Monthly Archives: December 2013

Counting Readers: Hiring Librarians 2013 Blog Stats

Happy New Year, folks!

If you’re curious about Hiring Librarians blog stats (number of views, top posts, etc.), WordPress creates an annual summary.  Follow the link below to see:

Here’s an excerpt:

The Louvre Museum has 8.5 million visitors per year. This blog was viewed about 180,000 times in 2013. If it were an exhibit at the Louvre Museum, it would take about 8 days for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

If you want to help me plan for next year, please use the comments below to let me know what hiring questions you have, or what topics you think I should look into.

One thing you might be wondering, if you saw the Pantyhose post, is if I’m going to keep all the questions on the “What Should Candidates Wear” survey.  I have about 100 survey responses still to run, and what I heard from readers is that the questions are helpful.  Nevertheless, I can see validity in this view:

So here’s the plan. I’m going to continue to run the responses I have already collected.  I’ve removed the option to take the survey from the Participate page, and stopped accepting responses on the Google form.  I still need to talk to Jill, but I’d like to rewrite the survey.  It will most likely still include pantyhose and make-up questions, but hopefully in a more inclusive way.  We will also be able to take the opportunity to refine answer choices and add in questions (so let me know what you’re wondering).

Happy New Year!  All my best wishes to you for good health, happiness, and fulfillment in 2014.

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Filed under Op Ed, What Should Candidates Wear?

Job Hunter Follow Up: Sylvia Bly

Sylvia Bly took the original survey on January 4th, 2013.  Her responses appeared as Security, Wage, Satisfaction.

Your Background

How long has it been since you got your library degree?

One year, seven months.

How many years of library work experience do you have?

About 10

How many years of work experience outside of libraries do you have?

Over 20

How old are you?

45

Your Job Hunt

How long did it take you before you found your job?

One year

How many positions did you apply to?

I really cannot recall. In excess of 20, at least.

How many interviews did you go on?

Maybe 5?

What was your work situation while you were job hunting?

Laid Off

Were you volunteering anywhere?

Yes, at the Episcopal Diocese of Michigan. Library work.

Did you travel for interviews? If so, who paid?

No

Did you decline any offers?

Yes

Your Job

What’s your new job?

Construction Records Specialist at Wayne State University

Is your job full or part time? Permanent or temporary?

Full time, Permanent

Did you relocate? If so, who paid?

No

How did you find the listing for your job?

Through Wayne State University Career Website

Did you meet all of the required qualifications? How many of the desired qualifications?

No, but more than half

What was the application process like? How many interviews did you do?

One interview. I was hired within a week

How did you prepare for the interview(s)?

No preparation, other than dressing appropriately and bringing a couple copies of my resume

Did you know anyone in the organization that hired you? If so, how?

Other than fellow students and professors, no.

Is your job commensurate with your skills, experience and expectations?

For the most part

Is the pay scale higher or lower than you were looking for?

Lower

What do you think was the biggest obstacle in your job hunt? How did you overcome it?

Lack of opportunities in the field

What set you apart from the other applicants? Why did they hire you?

Available immediately, and I had already done the clerical exam

State of the Job Market

What’s the most ridiculous thing you’ve seen on a job announcement?

None comes to mind

What was your favorite interview question? What was the worst?

Tell me about yourself. Worst is what is your weakness?

Any good horror stories for us?

None

Has job hunting been a positive or negative experience, for the most part?

Positive, because I got a job, but also negative, because it was frustrating getting here.

Would you change your answer to “what’s the secret to getting hired”?

No

If you took the Job Hunter’s Survey some time in the last year and are interested in doing a follow-up, even anonymously, please contact me at hiringlibrarians AT gmail.

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Stats and Graphs: 428 Job hunters

It’s Staturday!

Last time we checked in, on January 19, 2013, we had responses from 360 job hunters. 

daily responses

This Staturday, we’re looking at 428 responses, collected beginning on the survey’s launch, 12/27/2013, through 11/30/2013.

 The survey is still open, and if you’re looking for work, you can take it here: http://tinyurl.com/hiringlibJOBHUNTERsurvey

I’m also in the middle of doing follow-up interviews.  If you’re interested, email me at hiringlibrarians at gmail.  

And now for the…

Results!

(Please again forgive the cut off labels on the charts – this is how Google forms deals with verbosity)

 Do you expect to see salary range listed in a job ad?

 

salary range
Yes, and it’s a red flag when it’s not 175   41%
Only for certain kinds of employers 56   13%
No (even if I might think it *should* be) 146   34%
Other 51   12%

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

lies

Yes 47   11%
No 329   77%
Other 52   12%

When would you like employers to contact you?

contact method

To acknowledge my application 312   73%
To tell me if I have or have not been selected to move on to the interview stage 384   90%
To follow-up after an interview 280   66%
Once the position has been filled, even if it’s not me 377   88%
Other 54    13%

How do you prefer to communicate with potential employers?

