Monthly Archives: October 2013

Alert Candidates if the Job Isn’t Really “Open” [Already Have Someone in Mind]

Ben Thompson Fishing Along the Scioto River, 1918This anonymous interview is with a job hunter who is currently employed (even if part-time or in an unrelated field), has not 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, archives, library vendors/service providers, public, and special libraries, at the following levels: Entry level , Requiring at least two years of experience, Supervisory. This job hunter is in a city/town in the Southern US, and is willing to move anywhere.

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

location; duties; requirements

Where do you look for open positions?

ALA; professional listservs; indeed.com; inalj

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?

I’ll spend a week on an application. I review the job description carefully and rewrite my resume and cover letter to highlight my qualifications as related to the open position.

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 acknowledge my application
√ 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
√ Meeting with HR to talk about benefits/salary

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

Keep positions open for at least a month; Write job description carefully

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

Move as swiftly as possible once interviewing starts; keep lines of communication open; be transparent; somehow alert candidates if the job isn’t really “open” [already have someone in mind] — then write job description/qualifications to reflect that

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

Previous experience; interviewing skills; knowing the right people

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 City/town, Job hunter's survey, Southern US

I Particularly Look for Candidates Who Have Had Some Experience Working with Children

Armidale School for BoysThis anonymous interview is with a public librarian who has been a hiring manager and a member of a hiring or search committee. This person hires the following types of LIS professionals:

Children’s librarians

This librarian works at a library with 10-50 staff members in a suburban area in the Midwestern US.

Do library schools teach candidates the job skills you are looking for in potential hires?

√ Yes

Should library students focus on learning theory or gaining practical skills? (Where 1 means Theory, 5 means practice, and 3 means both equally)

5

What coursework do you think all (or most) MLS/MLIS holders should take, regardless of focus?

√ Collection Management

√ Reference

√ Marketing

√ Field Work/Internships

When deciding who to hire out of a pool of candidates, do you value skills gained through coursework and skills gained through practice differently?

√ Yes–I value skills gained through a student job more highly

Which skills (or types of skills) do you expect a new hire to learn on the job (as opposed to at library school)?

Programming competency, interacting with children and/or patrons

Which of the following experiences should library students have upon graduating?

√ Library work experience

√ Internship or practicum

What advice do you have for students who want to make the most of their time in library school?

Get practical experience!!!!! Do an internship or practicum, do volunteer work, etc. When hiring children’s librarians I particularly look for candidates who have had some experience working with children.

This survey was coauthored by Brianna Marshall from Hack Library School. Interested in progressive blogging, by, for, and about library students? Check it out!

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Filed under 10-50 staff members, Midwestern US, Public, Suburban area, What Should Potential Hires Learn in Library School

We All Know it is About People First so Dress is Secondary

Interview Improv Room by Flickr user  Milwaukee JobCampThis anonymous interview is with a public librarian who has been a hiring manager. This librarian works at a library with 10-50 staff members in a Suburban area 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.

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:

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.

An outfit that is too revealing. The look should be professional.
there are too many crazy patrons to entice into bad behavior that then has to be dealt with.

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

Yes, the higher the position, the more formal I expect the candidate to dress

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

Single, simple necklace, bracelet, and/or ring
A few simple necklaces, bracelets, and/or rings
Arty or more elaborate necklaces, bracelets, or rings
Earrings
Multiple Ear Piercings

Which hair colors are acceptable for candidates:

All of them, even pink

The way a candidate dresses should:

Other:Be professional

How does what a candidate wears affect your hiring decision?

It is important but how they feel about dealing with the public is the most important thing. I have asked candidates if they like people and some have jumped and exclaimed PEOPLE?! or their body language clearly said they were about books not people. We all know it is about people first so dress is secondary.

What This Library Wears

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

In a suit or trousers and blazer. Professionally.

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: No dress code, they are a legal sticky wicket especially with the union.

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

Short skirts/shorts
Logos/band insignia/slogans
Other: Any restrictions are for the pages

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

Other: jeans, capris, skirts, slacks, dresses

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

Photo: Interview Improv Room by Flickr user  Milwaukee JobCamp

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

A Brief and Mild Rant from your Blogger

someone is wrong

I ran across a couple people last week whose opinions made me a little mad.

One of my personal rules for internet professionalism is to not post angry. Fighting on the internet is an endeavor in which no one wins. But that doesn’t mean I don’t get angry, and that doesn’t mean I’m 100% successful in following my own rules.

Now, I know that not everyone has to like Hiring Librarians, or to find it useful. And I know that there are a lot of people who do find it useful. In fact, last week two people told me that they’d just found jobs, and that Hiring Librarians helped make that happen. I can’t even describe how awesome that is. Getting a job is life changing, and life shaping, and means even more than the difference between ramen or pork chops for dinner.

