Monthly Archives: December 2012

A Librarian is Considered Smart — Act and Dress Like It

job interview by flickr user Kino Praxis

 

 

 

This anonymous interview is with an Academic librarian who has been a member of a hiring or search committee.  This librarian works in a city/town in the Western US, at a library with 10-50 staff members.

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.

√  True

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:

√  Always

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.

showing tats, inappropriate outfits suited to leisure @ home or weekend picnics. Professional and business professional is the rule for interviews, always!

we interviewed a man for the job – he wore casual clothing, wrinkled shirt and unpolished shoes — not good.

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

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?

It matters – candidate should care about appearing professional – a librarian is considered smart — act and dress like it during an interview.

What This Library Wears

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

suit or business casual – always a jacket

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

√  Short skirts/shorts
√  Tank tops
√  Other: revealing clothing on women

Librarians at your organization wear: Please check all that apply

√  Name tags
√  Shirt, waistcoat/vest, or other single piece of clothing issued by the library

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

Photo: job interview by flickr user Kino Praxis

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

2012 in review: Blog Stats

It’s the end of 2012, and we’re about two months away from one year of Hiring Librarians.  Thanks so much for reading, and contributing, and commenting, and sharing, and tweeting!  If you hadn’t guessed already, I find statistics interesting – and even better when I don’t have to prepare them myself!  With that I give you some robotically-generated content:

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

19,000 people fit into the new Barclays Center to see Jay-Z perform. This blog was viewed about 100,000 times in 2012. If it were a concert at the Barclays Center, it would take about 5 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

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They Integrate What They Learn Early on in the Interview as They Progress

Folger Shakespeare Library, ca. 1932-1950, from the collection of Cornell University

 

 

This anonymous interview is with an Academic librarian who has been a hiring manager and a member of a hiring committee.This person works at a library with 50-100 staff members.

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

Positive attitude
Paying attention – do they integrate what they learn early on in the interview as they progress through the various steps?
Thoughtful, honest answers

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

No, but I get very annoyed when someone doesn’t address ALL of the job requirements from the posting in the cover letter or CV.

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

Objective statements. You want a job, I know, that’s why you’re applying.

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

Something pertaining to the more abstract ideas in the job posting (if I ask for someone who deals well with change, give me an explicit example).

How many pages should a cover letter be?

√ As many as it takes, but shorter is better

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?

√ .pdf

Should a resume/CV have an Objective statement?

√ No

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

√ We don’t accept email applications

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

Ask lots of good questions, make sure you address the full question, be honest. And show a little of your humor!

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

Not being comfortable with the choices they make – if you want to use Prezi for your presentation, make sure it’s seamless. Or powerpoint, for that matter. And giving different answers to different groups based on what you think we want to hear – we DO talk to each other.

How has hiring changed at your organization since you’ve been in on the process?

We have become much less brutal, and tried to turn the interview into a learning experience for everyone.

Anything else you’d like to let job-seekers know?

Please be sure that you are qualified for a job before you apply – even if you’re not experienced, talk about how your experience will help you do the job. THAT is what I want!

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Filed under 50-100 staff members, Academic, Original Survey

Professional Librarians are More Formal than Staff.

Job Interview by flickr user dichromatic winson

This anonymous interview is with an Academic librarian who has been a member of a hiring or search committee.  This librarian works at an organization with 100-200 staff members in a city/town in 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?

√ 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.

t-shirt or other very casual clothing

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
√ All of the simple necklaces, bracelets, and rings he or she can load on
√ 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:

√ Be fairly neutral

What This Library Wears

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

Professionally, but not in a complete suit. I might wear a jacket with skirt or pants or a 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?

√ Other: we do not have a written dress code, workers wear clothes that range from Business casual to casual. Professional librarians are more formal than staff.

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!

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

Photo: Job Interview by Flickr user dichromatic winson

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Filed under 100-200 staff members, Academic, Northeastern US, What Should Candidates Wear?

Job Hunter’s Revenge: A New Survey! (and some Miscellany)

So normally today would be a Further Questions post, but I didn’t ask a question this week.  I do have a few things to share though:

FIRST: NEW SURVEY

Three children dressing up as adults, Horton, 1912

I’ve had a blast working with Naomi House from I Need A Library Job on a survey aimed at library job hunters, or recently hired librarians. The goals of this survey are:

1. To provide information for people who hire librarians about what attracts (or repels) job hunters, what is confusing, and what (if anything) is awesome about the hiring process
2. To let job hunters vent a little
3. To let job hunters share information about strategies

If you are currently looking for work, or have been hired within the last two months, please share your experiences with us at:

http://tinyurl.com/hiringlibJOBHUNTERsurvey

SECOND: AN OPPORTUNITY

Unemployed Librarians!  This you can’t afford professional development at Library Juice Academy?  Think again!  They’ve launched an effort to subsidize you via crowd-sourcing: sponsorship and micro-loans.  Kind of a neat idea, huh?

http://libraryjuiceacademy.com/sponsoralibrarian/

THIRD: A QUESTION

There was a recent discussion on the ALA Think Tank Facebook group about cover letters and the traditional business letter format.  I never use that format, primarily because I don’t want to give up those three to five lines in order to include the library’s address.  However, some of the hiring managers in that group thought that not using a business format seemed to indicate that the applicant did not know how to write a business letter.

