Monthly Archives: November 2012

Reader Response Requested: What Do You Read for Career Advice?

This week I wanted to do something a little different for Further Questions, and have YOU the readers answer my question.  Please leave a comment below to let us know:

Is there a particular publication (book, blog, column, magazine, journal, podcast, etc. etc.) that you regularly read for career advice?  How did you hear about this resource and what makes it so valuable to you?

Here are two responses from people who hire librarians to get you started:

J. McRee Elrod

For a cataloguer Autocat is essential.  RDA-L and Bibframe may be informative.  I’ve been an Autocat reader so long I do not remember how I learned of it.  I learned of RDA-L and Bibframe from Autocat.

– J. McRee (Mac) Elrod, Special Libraries Catalouging

Marleah AugustineI like American Libraries (from ALA) and Public Libraries (from PLA), more for ideas about new directions for libraries and for programming ideas rather than career advice. I always find myself dog-earing pages and saving ideas featured in the articles.

Also not necessarily career advice, but work-related: as a late-twentysomething trying to be fashionable in the workplace, I turn to blogs like Academichic (no new posting, but their archives are still helpful) for ideas about keeping my wardrobe fresh.

– Marleah Augustine, Adult Department Librarian at Hays Public Library

So how about you?  

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Business Professional not Library Sloppy

Business Woman with Tablet

 

 

This anonymous interview is with an Academic librarian who has been a hiring manager and a member of a hiring or search committee. This person works at a library with 0-10 staff members in a rural area of the Southern US.

What Candidates Should Wear

Should the candidate wear a suit to the interview?

√ Other: Suit or professional dress.

An outfit with a coordinated blazer and trousers:

√ Counts as a suit

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

√ Other: What impression are you wanting to leave?

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, 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.

No, not necessarily. It is difficult to live down a first impression. One candidate took off their shoes and continued a portion of the interview in barefeet. Showing up in flannel, tastefully done, but not really appropriate for the position being interviewed. Shorts – not a good idea. Flip flops – not a good idea.

Can you share any stories about how a candidate nailed the proper interview outfit, especially if your organization does not expect suits?

While it may not be written or identified in detail, in the working world, there is a range of uniforms from business casual to formal. Then there’s just sloppy. We interviewed somebody once who had the “insider’s” chance for the job. The person took the job interview seriously and dressed professionally, business professional not library sloppy. She respected the position and showed that even with all of the advantages she had for acquiring that position, she did not depend on those alone. It meant something to her to dress well for the interview. Best hire I ever made and one of the best colleagues I’ve ever worked with.

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)

√ Other: I really don’t care other than present a professional appearance.

Which hair colors are acceptable for candidates:

√ All of them, even pink

The way a candidate dresses should:

√ Other: be professional.

How does what a candidate wears affect your hiring decision?

It may not in the hiring; it could play into the expectation for dress during the first 90 days and whether they continue employment.

What This Library Wears

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

shirt/tie with blazer or suit jacket.

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

1

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

√ Other: We’re casual to a degree. Frontline staff are encouraged not to wear blue jeans unless for special work projects.

Do you have any other comments?

It’s interesting that in a profession that is so concerned with it’s professional image, the library professional is known and recognized as sloppy. The membership often complains about not being taken as serious as other professions; but the “accept me as I am” attitude offers them what they’re requesting. While we should not judge a book by its cover, talk with any publisher, and you know that book covers can be the make or break of a book because, regardless of the adage, we still do.

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

Photo: Stockimages on FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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Filed under 0-10 staff members, Academic, Rural area, Southern US, What Should Candidates Wear?

I Think You Can Show Personality and Be Neutral at the Same Time.

Business Woman Smiling

This anonymous interview is with an Academic Librarian who has been a hiring manager and a member of a hiring or search committee.  This person works in a city/town in the Southern US, at a library with 10-50 staff members.  Or more precisely, 4 librarians and 14 staff + librarians.

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:

√ Is totally different

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

√ Other: Yes, unless it’s too warm in the building. Start with a suit jacket, and remove it if necessary.