The two people that bothered me basically said, “Hiring Librarians is just forwarding opinions, and the responses aren’t relevant past what that one person thinks.”

Well, yes, I guess, kind of. But also no.

Here’s the difference between opinion and good advice: good advice is something you agree with, an opinion is something you don’t.

Any internet blog that’s talking about hiring is presenting someone’s opinion. When someone tells you, “here is what you should do to get a job,” they are sharing their opinion. And its generally based solely on their personal experience or experiences.

The point, or a point, of Hiring Librarians is to show you a number of opinions, all in the same format, so you can stop taking any one person’s opinion as gospel. Including the individual surveys.

I try to give you the aggregate in two forms – mashed together into graphs and numbers, and slowly doled out as individual responses. That way you can read the summary and the detail. I’d love to be able to give you more stats and graphs posts, but I’d also love to stop being consumed by work and have more fun. So.

The individual surveys are each just one person’s opinion, yes.  But that doesn’t mean that they’re not relevant to you and your search.  They are the real opinions of real people that really hire. Really.  You may find yourself across the table from one of these people some day.

The “opinion-ness” doesn’t invalidate the possibility of learning something from the individual surveys. It’s ok for one person’s opinion to affect the way you hunt for a job. Or not. I think you should weigh the opinion with what you know and feel and want, and decide for yourself if it resonates with you. If you don’t like it, oh well, opinions. Everyone’s got one.

The other thing that happened last week is that people started noting their schools pop up in the “Are there any schools whose candidates you would be reluctant to hire?” question.  And that made some people angry.  Or hurt.  Or hurt and angry.

This is not the intention for this question.  I’m sorry that people have been upset by seeing their school pop up.  I’ve thought about if it’s an irresponsible question to ask, or to post individual responses to, especially when there is often no reason given for why they would be reluctant to hire someone from a particular school.

I stand behind asking it.

Here’s my reasoning: This is the type of question that everybody asks and no one answers. We all want to know if there’s a secret ranking of schools that everybody knows but us.  We want to know if our school is the “best” or if the school we’re choosing is really awful.  And negative opinions especially, are not often expressed in public.  No one wants to offend.

Personally, I want to know what I’m up against.  I want to know if people have preconceived notions about my school, so I can be prepared to shine anyway.  Because they don’t know me, and they don’t know what my education was like.  It was great!  I learned a lot!

I don’t get angry when I see my school come up, because I know that this person is wrong.

I also remember that the question asks about a reluctance, rather than a refusal.  The respondent is expressing a reservation, rather than an absolute decision.

So in conclusion, my darlings, if you find that you hate what’s being said, if the answers make you angry, well, those two people I talked about earlier, those two people that made me mad, are actually right. It’s just one person’s opinion. And if you don’t see a single person that you want to work for, well, not everybody in the world took the surveys. Only a few hundred. I’m sure there’s some hiring manager out there that’s to your taste. 

YOUR PAL,

Emily

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The Classes Are There But They’re Scary, So Not Enough Students Take Them

School Children Visit State Capitol (MSA)This anonymous interview is with a special librarian who has been a hiring manager and a member of a hiring or search committee. This person hires the following types of LIS professionals:

Catalogers with reference shifts

This librarian works at a library with 10-50 staff members in a city/town in the Midwestern US.

Do library schools teach candidates the job skills you are looking for in potential hires?

√ Other: Library school can only provide about half of what any library needs

Should library students focus on learning theory or gaining practical skills? (Where 1 means Theory, 5 means practice, and 3 means both equally)

3

What coursework do you think all (or most) MLS/MLIS holders should take, regardless of focus?

√ Cataloging

√ Library Management

√ Collection Management

√ Web Design/Usability

√ Research Methods

√ Reference

√ Information Behavior

√ Services to Special Populations

√ Outreach

√ Marketing

√ Instruction

√ Field Work/Internships

Do you find that there are skills that are commonly lacking in MLS/MLIS holders? If so, which ones?

Bibliographic instruction. The classes are there but they’re scary, so not enough students take them. And then they regret it later.

When deciding who to hire out of a pool of candidates, do you value skills gained through coursework and skills gained through practice differently?

√ Yes–I value skills gained through a student job more highly

Which skills (or types of skills) do you expect a new hire to learn on the job (as opposed to at library school)?

Use of our particular ILS, databases, etc. Most aspects of cataloging (although already getting the theory is important).

Which of the following experiences should library students have upon graduating?

√ Library work experience

√ Internship or practicum

√ Professional organization involvement

Which library schools give candidates an edge (you prefer candidates from these schools)?