 

communicate method
Phone 41   10%
Email 183   43%
Mail 1    0%
Phone for good news, email for bad news 167   39%
Other 36   8%

Which events during the interview/visit are most important to your assessment of the position (i.e. deciding if you want the job)?

important events

 

Tour of facility 287   69%
Being taken out to meal 13    3%
Meeting department members/potential co-workers 384   92%
Meeting with HR to talk about benefits/salary 155   37%
Being able to present 55   13%
Other 93   22%

 

People may select more than one checkbox, so percentages may add up to more than 100%.

Demographics

Are you currently employed, even if part time or in an unrelated field?

currently employed
Yes 344   80%
No 82   19%
Have you been hired in the last two months, even if part time or in an unrelated field?

 

hired in the last two months
Yes 106   25%
No 316   74%

How long have you been job hunting (or if recently hired, how long did you look before that)?

 

length of hunt
Less than six months 123   29%
Six months to a year 117   27%
A year to 18 months 69   16%
More than 18 months 115   27%

What type(s) of organization are you looking in?

 

org types

 

Academic library 350   82%
Archives 147   35%
Library vendor/service provider 130   31%
Public library 284   67%
School library 80   19%
Special library 238   56%
Other 101   24%
People may select more than one checkbox, so percentages may add up to more than 100%.
What position level are you looking for?

 

position level
Entry level 286   67%
Requiring at least two years of experience 246   58%
Supervisory 104   24%
Department Head 57   13%
Senior Librarian 69   16%
Branch Manager 43   10%
Director/Dean 26    6%
Other 40    9%
People may select more than one checkbox, so percentages may add up to more than 100%.
Where are you?

 

region
Australia/New Zealand 0    0%
Canada 11    3%
Midwestern US 121   28%
Northeastern US 125   29%
Southern US 82   19%
UK 1    0%
Western US 77   18%
Other 11    3%

Where are you? 

 urbanity

Urban area 150   35%
City/Town 133   31%
Suburban area 97   23%
Rural area 43   10%
Other 5    1%
Are you willing/able to move for employment?

 

 willing to move

No 120   28%
Yes, anywhere 161   38%
Other 147   34%

 

This survey was co-written by Naomi House, of I Need A Library Job.  If you’re job hunting, INALJ is a wealth of information and it has job ads up the wazoo.  

If you have questions, comments or concerns, we’d love to hear them.

You can either comment below, or email hiringlibrariansATgmail.

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Filed under Job hunter's survey, Stats and Graphs

Job Hunter Follow Up: Neyda Gilman

Neyda GilmanNeyda Gilman took the Job Hunter’s survey on January 4, 2013.  Her responses appeared as Being a New Grad I Feel Better Applying to Jobs That Indicate They are a Place to Grow and Learn

Your Background

How long has it been since you got your library degree?

About a year. (I finished with classes in Dec 2012 and received my degree Feb 2013)

How many years of library work experience do you have?

2.5ish if you include practicums and volunteering

How many years of work experience outside of libraries do you have?

5 yrs as a medical technologist before returning to school. Many years before that working in laboratories and various customer service roles.

Your Job Hunt

How long did it take you before you found your job?

6 months of serious job searching. Probably another 3-4 months of searching while in school.

How many positions did you apply to?

ha. lots.

How many interviews did you go on?

6

What was your work situation while you were job hunting?

Started while in school, but got more serious once I finished classes. I worked part time for most of that and volunteered some. The last month or so I just had some freelancing/volunteer duties.

Were you volunteering anywhere?

Health Sciences Library where I had previously worked. It was occasional work, mostly helping with weeding.

Did you travel for interviews? If so, who paid?

Yes, most were paid by the institution. I paid for one (local).

Did you decline any offers?

yes.

Your Job

What’s your new job?

I am a Resident Librarian at an academic library

Is your job full or part time? Permanent or temporary?

full time, 2 year temporary

Did you relocate? If so, who paid?

I did, just a few hours away. The university reimbursed me.

How did you find the listing for your job?

I honestly don’t remember – I think it was one of the many listservs I am on.

Did you meet all of the required qualifications? How many of the desired qualifications?

I met them all – it is a posting geared towards new librarians so with that and my experience working in a library I was able to meet all the qualifications.

What was the application process like? How many interviews did you do?

They had an online form that I submitted along with my resume, cover letter and list of references. I had phone interview and then was invited for an on-site interview. The on-site was a full day interview with a presentation and lunch.

How did you prepare for the interview(s)?

I looked over the job posting and thought about how I met the qualifications and how I would perform the job duties. I also looked at the resume and cover letter I sent them to remind myself of what I already told them. Using this information I came up with answers to general interview questions and to questions I thought they may ask.

Did you know anyone in the organization that hired you? If so, how?

Nope

Is your job commensurate with your skills, experience and expectations?

Yup

Is the pay scale higher or lower than you were looking for?

A bit lower, but not terrible. Benefits are nice.

What do you think was the biggest obstacle in your job hunt? How did you overcome it?

