a quick note saying that applications are still being reviewed and that mine hasn’t fallen into the black hole

Hunting party, probably Christchurch district, [ca 1915]This 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 a year to 18 months. This person is looking in academic libraries, at the following levels: requiring at least two years of experience, supervisory.

This job hunter is in an city/town in the Southern US and is willing to move within Texas

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

Instruction as a main duty of the position
Colleagues that have a sense of humor
Professional development support

Where do you look for open positions?

Instruction as a main duty of the position
Colleagues that have a sense of humor
Professional development support

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 spend most of my time drafting the cover letter (about an hour). I usually take the job description, review previous cover letters I have written and cut/paste relevant sections and re-draft them to make them relevant for the position I am applying for. I also restructure my resume as applicable.

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
√ Once the position has been filled, even if it’s not me
√ Other: If the review process is taking longer than expected (a quick note saying that applications are still being reviewed and that mine hasn’t fallen into the black hole)

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
√ Being able to present

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

- Honestly list expectations of someone in the open position. Some institutions have a blanket librarian job description that doesn’t cover actual expectations.
– List a salary range in job postings.
– Advertise the position through professional organizations.

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

- Communicate at all stages with applicants.

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

Not applying for jobs for which you don’t have the qualifications. It bogs down the selection committee unnecessarily, but also wastes your time. And be yourself, it comes out in the interview anyway, so try to portray your personality a little in the cover letter so the interviewers know what to expect and it may help you get to the interview stage in the first place!

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 City/town, Job hunter's survey, Southern US

Real life experience will trump classroom knowledge if all else is equal.

Public Schools Athletic League (LOC)This anonymous interview is with a public librarian who has been a member of a hiring or search committee. This person hires the following types of LIS professionals:

Children’s librarian
Reference Manager
YA librarian
Director
Assistant Director

This librarian works at a library with 50-100 staff members in a 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)

4

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

√ Budgeting/Accounting
√ Project Management
√ Library Management
√ Collection Management
√ Web Design/Usability
√ Metadata
√ Digital Collections
√ Archives
√ Outreach
√ Marketing
√ Instruction
√ Soft Skills (e.g. Communication, Interpersonal Relations)
√ Other: Supervision

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

Experience or coursework in Supervising staff
working with and handling a budget

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)?

dealing with the public
library procedures
creating reports

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

√ Library work experience
√ Internship or practicum
√ Other presentation
√ Teaching assistant/Other instructional experience

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

none to me

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?

take the practical classes that will give you real world experience or knowledge.

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

Only that real life experience will trump classroom knowledge if all else is equal. Get out and work in a library either as paid staff or as a volunteer.

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, City/town, Midwestern US, Public, What Should Potential Hires Learn in Library School

Information Architecture and Knowledge Management aren’t covered well in many programs

school children in japanThis 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:

librarians for a branch library (all levels – entry through supervisor and youth librarian)
Library Assistants
Pages

This librarian works at a library with 10-50 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?

√ 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)

4

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

√ Cataloging
√ Project Management
√ Library Management
√ Collection Management
√ Web Design/Usability
√ Digital Collections
√ Reference
√ Information Behavior
√ Marketing

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

Library Management is consistently lacking and was when I was in library school.
Reader’s Advisory – especially for public library-focused students – is important, especially in youth and teen areas and is not taught well in many places.
Technical skills are getting better, with many schools requiring blogging or web site development, but both Information Architecture and Knowledge Management aren’t covered well in many programs.

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 coursework 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)?

Customer service, staff interaction (especially as we’re seeing younger and younger LIS and IS graduates, for whom this is the first job), the specific ILS that the library uses

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

√ Library work experience
√ Internship or practicum

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

No real preference – it all depends on the candidate.

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

University of South Florida

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

Do as many internships and get as much practical experience as you can. Theory is an excellent start, but nothing beats experience.

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 10-50 staff members, Public, Southern US, Suburban area, What Should Potential Hires Learn in Library School

Further Questions: Do you like hyperlinks included in resumes for sample or demonstration purposes?

This week we asked people who hire librarians:

Do you like hyperlinks included in resumes for sample or demonstration purposes? How have you seen this done well (or poorly)?

{Question suggestion via Twitter – we are always open to question suggestions… email hiringlibrariansquestions at gmail dot com or contact us on Twitter @hiringlib.}

Laurie Phillips

We’re fine with it. I send all of the applications to each of the search team electronically so they can click on links for that sort of thing. It’s nice if someone has an example of a project that is applicable. Remember that the committee members may print out your application for the initial screening meeting, so that may be lost. But committee members will review applications before and after that meeting. I can’t recall if I’ve seen someone do this.
- Laurie Phillips, Associate Dean for Technical Services, J. Edgar & Louise S. Monroe Library, Loyola University New Orleans

When we were hiring a new Graphics person, we found candidates used this feature and it was very useful. Don’t know how it would work for other positions.