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

√ Other: yes, but it’s not a dealbreaker

Women should wear make-up to an interview:

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

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
√ Nose Ring (nostril)
√ Eyebrow Ring, Monroe piercing, septum piercing, or other face piercing
√ Earrings
√ Multiple Ear Piercings
√ Large gauge ear jewelry (stretched ears)

Which hair colors are acceptable for candidates:

√ All of them, even pink

The way a candidate dresses should:

√ Other: I think you can show personality and be neutral at the same time.

How does what a candidate wears affect your hiring decision?

it’s secondary, but if we NOTICE what a candidate is wearing, it’s probably out of the ordinary, and might raise a flag.

What This Library Wears

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

in standard work clothes, which in my library is usually khakis or dressier. But we still expect our professional candidates to wear suits. (We do not have the same expectations for staff positions.)

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?

√ I don’t even know what any of that means

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

√ N/A: We wear what we want!

Do you have any other comments?

there’s a big difference between 10 and 50 staff members! We have 4 librarians and 14 staff + librarians.

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

Photo: imagerymajestic on FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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Filed under 10-50 staff members, Academic, Southern US, What Should Candidates Wear?

That’s Too Sensitive an Issue. Allergies, etc. are Key Here.

Full Length of Business Woman

This anonymous interview is with a Public Librarian who has been a a hiring manager and a member of a hiring or search committee at a library with 10-50 staff members in a rural part of the Southern US.

What Candidates Should Wear

Should the candidate wear a suit to the interview?

√ Probably, yes (but it’s ok if the candidate wears something a little less formal)

An outfit with a coordinated blazer and trousers:

√ Counts as a suit

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

√ Other: How bare? Some sleeves are appropriate, no sleeves are not.

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:

√ Other: That’s too sensitive an issue. Allergies, etc. are key here.

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.

Candidate came in wearing a suit & tie. Took off the jacket, loosened the tie, rolled up the sleeves, and then sat down for the interview!

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
√ Earrings

Which hair colors are acceptable for candidates:

√ All of them, even pink

The way a candidate dresses should:

√ Show personality

What This Library Wears

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

I dress up as respect — I wear what I would consider appropropriate dress if I were being interviewed.

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

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

Librarians at your organization wear: Please check all that apply

√ Name tags

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

Photo: Stockimages on FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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Filed under 10-50 staff members, Public, Rural area, Southern US, What Should Candidates Wear?

Researcher’s Corner: Entry Level Job Opportunities for Academic Librarians

I’m very happy to be able to share Eamon Tewell’s research with you here, not only because I think the subject matter is very relevant for many of you readers, but because he did such a wonderful job of writing this informal summary. If you’d like to read a more formal, thorough account, follow the link to Project Muse, or search for the article cited below:

Tewell, E. (2012). Employment opportunities for new academic librarians: Assessing the availability of entry level jobs. portal: Libraries and the Academy, 12(4), 407-423.

Rather than being disheartened by the rather bleak results, I hope that this research will spur us to continue discussing how we can make more job opportunities for librarians, entry level and otherwise.  Please feel free to add your comments below.


Introduction

As a recent graduate seeking a professional position in an academic library, I spent most of a year looking for a job suitable for someone without a great deal of experience. Anecdotally, it seemed that many postings were for administrative positions that required years of post-MLS experience. Where were the entry level academic library jobs? Further, I wondered, what types of academic settings and which departments offered the most opportunities? These are two questions I attempted to answer by conducting research, of which the full version can be found at Project Muse (institutional subscription required). One goal of the article was to shed light on the reality of the job market for recent graduates–a market which new librarians know to be extremely challenging but for which little data exists to back up this assertion.

Methods

To examine the state of the academic library job market, I went directly to the job listings. Many articles that study job postings fail to take into account the many positions that are now advertised almost exclusively online in a wide variety of places. With this in mind, I used 22 different sources representing national, regional, and local listings to collect a total of 1385 job advertisements over a one year period from 2010-2011. These sources included national job aggregators (such as I Need A Library Job), regional listings (like ACRL/New York’s Job Listings), and human resources departments for individual institutions to make sure the maximum number of postings were found. A listing of the sources used to find job advertisements is included in the full article.

