Monthly Archives: July 2013

Residency Run-Down: University of West Georgia Information Literacy Librarian Fellowship

This interview is with Anne Barnhart, Head of Instructional Services at University of West Georgia.  Ms. Barnhart describes the basics of the information literacy residency, as well as why UWG is a great place to learn about library instruction and why cover letters are so important for job seekers.  I know you will enjoy learning about this excellent opportunity for new grads.

UWG Collaborative Instructional Services space

UWG Collaborative Instructional Services space

Can you give us a brief introduction to the Information Literacy Librarian Fellowship Program?

We now are in our 2nd year of having an Information Literacy Librarian Fellowship Program that provides a two-year learning experience for a recent LIS graduate. Since I am the Head of Instructional Services, the fellowship focus is primarily on teaching. Few LIS programs have instruction courses and even fewer provide practical experience for LIS grad students. This fellowship is designed to fill in that gap. We learned a lot in our inaugural year and are modifying some of what we expect from the fellows for the 2nd year. We hope to make the experience even better!

Why was this program started? or Why does the University of West Georgia Libraries continue to fund this program? What makes it important to your organization?

Last year (2012-13) on July 30 the Provost gave us money for two 9-month positions so we could increase the number of sections we teach of our library’s credit-bearing course. I decided to advertise it as a “fellowship” instead of as a temporary position because I wanted to provide a safe place for new graduates to get the experience so many “entry-level” job ads prefer. Over the course of last year I made sure the Provost saw benefits to the whole campus so we could get ongoing funding. For example, the presence of the two fellows allowed me to adjust my own workload and start a long-needed faculty & staff development series called Good Librations. The Provost often attended these events and I was not shy about letting him know that we could not continue them without the fellows. In response he established a permanent funding line for one fellow and the new funding is for a 12-month position. I’d like to eventually have two fellowships, but I’ll take one!

UWG Libraries does not directly fund the fellowship. The money is from the Provost’s office as a “limited-term instructor” (not tenure-track). The Libraries chooses to dedicate this money to the fellowship because we see our role in instruction as not limited to our students, faculty and staff. This fellowship gives us the chance to help teach our professional colleagues and create new leaders within the field of information literacy instruction who can then leave UWG and teach new colleagues in future positions.

What are the main job duties of residents – do they differ from those of “regular” librarians?

The residents teach sections of our credit-bearing library instruction course (see here for information about the success rates of the course). They also work in the reference rotation (face-to-face and chat) and teach other library workshops. In the inaugural year we did not encourage any collection development or committee work. While we still will not make the fellows subject liaisons (due to the potential disruption to the academic departments if they were to have temporary liaisons), we will encourage future fellows to shadow a liaison in an area of their interest in order to develop those skills. And while only tenure-track faculty can serve on faculty senate committees, committee meetings are open to anyone so we will encourage fellows to pick a committee and attend its meetings to learn more about faculty governance.

Are residents paid? Do they get any other special benefits?

Residents are paid the same as other limited-term instructors. We learned what the salary is for limited-term 9-month positions across campus and then made the appropriate adjustments to make an equivalent 12-month salary. They have some support for professional development, mostly focusing on opportunities that are in-state. Thankfully there is a fabulous instruction conference (the Georgia International Conference on Information Literacy) in Savannah so the fellow(s) can just rideshare with other librarians attending. We hope to secure a grant to pay for fellows to attend ACRL’s Information Literacy Immersion program however at this point we do not have the funding for that.

What would you tell a potential applicants in order to convince them to apply for the program?

Our instruction program is a leader in the state of Georgia and beyond. Nearly every one of our instruction librarians has attended at least one ACRL Institute for Information Literacy Immersion track. Therefore Information Literacy fellows are surrounded by well-trained instruction librarians who are passionate about teaching. We have a collaborative environment and we all care about student learning and mutually-supportive professional development. We like to experiment with new pedagogies and we are not afraid of making mistakes. We reflectively introduce new concepts and methodologies and measure their effectiveness. Unlike institutions that are hesitant to change, the phrase “We have never done that before” usually precedes, “so let’s try it and see what happens!”

What are the eligibility requirements?

Candidates must be graduates from an ALA-accredited LIS program within the past 2 years and have an interest in teaching.

What does the selection process entail? How does it differ from the regular job application process?

The selection process included having applicants write an essay about their teaching philosophy. This was to help us determine interest as well as to check their written communication skills. For permanent (tenure-track) positions we conduct phone interviews and on-campus interviews. For the fellowship we only conduct Skype interviews and do not have a budget to bring applicants to campus. Unfortunately we also do not have any funds for relocation expenses for non tenure-track positions.

Any tips for students? Is there anything they could do to improve their chances of winning a spot in your program?

