Why Is the Position Vacant?

The finish of the duck hunt at the New Zealand Division water sports, World War I, 7 Jul 1917

This anonymous interview is with a job hunter who is not currently employed, 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 Public libraries at the following levels: Department Head, Senior Librarian, Branch Manager, and Director/Dean. This job hunter is in a rural area in the Southern US and is willing to move anywhere.

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

1. Respect
2. A chance to use my talents
3. Interesting

Where do you look for open positions?

Also state library websites,Library Job Postings on the Internet, networking, and friends who are not librarians.

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?

I have a basic resume that I use for most jobs and a specialized one that I use for the few jobs that I have special expertise in. I have slightly different sets of references for different positions as well, although two or three are always the same.
Anywhere from 15 minutes to several days. It depends on what is asked for.

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 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
√ Being able to present
√ Other: Being asked if I have any questions

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

Be upfront about the job duties and situation. Why is the position vacant? Exactly what do they want or expect from an employee? List the salary range. Benefits are not important to mention unless there is something unusual (no insurance, no retirement, or limited vacation time.)
Absolutely do not use words like dynamic, innovative, or creative. These phrases make me tired just to read them and are a real turn-off. Words like experienced or versatile are acceptable.

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

Communicate clearly with the candidate. Schedules are always nice. Designate a point person for contact.
Let the candidate know if they did not get the job. Email is just fine for this. I have done a lot of hiring in my time – we set up a generic email to send out instead of mailing typed letters. We did this when we started getting 70 or 80 applicants for positions. We did send letters to the few people without emails but it streamlined the process while still making sure people were contacted.

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

Convincing the hiring committee that you are the best candidate!
Following the instructions in the application process and being unfailingly polite. Figuring out what is wanted is essential as well but can be a matter of luck. Researching the library is helpful but can backfire if they want to control information. (I have had interviews where people obviously did not realize how much information was available online and were disconcerted when I inadvertently mentioned something.)

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

How do you decide which positions to apply for? (The grapevine is very important also when deciding which positions to apply for, as is background research.)

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 Academic, Job hunter's survey, Public, Rural area, Southern US

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.