Give Me a Rough Idea of How Many Others I’m Up Against

President Roosevelt is now hunting in the Louisiana canebrakes. (LOC)This anonymous interview is with a job hunter who is currently employed (even if part-time or in an unrelated field), has been hired within the last two months, and has been looking for a new position for a year to 18 months. This person is looking in Academic libraries, Public libraries, and Special libraries, at the following levels: 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?

Right now, the 3 things I’m looking for are: location, level of skill/requirements for the position and salary to a lesser degree. At this point, salary is moot since I just want to be hired full-time.

Where do you look for open positions?

I look on INALJ mostly; I also subscribe to a couple of listservs that send out job announcements.

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?

My routine? Holy cow…first I print out the ad and highlight key words that THEY use to put in my resume/cover letter to match my skills/experience. Then I go into my trove of cover letters to pick one that will closely match what I want to say to this particular employer then I spend as much as 2 hours tweaking and retrofitting it. Then I go into my selection of resumes (I currently have 5 different versions) and tweak that. Then I have my husband proofread everything and then I send it off. I also keep digital copies of all of the cover letters and resumes I send to people. This whole process can take a few hours for EACH application.

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


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
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?

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)?

Tour of facility
Meeting department members/potential co-workers

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

Stop listing everything under the sun that the potential candidate needs to know in order to apply. I’m not going to have two Master’s degrees AND know how to program in HTML AND know Mandarin. Someone out there might, but do you really, really need to have someone who has ALL of those skills for THIS particular job? Be clear and list a few key things.

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

1. Tell me when the final decision will be made and be real about it. Don’t say “”in a couple of days”” when you know darn well, it’s going to take HR 3 weeks just to put a package together.
2. If I have interviewed with you and we both feel like it’s a good fit, give me a rough idea of how many others I’m up against. Are there 8 others? Or just one other? I’m a math geek and I’m into numbers like that.
3. Respond, respond, respond. Don’t keep me on pins and needles waiting to hear (even if you don’t want me).
4. Give me some feedback, especially if you don’t want me. Do I need more tech skills? Did I fumble during the interview? Was I too eager? Too desperate?

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

After going to a zillion hiring workshops and talking to many employers and wannabe employees, I don’t really think there is a secret. I used to think that knowing people could give you an edge (and it still does in some instances) but these days even that isn’t enough. I was close to being hired but even knowing people on the hiring committee and knowing the director weren’t enough to get me in. There just aren’t enough jobs to go around. The most I can say is do your homework, cross your T’s and dot your I’s, have a respectable web/social media presence and light a candle for whoever you might pray to. And hope.

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

I really appreciate all of the great information that you’ve provided through Hiring Librarians and INALJ. It helps to know that others are struggling but then it stinks to know that there are so many great people out here who just can’t get a job (or at least a better job). Thank you.

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 Academic, Job hunter's survey, Northeastern US, Public, Special, Suburban area

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