Students should take an instruction class if one is offered in their library school. I know not all schools have one and that is a large part of why we have this residency program. Students who are familiar with course management systems and learning technologies will probably have a better chance than those who don’t. My main advice is that applicants should read carefully what our program is about and tailor their application materials (especially the cover letter) to what we do that is different. Not very many libraries teach a credit-bearing course. Of those that do, very few teach as many sections as we do (about 30 two-credit sections per academic year). Our program is extremely instruction-intensive. Some of the cover letters we received were totally generic and it was obvious that the applicants had not really thought about the position. Those went in the “no” pile immediately. In order to increase their chances of winning a spot, applicants need to communicate clearly WHY they want to be HERE.

When will the next residents be picked?

Right now the plan is to pick the next resident in the spring of 2014 for a July 1, 2014 start date. I say “right now the plan is” because if the Provost surprises us with funding for an additional position this summer, we will adjust our plans accordingly. We won’t say no to new money!

Anything else you want to tell us about the program, or about job hunting in general?

Candidates should not underestimate the importance of a good cover letter. Entry-level positions (and our residency program) do not have that many required qualifications. Tailored cover letters are where applicants can stand out. We typically get 60-80 applicants for each position we advertise and it is easy to discard any generic-sounding cover letters. If an applicant cannot demonstrate that he or she has looked at our website or thought about why they want to be at UWG, we are not very likely to consider that applicant.

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Filed under Academic, Residency Run-Down, Southern US

Job Hunter’s Web Guide: Library Jobs.ie

Today I’m happy to present a site from across the ocean, Library Jobs.ie.  Margaret Irons runs a wonderful job posting site that gathers Irish library jobs of all kinds into one convenient location.  She was also kind enough to do this interview whilst on maternity leave!  Thanks, Margaret!


Library Jobs ie

What is it? Please give us your elevator speech!

We aim to consolidate the search for library jobs in Ireland.
No more trawling through individual sites – we will do that for you.

When was it started? Why was it started?

LibraryJobs.ie had been on my mind for years. I even bought a domain name many years ago but it just never got off the ground. Ireland is a small country but there was never any one place to find work in libraries. There are many job sites for librarians in the UK but no dedicated site in Ireland. The advertising of library jobs was and is very erratic. Also any generic jobs sites in Ireland generally don’t have library related roles listed in the drop down menu. And with the downturn in the economy the advertising of jobs in print media seemed to just stop altogether. So it seemed that the job search for graduates was just getting more and more difficult.

Over the years, my friend Barry Gildea and I had many conversations about it.  After he had successfully gotten Dublin Startup Jobs up and running, it looked like it was time to get serious about LibraryJobs.ie. Barry is a fantastic web designer and a college friend (He can be contacted at his website, Brickisred Design). It seemed like an obvious step to collaborate on this project after years of discussing it. So last summer we got around to it and LibraryJobs.ie was softly launched.

Who runs it?

It is run by myself (Margaret Irons) with design and technical input from Barry Gildea. As I am on maternity leave at the moment, my friend and colleague Ann O’Sullivan is currently updating the site with me. Ann has been a huge help. We have worked together for six years on the Academic & Special Libraries Section committee of the Library Association of Ireland and share a similar work ethic. So I knew the site would be safe in her hands.

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

I am currently working as librarian in the School of Celtic Studies, Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies.

My undergraduate degree is in History and Media & Communications. I have worked mainly in academic libraries from medical to third level and specialist research libraries.

I qualified as a librarian in 2001 and since then I have been both an interviewee and interviewer, and an employee and employer. I also have had recent graduates and interns working with me and felt that many graduates were at a loss as to where to even begin searching for work.

You can find out more about my career history on my LinkedIn Profile.

Who is your target audience?

  1. LIS graduates or anyone looking for a library related job.
  2. We add internships for those who would like to gain experience in order to break into the market.
  3. Also we are trying to ‘think outside the box’ when it comes to roles that we advertise. It’s time to look beyond the ‘traditional’ library role.

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?

We use blogging software so updates can be followed like any blog. Also you can like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter @LibraryJobs. We are also on LinkedIn and Google+. There really is no way you can miss out.

Does your site provide:

√ Job Listings

Should readers also look for you on social media?

√ Twitter: @LibraryJobs
√ LinkedIn
√  Facebook
√  Google+

Do you charge for anything on your site?

No – it is a free service.

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

Jane Burns (@JMBurns99) recently took up the post of Research Officer in the Health Professions Centre at the Royal College of Surgeons in Dublin. Here is what she had to say about the current job market for Library & Information Professionals

“I think this is the toughest economic climate I can ever remember experiencing. The keys to helping land this role were perseverance, networking and using LibraryJobs.ie as my primary source for new opportunities.

Margaret Irons effectively scouts positions that perhaps some LIS professionals would miss without her curation. Library Jobs.ie is in my opinion the first and last stop for any LIS professional looking for a new role.”

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

Keep a close eye on LibraryJobs.ie of course!
Network, network, network. The library community is a very friendly and welcoming place. Go to events and mingle and get to know others. You will get a clearer vision of what is happening in the library world and may also even hear of a job that hasn’t yet made it on to LibraryJobs.ie.
Think outside the box. There may not be so many ‘traditional’ library jobs at the moment but the skills you have learned can be adapted to work in many different roles.
Get someone to proof read your CV before you send it to a prospective employer. Update and refresh your CV on a regular basis.
Start your own blog. Document your experiences and practice your writing skills.
If you’re not on Twitter then join now. It’s a great networking and information sharing tool. You can get to know other librarians on there and get them to look out for jobs for you.
Make notes after interviews about questions you may have found difficult and work on them for the future.

