Would Rather Have Someone Who is Collaborative

OP_82 US Cavalry Hunting for Illicit Stills in SC 1870This 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 Less than six months. This person is looking in Academic libraries and Public libraries at the following levels: Entry level. This new grad/entry level applicant has the following internship/volunteering experience: I’ve had three internships (one currently ongoing), and volunteered at the Bitch Magazine library for a year. This job hunter is in an urban area in Midwestern US and isn’t willing to move.

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

1) Support for professional development
2) A commute under 60 minutes one-way
3) A collaborative staff

Where do you look for open positions?

Greater Chicago Midwest HERC
RAILS Job Board

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 tend to spend a couple of days. I try to have at least two people look over my cover letter and resume (one being a former library employer). If there’s an online form, I keep all of that information in an Excel doc so that I can just copy and paste.

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 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?


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?

List the salary!

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

Communicate more–I get that it’s difficult to tell someone that they haven’t moved on to the next interview step in a multi-interview process (esp. if their first choices back out and they decide to interview you in a pinch), but it is extremely painful to be told that you were going to hear two weeks ago about the next step and then hear nothing.

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

Your personality being the right fit for the workplace. With the recession, I think there’s a lot of focus on the idea that libraries can hire the best people–with “best” meaning most degrees, most technical skills, etc. However, my experience has been that the recession has allowed libraries to be more choosy in terms of picking the right personality for their workplace. Yeah, it’s great to get someone in with reference experience who also loves messing with Drupal in their free time, but I think they would rather have someone who is collaborative and willing to learn than a person with a lot of skills and nothing interpersonal to offer. Not that the two are mutually exclusive! I just think that the hiring process has become far more based on person-to-person interactions and whether or not the hiring committee feels like you’d be a good fit long-term at their library.

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

Thanks for putting this together! And in case Emily or Naomi are reading this thank you both SO MUCH for what you do! INALJ is an amazingly comprehensive resource, and I always consult Hiring Librarians to get a feel of the hiring market out there.

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, Midwestern US, Public, Urban area

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