What do YOU think?

If you’re a job hunter, do you use that format?  If you’re a hire-er, do you want to see that full formal style?  Let us know in the comments, or on Twitter.

FOURTH: MORE THINGS FOR YOU TO DO

Other than that, take a look at the Further Questions archive.  What haven’t I asked yet?  I’d love to ask your questions.

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Job Hunter’s Web Guide: Librarian Hire Fashion

Here’s another profile with someone who’s been a contributor to Hiring Librarians. Librarian Hire Fashion‘s creator, Jill, is also the co-author of the What Should Candidates Wear survey.  Her site is really a great idea – and you can help develop it!

Librarian Hire Fashion

What is your website all about?  Please give us your elevator speech!

Knowing what to wear to a job interview can be stressful because people are judged by how they look. I want to give people a visual collection of what others wore to interviews that resulted in job offers. By seeing successful options, people can make more informed decisions. I lack submissions of interview outfits, so most of the posts are photos from daily fashion bloggers that I use as discussion points. I hope that eventually more people will submit what they wore to interviews that resulted in job offers.

When was it started?  Why was it started?

Librarian Hire Fashion was started in March 2012 because I wanted pictures of what to wear to my job interviews, but couldn’t find any on the internet.

Who runs it?

I do. I am less than a year into my first full-time, permanent library position. Before that I either volunteered in libraries or worked part-time, temporary positions. Before that, I traveled around the United States working seasonal non-library jobs. I have an MLIS, a BA in Music and Spanish, and a hobby of studying the interactions between people and clothing.

Are you a “career expert”? What are your qualifications?

Nope. No official qualifications, unless having a hobby of studying how what we wear affects how we think of ourselves and how others think of us counts.

Who is your target audience?

My target audience is anyone in the library-type fields who is looking for a job.

What’s the best way to use your site?  Should users consult it daily?  Or as needed? Should they already know what they need help with, or can they just noodle around?

I update the site with one post weekly, usually on the weekends. Because of the limitations of Tumblr and because I haven’t put enough work into creating cohesive tags, the best thing to do is browse. Because most bloggers are women, most of the pictures are of women, but I try to include anything I can find for men.

Does your site provide:

√ Links    √ The opportunity for interaction
√ Other (Please Specify): Interview Clothing

Do you charge for anything on your site?

No

JillHamesAnything else you’d like to share with my readers about your site in particular, or about library hiring/job hunting in general?

Please submit your photos of what you wore to interviews that resulted in a job offer. Men, we need you, too! Polyvores or other representations are also helpful if you don’t want to post a photo of yourself. Together, we can help each other feel more confident in job interviews.

If you’ve got questions for Jill about Librarian Hire Fashion, please go ahead and put’em in the comments section.

If you run a job or career website for librarians (and archivists and info professionals etc. etc.), and you want to share it here, get in touch with me at hiringlibrariansATgmail.

Thanks for reading!

*edited 4/27/2012 to fix typo

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Holiday

Hi Everyone!

I’m taking a break for a few days so that I can enjoy my holiday. I hope that you had, are having, or will have a happy holiday too, whenever, however, and wherever you celebrate.

I’ll be back on Thursday December 27th.  Until then, take care!

YOUR PAL,

EMILY

My Holiday

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There’s a Dress Code at this University so They Can’t Expect to Show Up in Anything Other Than “Business” or “Business Casual”

and this is what I wore by Flickr user kristykay22

 

This anonymous interview is with an Academic librarian from an urban area of the Northeastern US.  This librarian works at a library with 0-10 staff members and has been a hiring manager and a member of a hiring or search committee.

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.

√ True

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

√ Other: Depends on the skirt length

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.

Spandex [if it still exists], spaghetti strap anything, thigh high boots, cut-offs, T-shirts, jeans, gym gear Anything too tight or revealing. Males should have their lower garb hiked up at least to their hips, save the baggy street look for your time off. It’s an interview, not a luau or bar hopping time. Sat through the open house for a VPAA and the one candidate was wearing a very tight, short skirt – part of her bright pink suit – and a very low cut top. She didn’t get the job. Candidates should wear an outfit that doesn’t scream, “Look at me.” People were so mesmerized by the outfit that they didn’t pay attention to her responses to the questions.