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Filed under Job Hunters Web Guide, Other Organization or Library Type

…”I’ve Only Done That in a Class” — Instead Say “I Had the Opportunity to Do That in a Class”

Anne BarnhartThis interview is with Anne Barnhart, a librarian who has been a hiring manager and a member of a hiring committee. She is the Head of Instructional Services at the Ingram Library at the University of West Georgia (UWG) an academic library with 10-50 staff members. Librarians at UWG are faculty members and Instructional Services librarians teach a credit-bearing course as well as requested one-shots and workshops.

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

Intellectual curiosity
Enthusiasm
Student-centered

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

Typos are an instant dealbreaker as are chaotic application materials. Getting the name wrong of the institution will also get an application packet tossed aside.

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

I’m tired of seeing generic cover letters in which the applicant does not mention anything about our ad or our institution. So many candidates write something like “I was excited to see this position” or “I am perfect for this job” or “I bring the skills you need” but they never refer to anything specific about us to substantiate that claim. Don’t include random paragraphs telling us about all the other skills you have — leave the skills that aren’t sought for this job in your CV (or resume) and we’ll find them if we need them. The cover letter needs to be tailored for our position, our ad, and our institution.

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

It’s hard to have a blanket response for this one. Some people have job-hopped a bit or taken time off and I’d like to see why. If someone took time off to be at home with kids, that should be indicated on the CV or resume with something like “household management”. When I have questions about where someone was for a 2-year period or why they moved so much, I’m inclined to set that person’s packet aside because I usually have enough applicants whom I do not question.

How many pages should a cover letter be?

√ Two is ok, but no more

How many pages should a resume/CV be?

√ As many as it takes, I want to look at every accomplishment

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?

√ As an attachment only

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

We don’t bring people to campus who do not have the required qualifications for the position. When you come to campus, we want to see how you work with others and how you will represent us on campus committees and at national conferences.
Be professional and personable. No one wants to work with someone who is robotically professional with no personality.
Be enthusiastic about the position and what you would be doing.
Show us that you care about students and student learning (I hire instruction librarians).
Ask questions and LISTEN to the answers.
Do your homework and show that you’ve spent some time thinking about and researching the place, your potential colleagues, etc.

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

Asking no questions. Seriously. I’ve interviewed people who ask no questions in an all-day interview.
PowerPoint Karaoke during the presentation (please do NOT read your slides to me!).
Not sending a post-interview thank-you.
Wearing shoes that you cannot walk in (high heels).
Belittling their experience (“I’ve only done that in a class” — instead say “I had the opportunity to do that in a class”).

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

Our interview process includes collaborative exercises during the day so we can see how well the candidate works with other people. This is a huge change over previous hiring practices. We also do not include a fake library instruction session as part of the interview process.

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

You should be looking for a place where you want to work, doing a job you want to do. Don’t just look for anyone who will pay you. I know the market is tight and the thought of unemployment (especially for recent grads) is terrifying. However, make sure you think about whether you want the job before you apply. If you decide you do want it, why? Communicate with the search committee why you want that job. Start that communication in your tailored cover letter. Then, if you get a phone interview, continue to impress them with your personality and experience. Ask questions. Make sure you still want the job. Then, when you are invited to campus, remember that you are also interviewing them. The “fit” needs to go both ways.

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

Further Questions: How and when should a candidate decline an interview?

This week’s question comes to us via Twitter.  This week I asked people who hire librarians:

What’s the best way to decline an interview without burning any bridges?  Under what circumstances should a candidate decline an interview?

Cathi AllowayI am puzzled, why would someone apply for a job and then not want to interview?

Why waste the employer’s time?
If you have found out it’s not a good place to work, or the salary or conditions are unacceptable, the best thing is a vague statement –  “I am considering an offer elsewhere” or “my plans have changed at this time” “I’m withdrawing my application at this time” with a big thank you and apology for the inconvenience.
– Catherine Alloway, Director, Schlow Centre Region Library

Marge Loch WoutersA simple  “My circumstances have changed and I would like to withdraw my name from consideration,” certainly suffices. I have always said that interviews are a delicate dance – we want you to want us as much as we may want you. If the fit isn’t right; if another job has come up; if paying your own way to an interview hundreds of miles away is cost –prohibitive;  if your saner self starts shouting “Are you nuts?!?!”, it is perfectly fine to decline an interview.  As a hiring manager, I don’t read anything more into that decision or red flag the candidate for the future.

