I do not need a personal note on embossed stationery, just a courtesy of where we are in the process

ConDev5378A Hunting Dog, 1945, Washington County, NCThis 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 less than six months . This person is looking in academic libraries, at the following levels: requiring at least two years of experience, supervisory, senior librarian, director/dean.:

This job hunter is in a rural area, in the Western US, and is willing to move anywhere.

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

Supportive and forward thinking administration. Opportunity for education and/or advancement. Consistent and clear expectations for librarians, staff, and library direction.

Where do you look for open positions?

Higher Ed Jobs, INALJ, PNLA

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?

2 hours to tailor the resume/cv & cover letter. 2 to 5 hours (or more) reading the positions entire website, looking up library staff on LinkedIn, finding library staff websites, perusing the college catalog and local news for what has been happening at the college or what will be happening

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

√ Yes

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
√ Other: They can be form replies. I do not need a personal note on embossed stationery, just a courtesy of where we are in the process.

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)?

√ 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?

Be upfront with what the expectations are. Really think about what skills your library needs to be successful and go after those skill sets. Give a salary range and have a policy surrounding where a candidate can be expected to fall. Not having arbitrary policy such as, “Everyone starts at the beginning pay range.”

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

Be organized, know what skills set they want and tailor the interview to those skills. I have been to interviews for Instructional Librarian positions and never been asked to teach. That is a dead give-away they have no idea what I do or how to tell if I do it well.
Be forthcoming in where you are in the process (position closed, not considered, considered and you will hear from us by x date, not chosen for an interview, chosen for an interview that will be scheduled by x date, position filled) and notify applicants within a reasonable time frame.

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

Being clear on what your skill set is. Showing interest, asking questions that show you did your homework and know what they value. Being courteous and polite to everyone you encounter (janitors, secretaries etc.) And being yourself even when you realize it is not going to be a good fit.

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, Rural area, Western US

I have been offered every job that I have interviewed for

Hunting with Texas Jim Mitchell and friends in the Florida EvergladesThis 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 six months to a year. This person is looking in academic libraries, at the following levels: entry level, requiring at least two years of experience. Here is this person’s experience with internships/volunteering:

I have 1.5 yrs of professional experience, but before I got this job, I had a totally awesome reference internship while in library school. That is hands-down the reason I got my first full-time job.

This job hunter is in an urban area in the Southern US and is willing to move to a short list of places.

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

job duties that fit my interests/skill sets, an institution that fits my criteria, compensation that completes the equation given the previous two requirements

Where do you look for open positions?

ALA Joblist, Chronicle of Higher Ed, Higher Ed Jobs, individual institution websites

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

√ No (even if I might think it *should* be)

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

Rewrite or repurpose resume and cover letter (5 hours)
Familiarize myself with their website (2 hours)
Investigate best practices for any skills that I don’t have (? hours)

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

√ Other: I have massaged the truth of a past experience to fit situational questions during an interview, but I don’t consider that lying

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
√ Once the position has been filled, even if it’s not me

How do you prefer to communicate with potential employers?

√ Phone for good news, email for bad news

Which events during the interview/visit are most important to your assessment of the position (i.e. deciding if you want the job)?

√ Meeting department members/potential co-workers

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

Use direct descriptions of job duties, instead of vague terms; give brief overview of what is happening at the org, why position is being filled at this time; be willing to pay for the right person; (I don’t know if these things would necessarily bring the best candidates, but I feel like they should be direct for everyone’s sake)

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

Make hiring process transparent, communicate with applicants, create job postings that are truthful and direct; design interview questions to reflect position (no trick questions, no questions that are loaded with institutional history that candidates wouldn’t know), generally be humane

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

I have been offered every job that I have interviewed for, and I think the main reason is the people liked me and I connected with them. I am a new librarian and don’t have a terribly robust skill set outside of public services, but people know that I would be a good coworker, I have personality, and I genuinely love working with college students. I would learn quickly, bring enthusiasm, and can be quirky AND professional.