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:

√ Be fairly neutral

How does what a candidate wears affect your hiring decision?

There’s a dress code at this university so they can’t expect to show up in anything other than “business” or “business casual”, depending on what’s on the calendar. Candidates should be aware that they need to look as if they are interviewing for a top level job even though the actual position may be in the trenches. They can always dress down once they gauge the day to day acceptable garb.

What This Library Wears

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

Suit or dress with jacket.

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?

√ Other: University code is business formal and casual depending on what is on the calendar.

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

√ Jeans
√ Flip flops
√ Short skirts/shorts
√ Tank tops
√ Sneakers/trainers
√ Other: Allowed to wear denim one Friday a month

Librarians at your organization wear: Please check all that apply

√ Other: Business casual or formal

Do you have any other comments?

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

Photo: and this is what I wore by Flickr user kristykay22

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

Further Questions: Does Current Employment Status Matter to You?

Here’s the second in a series of six great questions posed by a reader.

This week I asked people who hire librarians:

How much does current employment status matter to you?

Laurie Phillips

I don’t think it has to matter at all. We hire people who are just graduating. A person’s current employment can often make it more difficult for them to interview, but we’ve tried to be accommodating. Also, I would caution job seekers to make sure that they can generalize from their current situation and not get too caught up with how they’ve always done things.

– Laurie Phillips, Associate Dean for Technical Services, J. Edgar & Louise S. Monroe Library, Loyola University New Orleans

Emilie SmartI really only look at current employment status if the candidate has been unemployed for a while — mostly because I wonder what they’ve been doing. More important to me is employment history — where have they worked; how long did they work there; what kind of work did they do. Have they done a lot of job-hopping? Have their jobs lasted more than 1 year? Less then 1 year?
I interview a lot of entry level people so I want to know if they have even held a job before. People fresh out of library school who have never worked are often a risk — especially if the job I have requires that they supervise.
– Emilie Smart, Division Coordinator of Reference Services & Computer Services at East Baton Rouge Parish Library
Melanie Lightbody
Current employment status doesn’t make any difference to me, especially in this economy. Very qualified people have been let go due to budget cuts. Some other library’s loss may be my gain.
– Melanie Lightbody, Director of Libraries, Butte County
Marleah Augustine
I like to know about current employment status, just to get an idea of the experience the candidate has, as well as a timeline for hiring, but it’s more just informational rather than something that matters to the hiring process.
– Marleah Augustine, Adult Department Librarian at Hays Public Library
J. McRee Elrod
Not at all.
– J. McRee (Mac) Elrod, Special Libraries Catalouging
Samantha Thompson-FranklinWhen reviewing a candidate’s application, the person’s current employment status doesn’t matter to me, whether they are employed part-time, full-time or unemployed. However, if there is a/are significantly long gap(s) in their employment history that is unexplained (either in their resume or cover), then I may consider that a red flag and I will discuss it with the other members of the search committee as to how to proceed in the review process of that candidate’s application. We won’t necessarily rule that person out as a suitable candidate but it can raise some concern.
– Samantha Thompson-Franklin, Associate Professor/Collections & Acquisitions Librarian, Lewis-Clark State College Library
Nicola FranklinWhether an applicant is currently employed in a full time, permanent, position, in a contract or temporary role, or is unemployed and seeking work, can have an influence on a hirer’s decision making process.

Whatever the truth of the situation, employers like to play things safe. Rightly or wrongly, they feel that someone who is currently employed, and who has significant tenure in their current post, is more likely to be either more highly skilled and/or more able to get along with co-workers effectively.

Even more important is the pattern of employment over the years.  Employers tend to focus on whether an applicant has held down a few long-term permanent jobs, or has only had one or two full time roles and spent much of their career in short-term contracts.

There can be a tendency to wonder why those people who have worked a lot of temporary roles, but who are seeking a permanent position, haven’t been able to find one earlier.  Of course some people make a choice of contracting and temporary positions as a lifestyle choice, valuing the chance to take breaks between assignments.  However someone in that position wouldn’t normally be applying for a full time permanent position.

The other common reason for having a period of temporary and contract roles is following a lay off or redundancy.  This is especially true at the moment, and also occurred to large numbers of people in the 1989-91 recession and, to a lesser extent, when the 2001 dot com bubble burst.  Some employers are happy to accept that temping in those situations is a positive, proactive measure to keep skills current and avoiding the temptation to sit at home on the sofa watching TV!  Others, however, take a harder line and feel that this process sorts the ‘wheat from the chaff’ and the best employees will get quickly re-hired even in a slow economy.