– Marge Loch-Wouters, Youth Services Coordinator, La Crosse (WI) Public Library

I think it important for hiring committees to keep in mind that the candidates are in some state of flux if they are looking for a job. I have turned down a few interviews, I think it is understandable that things change. Particularly if the search timeline is stretched. The candidate may have turned down an interview because they had an offer somewhere else that they couldn’t refuse. Life circumstances change, too. The candidate may have had second thoughts, their significant other may have been pulled in another direction, they may have had to re-assess their plan or they may have reservations about working for your company/institution.

Whatever the situation is, I think hiring committees understand that and appreciate honesty, not necessarily telling them everything but enough to know that you are being honest and don’t want to waste their time. At the end of the day, they want to find the perfect candidate for the position. And, if you are good and they didn’t move fast enough and a better place snapped you up, that is the way it goes.

The main thing is not wasting their time and letting them know you need to bow out as soon as you know. I don’t think this burns bridges. I also think that there are legitimate reasons for someone to interview and then decide that the location isn’t a good fit or the people are not a good fit. This is reasonable, too. What would burn bridges is if you made it to the interview stage and then clearly phoned it in for whatever reason and wasted everyone’s time and the institution’s  money. That would be hard to forget.

– Anonymous

Marleah AugustineI don’t think declining an interview is ever a problem. I think the best way for a candidate to decline is to tell the interviewer that they’ve already taken another position or that they no longer believe the job to be a good fit for them. If they have to decline due to a personal conflict or a scheduling conflict, then tell the interviewer. Honesty is the best policy when it comes to interviews. 

If I really thought a particular candidate would be a good choice, then I may be disappointed but I’d rather know up front that it isn’t going to work out rather than go through the whole hiring process and then have the position turned down.

– Marleah Augustine, Adult Department Librarian at Hays Public Library

Laurie PhillipsIf, in the process of interviewing or gathering information about the position (or even the location or the university), the candidate determines that he or she would not accept the position if it were offered, he or she should immediately withdraw. Or if the candidate has accepted another position. Preferably before an in-person interview is scheduled or planned. A lot goes into setting up our on-campus interviews – logistically, financially, and involving the time of many people. We are only permitted to bring in three candidates, unless one is local, and even then we are hesitant to go beyond three because of the time and effort involved. We could offer that opportunity to another candidate. Please do not waste our time and money if you will not accept the position. If you have concerns or questions, don’t hesitate to contact the chair of the search committee before making a decision to drop out. And the best way to do it is to call the chair of the search committee and speak to her (or him) directly about the reasons for withdrawing. Email isn’t horrible, but is a little cowardly. If you are still interested in that place but just not the job in question, it’s important to say so. We notice when people apply for every job we have open. If you realize the job is not right for you, but you like the library/institution, then say so. It will help you down the line.

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

Sherle Abramson-Bluhm

I would say that it never inappropriate to decline an interview – unless it is requested within a couple of days of applying.
Circumstances change, and I would understand that if a candidate declined.
I believe it is better to decline if a candidate knows they have no intention of taking the job – have another offer, or no longer need/wish to make the change. That can be a
waste of time and possibly costly for the interviewer, and unfair to other candidates.  And usually shows.
And declining should be done as quickly as possible after an invitation is rendered preferably by phone, or in the same manner as the offer was made if email or written
A polite – “Thank you, I greatly appreciate the opportunity, but my circumstances have changed and I no longer wish to be considered for the position.” – would be sufficient for me.

– Sherle Abramson-Bluhm, Head, Print Acquisitions, University of Michigan

bonnie smithIf you applied for a position but later find out that it really wouldn’t be the right fit for you or, you find something else that you would prefer, or, whatever your reason, in my opinion, it is better to let the employer know before you and they spend time and energy on the interview. Employers invest considerable time and effort selecting the best candidates for interviews, preparing interview questions, interviewing and then assessing the results of the interview. I you are certain that you are no longer interested in the position, that is the point at which you should let the employer know – except in the middle of the interview process!  When declining an interview you should portray your gratitude and the honor of being selected for an interview and gracefully let them know you are withdrawing your candidacy. Giving personal details is not helpful (for example: my sister just had a stroke and I need to move out of state). Keep it professional and positive (for example: an unforeseen family matter means that I will be moving out of state and I regret to have to decline the honor of an interview). As a human resources professional, we know that ‘life happens’ and we don’t expect people to have any allegiance to a position that is still amorphous. But we do appreciate an honest answer about what is going on.

– Bonnie Smith, Assistant Program Director for Human Resources, University of Florida, George A. Smathers Libraries

The main goal is to be honest while remaining polite.  It’s fine to say that you have accepted another offer or decided that this position doesn’t fit into your career plans at the moment.  It’s perfectly fine to be vague and not go into details.  The institution will appreciate that you didn’t further use their time and money by coming for an interview if you really don’t want the job.  Be gracious in thanking them for considering you for the position, and wish them well in finding the best candidate for the job.  Don’t say anything bad about the institution, even if it was a factor in your decision.  You should decline if you really have no interest in the job; going for an interview just so you can get a free trip to visit a friend who lives in a far away city is not ethical.  If you are hesitant about going for an interview, you can ask questions before you accept or decline.  For example, you can ask for clarification of the possible salary range, if this is a factor.  The interview process is about the candidate interviewing the prospective employer as well as vice versa.