Do you have any comments, or are there any other questions you think we should add to this survey?

I think you could add something about how important it is to build your support network of people that help you along the job hunting process. I have trusted references who give me advice, look over my application materials, guide me away from bad postings, and have my back. You didn’t mention anything about those folks and I feel that they are a huge part of job hunting, at least for me.

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, Southern US, Urban area

Most MLS/MLIS holders are severely lacking in technical skills.

Rural school children, San Augustine County, Texas (LOC)This anonymous interview is with a public librarian who has been a hiring manager. This person hires the following types of LIS professionals:

Catalogers, children’s librarians, teen librarians, IT librarians

This librarian works at a library with 0-10 staff members in a suburban area in the Southern US.

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

√ No

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

4

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

√ Cataloging
√ Project Management
√ Collection Management
√ Programming (Events)
√ Programming (Coding)
√ Web Design/Usability
√ Research Methods
√ Reference
√ Readers’ Advisory
√ Outreach
√ Instruction
√ Other: SQL

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

Most MLS/MLIS holders are severely lacking in technical skills. This is problematic on many levels.

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

√ No preference–as long as they have the skill, I don’t care how they got it

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

Customer service skills, using specific makes and models of various types of equipment, and using a specific ILS are the major ones.

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

None. They are all behind the times.

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?

Learn tech skills – as many as you can. Learn Spanish.

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

Library schools are a few decades behind the times, for the most part. Customer service, readers advisory, organization skills, strong tech skills, and presentation skills are among the most important daily things for any librarian.

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

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Filed under 0-10 staff members, Public, Southern US, Suburban area, What Should Potential Hires Learn in Library School

Get experience any way you can.

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:

Reference librarians

This librarian works at a library with 0-10 staff members in a rural area in the Northeastern US.

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

√ Yes

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

4

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

√ Cataloging
√ Library Management
√ Collection Management
√ Digital Collections
√ Reference
√ Instruction
√ Soft Skills (e.g. Communication, Interpersonal Relations)

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 conduct a reference interview

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

√ Library work experience
√ Professional organization involvement
√ Teaching assistant/Other instructional experience

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

Get experience anyway you can.

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

I would like to see more libraries not require previous experience for entry level positions.

This survey was coauthored by Brianna Marshall from 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

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Filed under 0-10 staff members, Academic, Northeastern US, Rural area, What Should Potential Hires Learn in Library School

Working with undergrads during finals season is nothing to working with an office full of lawyers!

Ptarmagin HunterThis 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 less than six months. This person is looking in non-profit, research NGO, at the following levels: entry level, requiring at least two years of experience. Here is this person’s experience with internships/volunteering:

I was a mentee in an academic library environment for two years during graduate school, and had worked two years as a paraprofessional in an archive. I could not undertake any other internships, as I worked full time during school to support myself.

This job hunter is in an urban area in the Northeastern US and is willing to move anywhere.

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

As I read job ads, I am looking primarily for the following:
1. Work in digital literacy, emerging technologies, or digital humanities but with an emphasis on pedagogy rather than programming.
2. Location! I am willing to move for a job, but would prefer to stay in an urban environment.
3. A salary proportional to the local cost of living, factoring in student loan repayment. I can budget myself, but prefer not to starve.

Where do you look for open positions?

ALA Joblist, METRO, INALJ

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?

Depending on the application requirements, I spend 30-60 minutes on the required application materials. I keep a .doc file of various cover letter “sections,” which I can tailor to the ad itself. Many jobs require that I fill out an online application with the same information as in my CV, which adds to the overall time.

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

√ Yes

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)?

√ Being taken out to meal
√ Meeting department members/potential co-workers
√ Other: Watching a presentation from other library staff.