Defining which positions were and were not entry level was key. Using previous articles on similar topics as a basis, I reached the criteria that jobs were to be considered entry level if they required:

1. An ALA-accredited Masters of Library Science degree or its equivalent;

2. One or fewer years of experience;

3. No experience or duties that entry level librarians typically do not possess (supervising other professionals, administrative experience, etc.)

For each advertisement found, the level of position (entry level, non-entry level due to experience requirements, non-entry level due to job duties, and administrative), institution type (university, college, community college, or other), location (state and region), department, and job type were all noted.

Findings

Of the many findings, here are two that I found to be most interesting and relevant to job seekers:

  • Nearly three-quarters of the 1385 positions were non-entry level owing to either experience or duty requirements, confirming what those in the academic library job market already know: finding an entry level job to even apply for can be a challenge.
  • Twenty percent of positions were entry level, and public services (such as reference or instruction) accounted for sixty percent of entry level positions, a significant majority. Administrative and part time/temporary jobs accounted for the remainder of the jobs.

Given the relatively small number of jobs that recent graduates can viably apply for, I looked at what types of institutions and locations are more likely to offer positions.

  • Applicants for entry level jobs will have better chances finding a position in a university, where nearly seventy percent of all postings were found.
  • The distribution of advertisements among the four major U.S. regions was relatively even, though slightly more positions were based in the South and Northeast. The number of jobs in each state corresponded roughly to the state’s population, with New York and California offering the highest number of opportunities.
  • Certain specialties are more likely to offer positions, particularly Administration and Public Services. In terms of entry level work, the data suggested that recent graduates have the most prospects in Public Services and Electronic Services.

To begin to address the major question of whether the candidates being hired for entry level jobs actually had experience that matched those requirements, I emailed the Human Resources departments at 47 institutions to determine the experience backgrounds of successful hires. Through their responses I found that a large majority of the candidates hired for entry level positions had two years or more of professional experience, demonstrating the impact of potentially unexpected competition on the outcome of entry level job searches.

Conclusion

In the current academic library market, entry level positions are greatly outnumbered by jobs requiring years of experience and duties beyond the reach of new librarians. Seeking work in particular settings or within certain specializations is one way to increase your chances of landing your first job, but that may not be enough. Recent graduates lacking practical experience may find securing professional employment to be a huge challenge, which is why I and many others cannot overemphasize the importance of securing internships or pre-professional work prior to graduating with your MLS. Despite these difficulties, it is my hope that with more facts regarding the realities of the job market, everyone involved in or thinking about joining the library field can make more informed decisions regarding their career paths and goals.


Eamon Tewell is Reference Librarian at Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, NY, where he provides research, instruction, and outreach services. He earned his MLIS from Drexel University in 2008 and his BA from the University of Colorado at Denver. Eamon has published and presented on the topics of emerging technologies and popular media. He tweets at @eamontewell and can also be reached via eamontewell.comAcademia.edu, orLinkedIn.

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Filed under Academic, Researcher's Corner

A LinkedIn Profile Can be a Nice Adjunct to the Resume

City, Public Library, 1956

 

This anonymous interview is with an Academic Librarian who has been a hiring manager and works at a library with 10-50 staff members.

What are the top three things you look for in a candidate?

I look for:
1. how well-prepared the candidate is
2. an introspective candidate. One who is aware of strengths/weaknesses is much more desirable than a candidate who’s overly confident
3. someone eager and willing to work hard and contribute to the team

Do you have any instant dealbreakers, either in the application packet or the interview process?

Not selling how they will be the best candidate for the job. Also, someone who’s clearly unqualified with the job’s duties, but has applied because they need a job.

What are you tired of seeing on resumes/in cover letters?

Typos.

Is there anything that people don’t put on their resumes that you wish they did?

Most people don’t put website URL’s, I’d love to see that if they have one. Also, a LinkedIn profile can be a nice adjunct to the resume.

How many pages should a cover letter be?

√ Only one!

How many pages should a resume/CV be?

√ As many as it takes, but keep it short and sweet

Do you have a preferred format for application documents?

√ No preference, as long as I can open it

Should a resume/CV have an Objective statement?

√ No

If applications are emailed, how should the cover letter be submitted?

√ As an attachment only

What’s the best way to win you over in an interview?

Understand completely what the job entails. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about the job’s main responsibilities, and bring ideas about how you could make things better.