– Anonymous

To decline an interview without screwing future chances at said library/with said librarian, be apologetic but honest.  Hopefully if one had, say, already accepted employment elsewhere, one would think to contact those libraries one had applied to and let them know of that.  Same for changes in family circumstances or whatever.  Emailing to let the library know to remove you from the pool is much more professional.  It will save the hiring committee time, and they’ll appreciate that.

I declined an interview on one occasion: I had phone interviewed with a library far, far away.  They called me up to invite me to in-person interview, but there was no support for travel costs.  That’s not always a deal breaker but, when I asked how many candidates they were inviting, I was told that they had been aiming for about 4, but they really had 8 to 10 that they wanted to see.  I felt that odds were not in my favor, and fresh out of school I couldn’t afford gallivanting.  I thanked them profusely but was honest that, if I were competing as 1 out of 4 I’d be there but as 1 out of 10, it was an offer I couldn’t accept at this time.  (And do we really want to work at a library that can’t narrow down the pool a bit?  What does that say about the hiring committee?)

I definitely think the best way would be to avoid the whole issue by keeping the libraries informed before it comes to that.

– Sarah Morrison, Adult Services Librarian, Neill Public Library, Pullman, Washington

Terry Ann LawlerIf you accept an interview for a position, you should be prepared to take that position at the time of your interview. It is far better to decline to interview than to interview for a position you know you can’t take and then turn it down.
It is always ok to decline to interview for whatever reason you have for declining. I have declined because of family life or not being interested in the promotion at that time, etc. Just letting the person know when they call you for the interview that you are declining is usually enough but you can feel free to offer up a bit more information on why you are declining without getting too personal.
You can also ask questions regarding future positions when you are declining. For example, when you are on a list for a Librarian I position in my library system, you can decline to interview for a certain location because you have moved but remain on the list to be called for another position later when one opens. It is OK to clarify that type of thing when you are declining.
– Terry Lawler, Assistant Manager and Children’s Librarian, Palo Verde Branch, Phoenix Public Library

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.

Thank YOU for reading! Big wheel keeping on turning, Proud Mary keep on commenting.

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Filed under Academic, Further Questions, Public

I hate the idea that people judge you by the way you look, but some do.

Suiting up for interview by Flickr user Sleeteye

This anonymous interview is with an Academic librarian who has been a hiring manager and a member of a hiring or search committee. This librarian works at a library with 100-200 staff members in a Suburban area in the 

Southwestern US – Texas

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: I would advise against it, but I don’t think it would prevent a good candidate from being seriously considered for a job.

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

√ Other: If she is otherwise well groomed, it doesn’t matter either way.

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.

One candidate for an Associate Dean position at an ARL library where I worked interviewed in well-worn jeans and a sport shirt. He did not even mention at the time that his luggage had been lost, and he had to interview in the clothes he wore on the plane. He got the job.

Another time, a candidate for an entry level position wore a transparent white blouse with a lacy bra underneath–no slip or camisole. During her presentation to all staff, she took off her suit jacket and the overhead lighting showed off every detail of the bra, cleavage, etc. I thought that showed poor preparation for the interview. Very much a distraction from her presentation. She did not get the job.

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

For an entry level position, the candidate that I recall as having a great outfit wore a two-piece summer suit (it was hot) with a kelly green top, black skirt, and low black heels. It was not too formal or dressy, but it fit well and looked very up-to-date and professional. The outfit was not too serious — the bright green jacket was a bit livelier than the usual interview outfit. She was a great candidate–very well qualified and well prepared for the interview.

Do you expect different levels of formality of dress, depending on the position you’re hiring for?

√ Other: I have heard a saying that you should dress for an interview as if you already have the job you’re applying for. In that case, if you are applying for a Dean’s position, yes, I would expect the person to be wearing a suit.

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)
√ Earrings
√ Multiple Ear Piercings
Other: In Texas, to be honest, I think the person would be better off interviewing without eyebrow rings or other face piercing, or large gauge ear jewelry.

Which hair colors are acceptable for candidates:

√ Natural colors (black, brown, red, blonde, gray)

The way a candidate dresses should:

√ Other: Any of the above would usually work. The main thing is that the person appears to be smart, reasonable, a good collaborator, etc.

How does what a candidate wears affect your hiring decision?

If someone doesn’t dress professionally for an interview, I would wonder if they have a clue about campus expectations for professional positions. There is so much info out there about how to interview to the best advantage. The interview only lasts for a few hours–why not give it your best shot?

What This Library Wears

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

I wear a suit, either with a skirt or slacks. I am an assistant dean, so I feel I need to dress as an administrator for interviews. In a way, I consider it a responsibility– a mark of respect for the effort the candidate has gone through to prepare for the interview, travel to a new city, etc.

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: Any of the above are OK, depending upon the person’s position

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

√ Other: Tank tops, slogans, and flip flops are not worn by librarians or full time staff, but they are not forbidden

Librarians at your organization wear: (Please check all that apply)

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

Do you have any other comments?