My advice in times of unemployment would be to do something – ideally temporary or contract work directly related to your normal role, or otherwise temporary work in a related field, or other work (eg retail) that uses transferrable skills (eg customer service), or even voluntary work (whether library related or for a charity or school body, etc).  Keeping busy, learning new skills along the way, and putting all your activity on your resume or CV, is the key to getting back into a ‘proper job’.

– Nicola Franklin, Director, The Library Career Centre Ltd.
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 me at hiringlibrariansATgmail.com.

If you’re reading this, the world hasn’t ended!  Yet!  So take a breath, leave a commament.

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Filed under Academic, Further Questions, Public

Job Hunter’s Web Guide: Library Job Postings on the Internet

This week on the Job Hunter’s Web Guide we’ll take a look at a site that’s 17 years old!  If the site was a high school student, it would be driving and getting ready to graduate.  I’m excited to present Sarah Johnson’s excellent site, Library Job Postings on the Internet.

Lib Post on the Internet

What is your website all about? Please give us your elevator speech!

Library Job Postings is a meta-index that links to library employment sites – over 400 of them in all, from around the world. Included are state and regional library joblines, recruitment and temporary placement firms, library school job bulletins, association sites, and so forth.

When was it started? Why was it started?

I started it in May 1995, when I was working as a student assistant at the University of Michigan’s library science library. There weren’t any other sites like it out there, and this was a time when library job ads first started appearing on mailing lists and on the web. I used it to find my first librarian job, and many of the people from my graduating class found it and started using it, too.

Who runs it?

Just me – Sarah Johnson. It’s been online for over 17 years. I’m now a reference & electronic resources librarian at Booth Library, Eastern Illinois University, which is my 2nd job after library school.

Are you a “career expert”? What are your qualifications?

While I don’t have formal training in career services, I’ve used my experience running the site to write articles, book chapters, and even a book about library careers. I used to host a related service that posted library job ads (rather than just linking to them) and had a number of productive conversations with employers about the qualifications they sought in the librarians they hired, so I was able to advise librarians on that score. At work, I’ve chaired and served on many search committees, so I’ve had the chance to see the hiring process from the opposite side. I enjoy going through submitted resumes and seeing what individual librarians might be able to contribute to open positions. I’ve also evaluated many librarians’ resumes for NMRT’s resume review service.

Who is your target audience?

Anyone seeking to find a job in a library or in the information field in general.

What’s the best way to use your site? Should users consult it daily? Or as needed? Should they already know what they need help with, or can they just noodle around?

Many of the sites I link to are updated daily, like the ALA JobLIST and the Chronicle of Higher Ed’s listings. Anyone actively looking for a job is going to want to be paying close attention to what’s out there, so a daily browse through relevant sites may be useful to them. Other sites are updated less frequently. What I’d recommend is that people make note of the most useful sites for their job search and visit those sites on a regular basis. Not everything’s going to be relevant for everyone, especially for users targeting a specific geographic area, but I’d recommend going through all types of sites that might fit, from job listings put out by individual libraries through sites with a wider focus.

Does your site provide:

Job Listings    Links    √ Other: Descriptions of what each site can offer, who the sponsor is, and how often it’s updated.

Should readers also look for you on social media? Or is your content available in other formats?

n/a

Do you charge for anything on your site?

No, the site is free of charge.

Can you share any stories about job hunters that found positions after using your site?

Although most don’t go into detail about their experiences, I’ve received many notes over the years from librarians who found a job through the site — so I know it’s worked!

Sarah JohnsonAnything else you’d like to share with my readers about your site in particular, or about library hiring/job hunting in general?

Job seekers don’t need me to tell them that it’s a tough market these days. There’s a lot of competition for the most desirable positions and in the most desirable areas of the country, but the same advice holds true regardless of where your site’s readers may be applying. I’d strongly recommend that librarians have someone (such as a mentor, colleague, or ALA New Members Round Table reviewer) look over their resume and cover letter in detail — to make sure they’re tailored closely to the job in question and are free of errors. Also, while they’re using the web to locate job ads, they should also use it to research the library where they’re applying in order to learn more about the organization. It demonstrates interest in the job, and the more they know in advance, the more closely they’ll be able to tailor their applications — and the better questions they’ll be able to ask at the interview.

If you’ve got questions for Sarah about Library Job Postings on the Internet, please go ahead and put’em in the comments section.

If you run a job or career website for librarians (and archivists and info professionals etc. etc.), and you want to share it here, get in touch with me at hiringlibrariansATgmail.

Thanks for reading!

*Edited 4/27/2012 to fix typo

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