What are some of the most common mistakes people make in an interview?

Not having questions about both the job duties and the environment itself. A job interview is a two-way street – they’re interviewing me as much as I’m interviewing them. Ask what it’s like to work here, the environment, the culture of the library.

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Filed under 10-50 staff members, Academic, Original Survey

Something Between Show Personality and Fairly Neutral

Matt in a suit by Flickr User soapbeard

 

 

 

This anonymous interview is with an Academic Librarian  who has been a member of a hiring or search committee. This librarian works at a library with 10-50 staff members in a rural area of the Northeastern US.

What Candidates Should Wear

Should the candidate wear a suit to the interview?

√ Probably, yes (but it’s ok if the candidate wears something a little less formal)

An outfit with a coordinated blazer and trousers:

√ Counts as a suit

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

√ False

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

√ Other: doesn’t matter

Women should wear make-up to an interview:

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

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
√ Nose Ring (nostril)
√  Eyebrow Ring, Monroe piercing, septum piercing, or other face piercing
√ Earrings
√ Multiple Ear Piercings

Which hair colors are acceptable for candidates:

√ All of them, even pink

The way a candidate dresses should:

√ Other: something between show personality and fairly neutral

What This Library Wears

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

depends what position I’m interviewing people for, anything from jeans to dress slacks

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?

√ Casual

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

√ N/A: We wear what we want!

Librarians at your organization wear: Please check all that apply

√ Name tags

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

Photo: Matt in a suit by Flickr User soapbeard

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Filed under 10-50 staff members, Academic, Northeastern US, Rural area, What Should Candidates Wear?

Further Questions: Is there a Person Whose Career Advice You Seek?

I hope all my American brothers and sisters had a great Thanksgiving.  It’s my favorite holiday – I appreciate any chance to eat good food and feel grateful.

On to this week’s question!  I asked people who hire librarians:

Do you have a peer, mentor, or other person (or group) that you seek out for career advice?  How did you meet this person?  What makes his/her advice so valuable to you?

Marge Loch-WoutersI have had mentors throughout my career – peers in my cohort; older, wiser librarians with lots of experience under their belts; and networking groups in youth librarianship and feminist library networks (that have members from all types of libraries and career paths). I met most of my mentors at conferences, workshops and gatherings earlier in my career where we discovered our passion for youth services face-to-face; now it’s on twitter and through my blog.

I simply started to talking to colleagues and listening to their answers. It helped me hone ideas, learn how to navigate the culture of the libraries I worked in and spark creative ideas and innovation. All my mentors were and are generous to a fault. Without their input, I wouldn’t be the librarian I am today. This generosity helped to mold me as a mentor to newer librarians. Each time I work with someone I think of how I was helped and it feels like the circle is completed!
– Marge Loch-Wouters, Youth Services Coordinator, La Crosse (WI) Public Library

Nicola FranklinI have often wished I had a mentor-figure but I’ve never met anyone who ‘clicked’ in the right way.  I’d love to know how to find someone!  As part of my MBA studies at Henley Business School we were each allocated a ‘coach’, but I found the approach of the lady I was paired with was a bit ‘wishy washy’ and didn’t really help me.  The method she used was basically to turn everything I said back on me and say ‘what do you think about that’ – I felt like I could just as well be talking to a mirror…

My understanding is that coaching is to help achieve a defined goal, for example by improving skills and performance, while mentoring is having a more general guide or someone to bounce ideas off of, and help with decision making about life, career, etc.  While I have had in-house coaching at various workplaces, to improve skills in order to perform the job better, I’ve never had anyone I could call a life or career mentor.

On the other hand, part of my work is with library professionals as a career coach for them, helping them write more effective resumes/CVs, define their career goals, audit their skills or improve their interview techniques, so I have experience from the other side of the fence.  I think that people gain confidence in their own skills and employability from working with someone in that role, as well as learning how to better represent themselves to employers.

– Nicola Franklin, Director, The Library Career Centre Ltd.