I think the best advice I have heard is to learn about the library where you are applying for a job, and try to dress one level up from the job you are interviewing for. I hate the idea that people judge you by the way you look, but some do. Once you have the job and people know you, what you wear is less of an issue.

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

Photo: Suiting up for interview by Flickr user Sleeteye

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Filed under 100-200 staff members, Academic, Suburban area, What Should Candidates Wear?

Knives in Belt Pouches

Shopping for the big day by Flickr user Loving EarthThis anonymous interview is with a Public librarian who has been a hiring manager and a member of a hiring or search committee. This librarian works at a library with 10-50 staff members in a City/town in the Western US.

What Candidates Should Wear

Should the candidate wear a suit to the interview?

√ Probably not (but it’s ok if the candidate does wear one)

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.

√ I don’t care

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

√ Other: who is looking at someone’s legs?

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.

knives in belt pouches

Do you expect different levels of formality of dress, depending on the position you’re hiring for?

√ I don’t care

Which jewelry may candidates wear: (Please select all that are acceptable)

√ Other: don’t care

Which hair colors are acceptable for candidates:

√ All of them, even pink

The way a candidate dresses should:

√ Other: Show respect for the job

How does what a candidate wears affect your hiring decision?

it doesn’t unless the candidate is wearing super casual attire – jeans, shorts, teeshirts.

What This Library Wears

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

Business

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)

√ Jeans

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: Shopping for the big day by Flickr user Loving Earth via Creative Commons License

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

Author’s Corner: Looking Beyond the LIS Universe

Kim Dority is a fount of knowledge about non-traditional (and traditional) LIS careers.  You may remember her as the brain behind Infonista, featured on this blog back in February. Reading her bio just now, I was also reminded of the wonderful group she manages on LinkedIn, LIS Career Options.  If you’ve been looking for a place to discuss the twists and turns in your career path, look no further. She very kindly wrote this post about what looking for outside-the-box information can do for your career.  In addition to this wonderful strategy for resilience, I hope you will enjoy getting a taste of what you can find in her most recent book:

LIS CAREER SOURCEBOOK


How do you navigate all of the challenges, changes, and opportunities – both anticipated and unforeseen – that comprise a typically dynamic LIS career? Given how unpredictable the profession has become, trying to gain firm footing on our shifting career sands can be both an adventure (good day) and crazy-making (not-so-good day)!

One of the things I’ve found most useful in attempting to create a resilient career is to learn not only from thought leaders and experts within the profession, but also from those outside it.

At an early point in my career I worked as an executive information advisor for a corporate CEO and developed the habit of doing a monthly “magazine cruise” to expose myself to emerging ideas in multiple areas of research and endeavor. I’d hit my local bookstore, start with art, and happily make my way through magazines devoted to art, foreign affairs, history, military strategy, science, sports, technology, travel, and all the topics in between. My goal was to look for developments and insights outside the usual information we’d automatically be exposed to within the industry, and then reframe those developments and insights into a meaningful context for our work.

Adding online resources, I’ve continued this environmental scanning habit ever since. Yep, I monitor all the key LIS information sources, but I also scan tons of other non-LIS information sources at least once a month so that my thinking – and career framework – is broadened beyond the traditional LIS field.

Although I sort of fell into this process and then realized later how powerful a broader information universe could be to my career opportunities (read: I can’t take any credit for this being a brilliant career strategy on my part!), it has, in fact, been incredibly helpful in building a resilient career. Here’s why I’d recommend this type of information monitoring for your LIS career as well:

  • You’ll usually know at least a top-level something about nearly every topic a patron or client might bring up
  • In an LIS environment, you’ll be able to bridge concepts and solutions between libraries and, say, the corporate world (or military strategy!)
  • You may often help patrons or clients spot new opportunities outside their usual information universe
  • It’s a great way to stay intellectually engaged with the world outside the library, which will make you a better librarian or information professional for your entire career
  • It’s a great way to take charge of your career by developing the habit of looking for and often finding emerging opportunities for information skills

In 2012, I wrote LIS Career Sourcebook (Libraries Unlimited), which addresses each of the career stages LIS professionals are likely to encounter and the recommended resources for navigating those stages effectively and successfully. For example, there are chapters on the LIS career universe, education options, job hunting, professional development, building a professional network, establishing a professional brand, managing, leading, going independent, and dealing with career transition points. As I began putting the materials together, I tried to take a similarly inclusive approach to help readers expand their frame of reference beyond the library discipline.

So, for example, the chapter on management recommends not only Curzon’s Managing Change: A How-to-Do-It Manual for Libraries, but also key management books from Peter Drucker (Management: Tasks, Responsibilities, Practices), Marcus Buckingham (First, Break All the Rules), Robert B. Cialdini (Influence: Science and Practice), and Daniel Goleman (Working with Emotional Intelligence). Although none of these thought leaders had libraries or information organizations in mind when they wrote these landmark books, their lessons and insights are nevertheless highly applicable.

