires Learn in Library School

I always try to submit within a week of the job’s posting.

Hunting with dogsThis anonymous interview is with a job hunter who is currently employed (even if part-time or in an unrelated field), has not 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, public, school, and special libraries, archives, library vendors/service providers, museums, non-profits, etc., at the following levels: entry level and supervisory. Here is this person’s experience with internships/volunteering:

I have volunteered and worked in various libraries (public, academic, special) for over 10 years, working my way up to working in Circulation and as an assistant supervisor position.

This job hunter is in an urban area in the Midwestern US and is not willing to move.

What are the top three things you’re looking for in a job?

The most important part for me is: 1) Healthy working environment (collaborative, good communication, supports ideas/innovation), and closely followed by: 2) Location (near buses and/or trains, commute under 1 hour each way), 3) Continuing education (supports conferences, classes, and courses)

Where do you look for open positions?

Indeed.com, Glassdoor.com, NPO.net, RAILS (Reaching Across Illinois Library System), CARLI (Consortium of Academic and Research Libraries Illinois), City of Chicago, Evanston, Skokie, Oak Park, and similar suburban cities jobs listings (library jobs are rarely posted), ALA Joblist, Various listservs, Email notifications (City of Chicago allows for notifications when library positions open up), Various university and college jobs pages (Loyola, DePaul, Roosevelt, University of Chicago, UIC, Columbia College of Chicago, Chicago Community Colleges, etc), Facebook, since some friends message or post job opportunities they find

Do you expect to see salary range listed in a job ad?

√ Yes, and it’s a red flag when it’s not

What’s your routine for preparing an application packet? How much time do you spend on it?

First, I brush up and tweak my resume to highlight certain skills for a job, and then craft the cover letter to explain or serve as a supplement for my skills. If a job application system asks for short answers, I always copy and paste those into a Word document so I have it for future job applications. Then I submit. It can take anywhere from 3 hours to a few days from finding the position and submitting the last of the required documents.

I always try to submit within a week of the job’s posting.

Have you ever stretched the truth, exaggerated, or lied on your resume, or at some other point during the hiring process?

√ No

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?

√ Email

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
√ Being able to present

What do you think employers should do to get the best candidates to apply?

Always post the salary range. You’d be surprised at how many people might be willing to apply to lower level salaried jobs.

Be realistic about skills, that is, don’t ask for extensive experience for a low-level or entry-level position.

What should employers do to make the hiring process less painful?

Keep us posted about the process, even if it’s an automated answer.
“We have received your application…it may take up to __ weeks to hear back etc”
“We’re sorry, you have not been selected”
“You have been selected for interview…”

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

Tell me if you ever find out.

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!

Leave a comment

Filed under Job hunter's survey, Midwestern US, Urban area

For Public Review: Unnamed Job Hunter 2

Welcome to crowd-sourced resume review for LIS job hunters!

Please help the job hunter below by using the comment button to offer constructive criticism on her resume. Some guidelines for constructive feedback are here, and the ALA NMRT has brief tips for reviewing resumes here.

This 2 page resume was submitted by a job hunter who says,

I intend to use it for lower level public library positions such library assistant III, II, or I. I am still in my first year of the library graduate program but am actively applying for positions.

Resume_for _critique_2014 page 1 Resume_for _critique_2014 page 2

To submit your resume or CV For Public Review,

  • send it as a Word document or PNG or JPEG image to hiringlibrariansresumereviewATgmail.
  • It will be posted as-is, so please remove any information that you are not comfortable having publically available (I suggest removing your address and phone number at a minimum).
  • Please include a short statement identifying if it’s a resume or CV and
  • describing the types of positions you’re using it for (ie institution type, position level, general focus).
  • Finally, you will also need to confirm that you agree to comment on at least five other posted resumes.

10 Comments

Filed under For Public Review, Paraprofessional, Resume Review

Some people just don’t project a professional image, no matter what they wear. Those are the people I likely don’t hire.

Interview outfit by Flickr user everyplaceThis anonymous interview is with a public librarian who has been a hiring manager. This librarian works at a library with 50-100 staff members in a City/town in the Midwestern US. 

What Candidates Should Wear

Should the candidate wear a suit to the interview?

√ Probably not (but it’s ok if the candidate does wear one)

An outfit with a coordinated blazer and trousers:

√ Counts as a suit

Bare arms are inappropriate in an interview, even in the summer.

√ I don’t care

If a woman wears a skirt to an interview, should she also wear pantyhose?

√ No, but it’s not a dealbreaker

Women should wear make-up to an interview:

√ I don’t care what’s on the face, it’s what’s in the brain that counts

Is there anything a candidate might wear that would cause them to be instantly out of the running? If you have any funny stories about horrifying interview outfits, we’d love to hear them.

I want applicants to wear work attire to an interview. Whatever is appropriate for a workday is a appropriate. Jeans or shorts are a dealbreaker.

Do you expect different levels of formality of dress, depending on the position you’re hiring for?

√ No

Which jewelry may candidates wear: (Please select all that are acceptable) 

√ A few simple necklaces, bracelets, and/or rings
√ Arty or more elaborate necklaces, bracelets, or rings
√ Nose Ring (nostril)
√ Earrings
√ Multiple Ear Piercings

Which hair colors are acceptable for candidates:

√ Natural colors (black, brown, red, blonde, gray)

The way a candidate dresses should:

√ Be fairly neutral

How does what a candidate wears affect your hiring decision?

Piercings and/or non-natural hair colors would cause me to make a judgement about the person, probably.

Some people just don’t project a professional image, no matter what they wear. Those are the people I likely don’t hire.

What This Library Wears

How do you dress when you are going to conduct an interview?

I generally would wear one of my nicer work outifts. I do not own a suit, and I almost always wear pants, so likely pants and a dressy top.

On a scale of one (too dressed up for my workplace) to five (too casual), khakis and a polo shirt are:

3

What’s the dress code at your library/organization?

√ Business casual

Are there any specific items of clothing, etc. that are forbidden by your dress code? (Please check all that apply)

√ Jeans
√ Flip flops
√ Visible Tattoos
√ Short skirts/shorts
√ Tank tops
√ Logos/band insignia/slogans

Librarians at your organization wear: (Please check all that apply)

√ Badges

Do you have any other comments?

Age of the responder may have been helpful. I know that my organization has dress code issues due to the advancing age of some of the employees/managers.

This survey was co-authored by Jill of Librarian Hire Fashion – submit your interview outfit to her blog!

Photo:  Interview outfit by Flickr user everyplace

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Filed under 50-100 staff members, City/town, Midwestern US, Public, What Should Candidates Wear?