Marleah AugustineFirst, my boss is a fantastic mentor. He hired me when I first started here part-time, and we’ve continued to work closely together as we’ve both moved up to our respective positions. I value his advice because I know that he started in the same boat I did — he worked the front lines part-time, just as I did, and he has worked as a department head, as I do now. Now that he is the director, he is not simply an administrator but someone who has worked all levels within the same library. He’s also had varied experiences outside of the library and he realizes that this is a job, not anyone’s life. When giving advice, he is willing to make suggestions but also to listen and defer to others when necessary. I have a lot of respect for him and for how he has handled situations over the years.

Second, I go to my husband frequently for advice. He has never worked in a library — in fact, his background is philosophy, computer programming, and retail. It helps that he’s known me for about 14 years and knows the way I think. Even when it is a library-specific concern, he is great at piecing out what is really important in the situation and being objective. When I have ideas about work, he approaches the situation from the patron perspective. Sometimes all of us professional people get caught up in the library side of things and forget that patrons don’t always see that side, so his non-library perspective is very helpful.

Don’t be afraid to seek advice from someone outside of the library field — they may have some really great insights for you.

– Marleah Augustine, Adult Department Librarian at Hays Public Library

Randall SchroederMy mentor was my first library director, Barbara Doyle-Wilch, who I met after my first year as a professional librarian at Augustana College (Illinois). She was the first administrator who let me know that I was a good librarian and that I could do the job and do it well. After a year of being reminded that I was a rookie and did not have much to offer to the veteran librarians, it was a drink of water in an emotional desert.

She moved on to other colleges, but many of us who worked for Barbara have found her career advice worth its weight in gold. Her philosophy of librarianship and native shrewdness made her counsel invaluable. Sadly, she has retired and I have lost track of her.

The last time I was in need of some career counseling, I sought out Jim Elmborg, a faculty member at the University of Iowa, who was not one of my professors, but somebody I have met at various information literacy conferences where I have presented.

In both cases, I sought colleagues whose professional philosophy and temperament were similar to mine. What I have found valuable from both Barbara and Jim is their ability to give me a reality check to see if my perception of a situation is sound. Sometimes perception is difficult inside one’s personal bubble and an outside perspective is helpful. It is also incredibly valuable to hear from somebody who believes in your abilities. That is what Barbara did for me.

– Randall Schroeder, Department Head of Public Services, Ferris Library for Information, Technology & Education

There is a library director at a small state college in New England whom I highly respect and whom I’ve gone to for career advice.  I originally met her through ACRL’s College Libraries Section (CLS) when she was president of CLS and I was a committee co-chair.  She is a library director of a college library of similar size to the library where I work. I greatly admire and respect her approach to librarianship and her ability to remain active professionally in addition to managing  her responsibilities as a director (and while completing a PhD!). She has given me some very good advice on how to stay active in professional organizations as well as how to increase my professional development interests and how to seek out ways to network with other librarians in my state. She is a very warm, down-to-earth and approachable person with a great sense of humor and an understanding of the demands on working parents. Although she is not officially a mentor to me, I consider her one because of the example she sets for others in our profession. I’m sure others who know her and work with her would think the same.

– Samantha Thompson-Franklin, Associate Professor/Collections & Acquisitions Librarian, Lewis-Clark State College Library

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CHECK FOR TAGS

Nixon gets a turkey

This anonymous interview is with an Academic Librarian who has been a hiring manager and a member of a hiring or search committee. This person works at a library with 10-50 staff members in a city/town in the Southern US. This person may or may not like pumpkin pie. Pumpkin pie was not a survey topic.

What Candidates Should Wear

Should the candidate wear a suit to the interview?

√ Probably, yes (but it’s ok if the candidate wears something a little less formal)

An outfit with a coordinated blazer and trousers:

√ I do not know and/or care

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

√ Other: Only okay under a jacket

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

√ Other: Yes, 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.

Wear shoes you can walk in, you will be traipsing all over campus. Certainly your smarts and talent are the most important thing, but this is your chance to make a good first impression and dazzle us with your professionalism. Especially for people new to the profession, don’t distract old-timers on the committee wth your fashion-forward style at the interview, you want to be taken seriously as a professional colleague. Totally okay to ask at the interview what people wear on normal days (one would hope that committee members are also more professionally dressed during your interview than usual). Better to be over-dressed for an interview than under. When in doubt, wear a suit. If it pains your personality to be in a suit, jazz it up with funky tie or handbag, but suit up for the interview. It’s the professional and respectful thing to do and demonstrates that you can (and will) represent the organization well and appropriately.