When it comes to creating a resilient career, I’d strongly suggest that one of your goals be to create a broad knowledge base, both inside and outside of the LIS world. My recommendation: go for a magazine cruise once a month and look at all the different topics (scanning the tables of contents usually suffices), set up an online environmental scan using the reader that works best for you, and follow thought leaders in non-LIS disciplines using your favorite social media tools. Because in my experience, the broader your information universe, the broader your career opportunity universe.


Kim DorityKim Dority is the founder and president of Dority & Associates, an information strategy and content development company. During her career, she has worked in academia, publishing, telecommunications, and the library fields, in for-profit and nonprofit settings, for both established companies and start-ups. Kim created and teaches a course on alternative LIS career paths in the University of Denver’s LIS graduate program, and is the author of two books on LIS careers, Rethinking Information Work (2006) and LIS Career Sourcebook (2012), both published by Libraries Unlimited. In addition, Kim created and manages the LinkedIn “LIS Career Options” group, which now includes more than 6,000 members from 60 different countries commenting on roughly 575 discussions. She received her MLS from the University of Denver.

 

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Filed under Author's Corner, Other Organization or Library Type

Everyone Loves a Bargain, But You Often Get What You Pay For

New Yorkers now at liberty to shoot wild fowl in their own state (LOC)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 Six months to a year. This person is looking in Academic libraries, Archives, Public libraries, and Special libraries, at the entry level. Here is this person’s experience with internships/volunteering:

For my internship, I assisted with cataloging in a Special Collections department.

This job hunter is in a suburban area in the Southern US, and is willing to move anywhere.

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

decent salary
fair management
good location

Where do you look for open positions?

Indeed
INALJ
Simply Hired
HigherEdJobs
The Chronicle of Higher Education
LibGig

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?

It depends on the requirements of the employer. If it is a form application then it could take approximately an hour and a half, but just a cover letter and resume may only take 30-45 minutes to tweak for an individual organization. I normally match the requirements of the position against my individual experience and education, then try to think from the employer’s perspective and change my cover letter and resume accordingly. This is usually my routine, but it has yet to work for me.

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?

√ 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)?

√ Other: Being treated with courtesy and respect during the interview process.

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

The quality of candidates is related to the salary and benefits being offered. Everyone loves a bargain, but you often get what you pay for.

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

The whole hiring process could be a lot less painful if it were not so lengthy and if employers would communicate more with candidates.

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

If I knew the secret then I would have gotten hired, but I often think that luck and networking plays a large part in getting hired in this economy. Times are difficult for everyone, including libraries.

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

What a great idea!! Thanks!

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, Archives, Job hunter's survey, Public, Southern US, Special, Suburban area

Further Questions: What’s a Skype Interview Like?

I saw this question a few weeks ago, I think on ALATT, and decided to ask the people who hire librarians:

Have you interviewed candidates via Skype or another videoconferencing platform?  How do these interviews differ than in-person interviews?  Any tips for candidates about to do a Skype interview?

Marleah Augustine We have interviewed candidates via Skype, and I’d say it’s just about as effective as in-person interviews. I do think it’s harder for the candidate to put on their “interview face”, which can come across the screen and reflect negatively. Sometimes it is just easier to get a feel for the candidate when you are in the same room with them, so I would still recommend getting to the job location if it’s at all possible for the interview. However, sometimes that is just not possible. My tips – dress up just as you would for an in-person interview, have a plain background so there’s not a lot of stuff behind you, and check your video and audio settings ahead of time.

– Marleah Augustine, Adult Department Librarian at Hays Public Library

I have personally not been on an a search committee where we used Skype. In general we do phone screenings then on campus interviews, but I have used Skype for conference calls or presentations so I could offer some general tips. I would make sure you have tested all the software you will need in advance and practice with Skype itself (even if you have to Skype with your grandma or a friend). They can let you know how to angle the camera and how to face the camera so you know what will make you look the best. My other suggestion would be to not wear a white shirt so you do not look washed out. Perhaps even wearing the shirt you plan to wear on your interview when you practice with grandma might be a good idea! Otherwise, practice like you would for any other interview.

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

I have not interviewed candidates via Skype.  It seem like it would be quite similar to the telephone interview, though, with the addition of some visuals.  As with phone interviews, I would be sure to take into account that some people present themselves differently on the phone (or video) than in person.  Someone who is a “big talker” can seem very good in an interview situation, but that may not necessarily be what you want for the position.  Some candidates are more talkative and open in person than on the phone, and this is just a personal difference.