- Kaye Grabbe, Lake Forest Library

I have seen applicants do this in their publishing and presenting section which I find helpful given we are hiring for faculty positions. I have also seen this done throughout an applicant’s CV to show general, non-scholarly work which I think is distracting an inappropriate. Some applicants will provide one link to a professional blog (or similar) where they have non-scholarly work in one place which is acceptable, in this case, however, it is work that the applicant has selected which has not gone through a peer review process like a presentation or publication would have.

- Julie Leuzinger, Department Head, Eagle Commons Library, University of North Texas

J. McRee ElrodYes, so long as they are well labeled.  They are excellent for lengthy resumes, and in our case, sample MARC records which have been prepared.
- J. McRee (Mac) Elrod, Special Libraries Catalouging

 

 

Thank you as always to our contributors for their time and insight.  If you’re someone who hires librarians and are interested in participating in this feature, please email us at hiringlibrariansquestionsATgmail.com.

Thank YOU for reading!  If you liked reading, you’re going to really love COMMENTING.

1 Comment

Filed under Further Questions

no opinion

Goose hunting in Klamath County, Oregon, OSU Special Collections via Flickr CommonsThis 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 libraries, archives, and public libraries, for positions requiring at least two years of experience.

This job hunter is in a suburban area in the Northeastern US and is not willing to move.

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

professional environment
collegial environment
intellectual challenge

Where do you look for open positions?

listservs
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?

30 minutes

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)?

√ Meeting department members/potential co-workers

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

no opinion

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

communicate! acknowledge apps, let applicant know if they are no longer being considered

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

knowing someone in the organization

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, Northeastern US, Suburban area

Do you have collections I care about? Will I actually enjoy doing these tasks?

This 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 and special collections at the entry level. Here is this person’s experience with internships/volunteering:

I’ve completed one internship working as a processing archivist at a national park. I’ve taken two different internships at the same university special collections, one as a processing archivist and the other as a rare book cataloger. I’ve also worked part time for a year and a half at a rare book library and volunteered at a private research library and archive dedicated to African American history.

This job hunter is in an urban area in the Western US and says:

My preferred locations are Texas and Southern California, but I’d move pretty much anywhere for the ideal job

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

Type of institution/job responsibilities-Do you have collections I care about? Will I actually enjoy doing these tasks?
Location/number of potential applicants-Do I actually want to live in this place? Is there even a point in trying for this position?
Institutional personality and atmosphere-Do you require that I overwrite my personality with your institution’s or do I have the autonomy to use my preexisting personality to find ways to contribute?

Where do you look for open positions?

ALA Joblist, professional listservs, state professional association joblists, general job search websites, government joblists, websites for specific municipalities/universities/etc.

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

√ Other: No, but if you don’t give me a range, I won’t give you a number unless you force me [to].

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

I spend a lot of time on each cover letter, probably too much time, average of 2+ hours.

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

√ Other: Sometimes I’ve said I had a degree (which I will get in one month) because my only options are radio buttons and if I select “Did not graduate” it implies I flunked out.

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 facility
√ Meeting department members/potential co-workers

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

Don’t let some guy in HR who doesn’t understand the job requirements write the job requirements.
Put emphasis on qualify of a person’s skillset (regardless of whether they have worked 1 year or 5).
Be more open-minded about what kinds of experience and education qualify a person for a job.
Don’t pigeon-hole applicants and assume only specialists can get the job done.

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

Let me know that I didn’t get selected. Let me know the main reason I didn’t get selected even if it’s one sentence “Not enough instruction experience” or “skillset not relevant,” etc.

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

10% meeting job requirements and having a good application package, 20% knowing someone, 70% luck that you happen to align with the hiring committee’s idiosyncrasies and tastes

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, Urban area, Western US

That reference class by Bill Katz not only taught me resources, but behaviors by librarians and our customers.

Blumengart School Children 1963This anonymous interview is with a special 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:

searchers

This librarian works at a library with 10-50 staff members in a suburban area. The respondent did not list a geographical location.

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)

4

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

√ Budgeting/Accounting
√ Project Management
√ Library Management
√ Programming (Coding)
√ Metadata
√ History of Books/Libraries
√ Research Methods
√ Reference
√ Information Behavior
√ Outreach
√ Marketing
√ Instruction
√ Soft Skills (e.g. Communication, Interpersonal Relations)
√ Field Work/Internships

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

Project management is huge, no matter where you work, or what your job turns out to be. Being able to break down a project into the individual bits, delegating where possible, and seeing others’ strengths to use for your project are vital.

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

√ Other: I want to see the skill, not just hear about it.

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

individual site/group processes. I expect them to build upon what they learned in school. That reference class by Bill Katz not only taught me resources, but behaviors by librarians and our customers.

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

√ Library work experience
√ Internship or practicum
√ Other: some experience with the tools they’ll be working with in their new job

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

learn some programming to understand IT, people skills to understand management needs later on, and expose yourself to as much as you can

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

Be open to those ‘other’ opportunities that come up. Volunteer for all sorts of cross functional teams once you’re in a job, and learn from everyone. If you’re not an extrovert, try to channel one when you can. Smile.

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 10-50 staff members, Special, What Should Potential Hires Learn in Library School