Horror stories? CHECK FOR TAGS on new clothes. Make sure the pleats on your jacket or skirt are cut open (many are lightly stitched shut for display and sale). Button up – nobody wants to see your decolletage or manfur. Wear the outfit at least once before the interview – you want to make sure you can move. It’s horrible when a woman wears shoes she cannot walk in, slowing down the pace of the day considerably and causing everyone to worry for her safety as we stumble over cobblestone walks.

One exception: If you fear that they might think you are overqualified for the gig (too many degrees, etc), or if the institution pays poorly and is struggling, do not show up in an $800 suit!

Can you share any stories about how a candidate nailed the proper interview outfit, especially if your organization does not expect suits?

I always appreciate when the candidate is well-put-together and can still actually move. I recommend a simple suit that you are comfortable moving in, and shoes that allow you to keep pace with the person charged with getting you from a late-running meeting at point A to point B (about 5 miles across campus) so you’re not late meeting the boss.

Choose a shirt, tie or bag that you really like, that reflects a bit more of your personality, your love of color, or (within reason) your sense of whimsy. Unless you’re interviewing for a director gig, it is unlikely that they will expect you to wear a suit every day, so show them that you can still be you and wear a suit when the occasion calls for it.

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
√ Arty or more elaborate necklaces, bracelets, or rings
√ Earrings
√ Other:

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?

I’m not going to hire an idiot because they are well-dressed, but a smart person who cannot muster the energy to dress appropriately for an interview could red flag as a potential problem. I don’t want to hire drones or clones, but if your first impression sends the message that you don’t think the rules apply to you, that could definitely work against your candidacy.

Poor wardrobe choices will work against you. The right wardrobe choice should not be an issue at all – it should blend into the whole package of your professionalism, competence and ability.

And remember that hiring is often a committee decision – so dress for the most conservative, most persnickety, least fashionable member of the committee. Make your wardrobe a non-issue so they can focus on how you can contribute to their library.

What This Library Wears

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

Usually a suit – to put the candidate at ease and reflect my role.

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

√ Other: nothing formal, but informal pressure to the formal end of business casual

Librarians at your organization wear: Please check all that apply

√ Other: nametags when on desk or we have a lot of visitors for a special event

Do you have any other comments?

Please, for the love of God, encourage candidates to work on their cover letters! That is the single most important part of their application package, and I’ve seen so many horible ones.

Get the name of the library/institution right. Write a cover letter unique to each job ad (it doesn’t need to be totally re-done each time, but some tailoring, please). Verify that you meet our minimum qualifications. Follow the directions about how to apply. And use the cover letter to tell me more than I can learn from your resume.

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

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Filed under 10-50 staff members, Academic, Southern US, What Should Candidates Wear?

Just Dress in a More or Less Professional Manner is All That I Am Looking For

New Suit by Flickr user Iain Farrell

 

 

This anonymous interview is with an Academic Librarian who has been a hiring manager. This librarian works at a library with 10-50 staff members in a city/town in the Midwestern United States.

 

What Candidates Should Wear

Should the candidate wear a suit to the interview?

√ Probably, yes (but it’s ok if the candidate wears something a little less formal)

An outfit with a coordinated blazer and trousers:

√ Counts as a suit

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

√ False

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.

Just dress in a more or less professional manner is all that I am looking for.

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)

√ A few simple necklaces, bracelets, and/or rings
√ Earrings
√ Multiple Ear Piercings

Which hair colors are acceptable for candidates:

√ All of them, even pink

The way a candidate dresses should:

√ Be fairly neutral

How does what a candidate wears affect your hiring decision?

No I won’t let that drive my decision. I take into account everything about a candidate.

What This Library Wears

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

A suit usually.

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

2

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

√ Flip flops
√ Short skirts/shorts
√ Tank tops

Librarians at your organization wear: Please check all that apply

√ Name tags

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

Photo: New Suit by Flickr user Iain Farrell

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Filed under 10-50 staff members, Academic, Midwestern US, What Should Candidates Wear?