– Anonymous

Petra Mauerhoff, CEO, Shortgrass Library Systemwe regularly use Skype to interview candidates and have had much success with it. There are definitely a few things candidates being interviewed via Skype should keep in mind.  The points I make here are actually based on conversations our hiring team would have after Skype interviews, based on our experience.
First of all, know the technology. Make sure that the interview you are conducting via Skype isn’t the first time you are using the technology. Make a few test calls to family or friends before the interview, and do troubleshooting on your end. This will make the experience a lot less stressful if you are new to using Skype. Know how to adjust sound and camera angles.
Username. For professional interviews, using a Skype handle that reflects your actual name is better than something silly or cute based on a nickname or possibly even something inappropriate. An inappropriate username might make anyone calling you wonder if you are taking the job hunt very seriously.
The background you choose for your camera angle also matters. Don’t choose a distracting background, you don’t want people on the other end spending time wondering what is happening in your surroundings instead of focusing on your answers. Also, be sure you are comfortable and safe. We had one interviewee tell us that she was sitting on a chair on top of a desk and I spent the whole interview worried that she would fall off.
Make sure you know your location and potential background sounds. Trains going by a window or PA system announcements in the middle of an interview can be distracting and can throw off your interviewing groove. If you are interviewing from home, be sure to close the doors and remove all distractions. Having a cat walk in front of the camera may be cute when you are talking to grandma or your friends, but again, it has the potential to make interviewers question how serious you are taking the interview. Having children screaming in the background or dogs barking can also be a major distraction and has the potential to the impair sound quality of the interview.
Choose a flattering angle. I have spent many Skype interviews looking up interviewee’s nostrils or getting a close up of certain parts of their faces. Choose a camera angle that shows your face and neck, perhaps part of your upper body, without being too close up. Also, remember to look at the camera instead of at the screen where you will be seeing the interviewers. Looking at the camera is the closest thing you can get to establishing eye contact if you are interviewing on camera (via Skype) and it shows that you are comfortable working with the technology.
When conducting Skype interviews, I like to make a point at the beginning of the interview about how to proceed if we experience technical difficulties. If an actual technical problem occurs, don’t panic. Being able to go with the flow has the potential to earn you major points in the interview. Everyone knows interviews are stressful situations and if you are able to stay calm when the unexpected happens, it goes a long way to showing the hiring committee your flexibility and ability to “go with the flow”.
Many organizations will require a “test call” some time before the actual Skype interview, to ensure a connection can be established without a problem. While the test call may be made by someone who is not part of the hiring committee, it is still a good idea to treat the test call as if it were part of the actual interview.
Once you have camera angle, sound and other technology issues all figured out, I would encourage potential candidates to treat the Skype interview the same as they would treat an in-person interview. Dress the same way you would for an in person interview and behave the same way as well. The reason we conduct Skype interviews versus telephone interviews is because seeing a candidate on camera is supposed to give us a view of his or her reactions and by extension, a glimpse into his or her personality.
– Petra Mauerhoff, CEO, Shortgrass Library System
Laurie PhillipsYes, for our last faculty (librarian) search, we used Skype in place of phone interviews. We would not use Skype in place of in-person interviews if at all possible. There is no substitute for meeting a candidate in person and having a day with them in various settings, especially when we are hiring someone for a tenure track position. We offered candidates the opportunity to Skype or phone interview. Some either couldn’t work it out to Skype from their location or weren’t comfortable with it. One person planned to Skype on her phone (bad idea) and we asked her to switch to phone because the video quality was terrible and it was distracting. We had both options in the room, just in case.  I have to say that our candidates who Skyped with us ended up with a better impression. We were able to see facial cues and they were, too. We could also gauge energy level, etc., which is important. Tips – it’s really obvious if you are reading from prepared notes on a Skype interview. Don’t do it. Think about how your location looks on camera. Practice with someone to make sure it’s going to work. Don’t Skype on your phone. Be prepared to switch to phone quickly if it doesn’t work.
– Laurie Phillips, Associate Dean for Technical Services, J. Edgar & Louise S. Monroe Library, Loyola University New Orleans
Samantha Thompson-FranklinI was on one search committee last Spring that conducted interviews by Skype (and we’re about to do it for another search committee that I’m on this summer). I think that it’s a great tool for both the candidates and the search committee members and it’s nice to be able to see the person that you’re speaking with. It was also nice when we brought candidates in for on-campus interviews because I felt like I had already met the individuals. I would say that the candidates need to approach the Skype interviews the same they would an in-person interview, so dress interview-style (no pajamas or lounge pants!) and be attentive and interactive with your interviewers.
– Samantha Thompson-Franklin, Associate Professor/Collections & Acquisitions Librarian, Lewis-Clark State College Library

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.

Thank YOU for reading! If you liked it then you shoulda put a comment on it.

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Filed under Academic, Further Questions, Public

Gentlemen, Check Your Flies. Please.

2 by Flickr user iamtdjThis 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 an Urban area in 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.

√ I don’t care

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.

Gentlemen, check your flies. Please. (this really happened)

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

no

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
√ Multiple Ear Piercings

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?

Suits, hose, and such aren’t necessary but dressing for the occasion does, in my mind, raise a candidate’s chances for getting the position. Jeans and a T-shirt will never ever be appropriate.

What This Library Wears

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

Slacks and a top; skirt and a top; 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?

√ Casual

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

√ Short skirts/shorts

Librarians at your organization wear: 

√ Other: I have a name tag, I refuse to wear it.

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

Photo:  2 by Flickr user iamtdj via Creative Commons License

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