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

Employers need to look at qualities in a candidate beyond the basics addressed in the job ad. Experience in other areas of life or lines of work can translate to a library environment in different ways. I spent many years in the legal field, and I can say that working with undergrads during finals season is nothing to working with an office full of lawyers! It is up to the candidate to be able to articulate how such “unrelated” work can translate to the library world, but such work should not be discounted by the hiring manager.

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

I hate the standard HR systems that require I create a profile, enter all the info from my CV, and then upload the CV as well. Many places use the same software, but they do not link together. It is time consuming to create a whole new profile for every application, in addition to the actual application materials.

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

In my experience, a degree from the “right” school or knowing someone through networking can be instrumental in the initial process, but in an interview situation it is up to the candidate to “sell” why they are the best fit for the job. Often times it is not the “perfect” candidate who is hired, but the one with the right skills set who still has the ability to grow in the position.

Do you have any comments, or are there any other questions you think we should add to this survey?

I would be interested to know how many other “entry level” applicants are only “new” to professional library work, but have experience working in other fields- teaching, research, etc. and how this has impacted their job search/ work as a new librarian.

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, Urban area

If you already have my data at one stage in the process, don’t ask me for it again

Hunting guide Mr. Brown with wild turkeys near Green Swamp, FloridaThis anonymous interview is with a job hunter who is not 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 six months to a year. This person is looking in archives, academic, public, and special libraries, along with any library field that involves directly helping people, at the following levels: entry level, requiring at least two years of experience, supervisory, and anything that involves using my skills for direct contact with patrons.

This job hunter is in an urban area in the Western US and is willing to move anywhere.

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

A wage I can live on.
Something I enjoy doing.
A reasonable chance it will last for a long time.

Where do you look for open positions?

Google.
References from friends and fellow librarians.

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

√ No (even if I might think it *should* be)

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

I look at the ad.
I adjust my cover letter to fit what I think the position is asking for, sometimes using their buzzwords if I think they’re close enough to what I’m doing. Then I jump through all the hoops in the online application form.

Probably about 30-45 minutes per application, most of which is spent jumping through the hoops.

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?

√ Other: email for long detailed stuff, phone for urgent or good news

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
√ Other: some information about the students/clients/patrons of the library in question. Who am I going to be serving?

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

Figure out what they want.
Don’t put requirements on the job app that you aren’t going to use in the hiring process (e.g., when I asked in an interview about one qualification in the ad, I was told “the committee that wrote the description put it in there, we don’t know what it means.”)

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

Don’t make me jump through meaningless hoops. If you already have my data at one stage in the process, don’t ask me for it again (e.g., by having the form require references and then saying “please attach references in a separate document.”

Some kind of centralized matching service would be very nice — one-stop submissions. I realize that there are non-trivial difficulties associated with designing such a service.

Add a salary range. Then they skip the people who aren’t interested in that range.

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

Persistence.
Luck.
Matching your gifts to the situation.

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, Urban area, Western US

I am reluctant to hire online only students.

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

for a small public library – all departments

This librarian works at a library with 10-50 staff members in a suburban area 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?

√ Cataloging
√ Budgeting/Accounting
√ Grant Writing
√ Project Management
√ Collection Management
√ History of Books/Libraries
√ Research Methods
√ Reference
√ Readers’ Advisory
√ Outreach
√ Instruction
√ 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?

Budgeting and promoting one’s self as a professional

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

√ No preference–as long as they have the skill, I don’t care how they got it

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

Specifics of the Library they are hired by. What is taught in Library school does not always apply to a specific community/library. Library school is to understand why – practical work gives you the full rounded how and why together.

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

√ Library work experience

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

I am reluctant to hire online only students. There is an important dynamic missing when one does not have to interact in person with other students and the instructor. I consider those who are currently working in a library as usually a better hire.

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

Volunteer or get a part time position – even if it is as a page reshelving books – in the type of library you think you want to work in. Too many decide it is not what they wanted to do after all – especially in public libraries.

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

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Filed under Public, Rural area, Suburban area, What Should Potential Hires Learn in Library School