No preference

Are there any library schools whose alumni you would be reluctant to hire?

We’d look into the timing of any school that lost its accreditation, but otherwise no.

What advice do you have for students who want to make the most of their time in library school?

Don’t focus too heavily on one specialty. Not only is the job market uncooperative, but many people get that first job in their chosen area and discover after a couple years that it’s not for them after all. Explore the bigger picture.

The federal loan people will offer you extra money for general living on and some schools will recommend you take it to make it easier to focus on your studies. That debt will be a problem later, including limiting what jobs you can take.

Take bibliographic instruction and management. Those are the two everyone seems to flee in terror from but they’re the tasks you’re most likely to have dumped on you regardless of preparation.

This survey was coauthored by Brianna Marshall from Hack Library School. Interested in progressive blogging, by, for, and about library students? Check it out!

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Filed under 10-50 staff members, City/town, Midwestern US, Special, What Should Potential Hires Learn in Library School

MLIS Do Not Apply Small Public Library

School group, Culp, ArkansasThis anonymous interview is with a public librarian who has been a hiring manager, a member of a hiring or search committee, and a member of the Board of Trustees personnel committee. This person hires the following types of LIS professionals:

We have not had any apply. Our director and staff tend to be local persons who learn on the job.

This librarian works at a library with 0-10 staff members in a city/town in the Midwestern US.

Do library schools teach candidates the job skills you are looking for in potential hires?

√ Other: N/A MLIS do not apply small public library

Should library students focus on learning theory or gaining practical skills? (Where 1 means Theory, 5 means practice, and 3 means both equally)

4

What coursework do you think all (or most) MLS/MLIS holders should take, regardless of focus?

√ Cataloging

√ Budgeting/Accounting

√ Grant Writing

√ Project Management

√ Library Management

√ Programming (Events)

√ History of Books/Libraries

√ Reference

√ Marketing

√ Other: Staff management; Technical skills is always a must: troubleshooting computer issues might be helpful.

When deciding who to hire out of a pool of candidates, do you value skills gained through coursework and skills gained through practice differently?

√ No preference–as long as they have the skill, I don’t care how they got it

Which skills (or types of skills) do you expect a new hire to learn on the job (as opposed to at library school)?

Check out, customer service; laws pertaining to a library district or municipality

Which of the following experiences should library students have upon graduating?

√ Library work experience

√ Teaching assistant/Other instructional experience

Are there any library schools whose alumni you would be reluctant to hire?

U of I

What advice do you have for students who want to make the most of their time in library school?

Learn all you can, you don’t know what job(s) you will end up with.

This survey was coauthored by Brianna Marshall from Hack Library School. Interested in progressive blogging, by, for, and about library students? Check it out!

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Filed under 0-10 staff members, City/town, Midwestern US, Public, What Should Potential Hires Learn in Library School

Even Though I Think it’s Inappropriate I Wouldn’t Hold it Against Them

A Job Interview... by Flickr user  mrbill78636This anonymous interview is with a public librarian who has been a hiring manager, a human resources professional, and a member of a hiring or search committee. This librarian works at a library with 50-100 staff members in a City/town in the Western US.

What Candidates Should Wear

Should the candidate wear a suit to the interview?

I don’t care

An outfit with a coordinated blazer and trousers:

Counts as a suit

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

Other: OK for women, not for men

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

Other: I’ve noticed younger women don’t wear hose very much anymore, so even though I think it’s inappropriate I wouldn’t hold it against them.

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.

Tank tops
Flip flops
Shorts
A hat unless for religious reasons
Shirts with messages on them or pictures
Sweatshirts
Showing cleavage
Saggy pants

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

Yes, the higher the position, the more formal I expect the candidate to dress

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

Single, simple necklace, bracelet, and/or ring
A few simple necklaces, bracelets, and/or rings
Arty or more elaborate necklaces, bracelets, or rings
Earrings

Which hair colors are acceptable for candidates:

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

The way a candidate dresses should:

Be fairly neutral

How does what a candidate wears affect your hiring decision?

I cannot stand looking at people with piercings anywhere other than small earpiercings (no gauges). I would never hire someone with a nose ring, eyebrow ring, and especially not a pierced tongue. I am also very turned off by tattoos although I know a lot of professionals have them. I hope they have the sense to cover them up for interviews, though.

What This Library Wears

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

Like I do every other day. We are a fairly casual organization so I may be wearing a t shirt dress. It is unfair but we are generally dressed more casually than we would expect the candidate to 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?

Business casual

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

N/A: We wear what we want!

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

Name tags

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

Photo: A Job Interview… by Flickr user  mrbill78636

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Filed under 50-100 staff members, City/town, Public, Western US, What Should Candidates Wear?