For me one of my biggest obstacles was myself. I didn’t want just any job. I was selective in what I applied to. Many that I applied to I just barely met the qualifications, putting myself up against more qualified librarians. Also, even though I was searching nationwide, location was/is extremely important to me and would often be a deciding factor to apply for a job/accept an interview. This became really apparent to me when I made the difficult decision to turn down jobs because of their location. I was at a point in my life where I could afford to be picky, but it did cost me.
I was hoping for a full-time permanent position (aren’t we all?) but took my temporary position because I realized my pickiness was going to leave me permanently unemployed. I ended up taking a temporary position in an area I enjoy living, working with people I “fit” with, rather than a permanent position in a place I would probably try to leave as soon as I got there. The end result would be the same – getting experience to hopefully have a better job search in a couple years. This way just makes those couple of years enjoyable as well as educational.

What set you apart from the other applicants? Why did they hire you?

I think my background tends to grab attention. Even though my position isn’t science related, I think having a science background made me stand out.
I asked the people who hired me this question and here is what they said: I came across as interpersonal and outgoing, and I presented well. Also, my “interesting” experiences were brought up. Not just that I had them, but that I was able to tie them into librarianship – I showed my transferable skills. I also seemed to be a good fit, which was important.

State of the Job Market

What’s the most ridiculous thing you’ve seen on a job announcement?

I think I have blocked all that out…

What was your favorite interview question? What was the worst?

The one that stands out now is when I was asked “what is a question that you were expecting me to ask, that I haven’t?” I don’t know why, but I liked that question.
I can’t think of a specific example of the worst questions. I luckily didn’t run into any really bad questions, just some that I didn’t have a good answer for. Those questions were usually about areas where I didn’t have experience and that always makes for an awkward point during the interview.

Any good horror stories for us?

A couple. One funny, one not so much.
A librarian picked me up for dinner before the interview. He got lost and once he found the restaurant it was closed. He didn’t have his phone so we had to go to his apartment so he could get his phone and call the other librarian who was going to meet us. It turns out he was thinking of the wrong restaurant and a good part of the night was spent with them discussing how much they wish the dinner was at the other restaurant because they wanted to try the food there. It just made for a really awkward night.

The one that wasn’t funny involved me not being prepared for the interview. The whole application/interview process for this job was strange and I didn’t know what to expect. The in-person interview portion required a lot more specific knowledge of a certain discipline which I didn’t have, and didn’t prepare enough for. A part of the day was basically full of questions I just didn’t have answers to. It made for a very rough day and left me feeling defeated.

Has job hunting been a positive or negative experience, for the most part?

It was a learning experience! I guess in that way it was positive. I did learn a lot about myself and what I am looking for in a job. Of course not getting a job I was excited about, and the frustrations involved in job hunting were negative. I had my low points, but overall it was mostly positive.

Would you change your answer to “what’s the secret to getting hired”?

After going through a job hunt and now having been on some search committees I guess it would be to really put effort into the process, be excited about the jobs you are applying to, and do everything you can to not get discouraged. Easy right? When I got discouraged, I didn’t put as much effort into applications/interviews and it showed. So it was easy to get more discouraged. It is hard to break the cycle. I know I didn’t get some jobs partly because I wasn’t prepared enough, and I know I haven’t wanted to hire people when their application packet looks thrown together or they haven’t prepared for an interview. I think the only alternative to this is to be a librarian superstar. Either way, it’s hard work.

Anything else you want to tell us?

I guess I just want to reiterated how important it is to not get discouraged. It is important to remember that the search committee is looking at pieces of paper and then evaluating you in a few hours when you are under stress. It is not personal, and most likely if you weren’t selected it is not because you are bad, there was just someone with more experience. When I was searching I treated it as if it was a job in itself. I spent time on my applications and in preparing for interviews. I also learned it was important to take breaks or else I would become exhausted and frustrated.

If you took the Job Hunter’s Survey some time in the last year and are interested in doing a follow-up, even anonymously, please contact me at hiringlibrarians AT gmail.

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I take my time learning more about the library that is hiring.

Gelaarsde rubber boot Booted rubber boatThis 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 and public libraries at the Entry level. This job hunter is in a city/town in the Southern US, and is willing to move

Willing to move at most an hour or two away from my current location.

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

1. Full-time employment with a wage I can live on.
2. A working website that doesn’t look like it is from the 80s.
3. Easy going staff that care about their patrons.

Where do you look for open positions?

INALJ.com
Indeed.com

Do you expect to see salary range listed in a job ad?

√ Other: Yes, but if it isn’t I will apply anyway.

What’s your routine for preparing an application packet? How much time do you spend on it?

I spend around 30 minutes writing up a directed resume, cover letter, and I take my time learning more about the library that is hiring.

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?

√ 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

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

I think employers should have good websites. I also think they should be willing to convert some of their part-time positions into full-time. For example, many reference positions are turning part-time, but still require bachelor’s/master’s degrees. For one, anyone they hire is simply biding their time before they get a full-time position elsewhere.

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

Employers should be more willing to contact applicants, at least by e-mail, about the status of their application. I also believe employers need to ask better questions on the interview that are only answerable by a few static answers. Instead of, “Why do you want the job?” ask “What do you think you will like most about the job?”

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

The secret to getting hired is knowing people and having a great resume.

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

I think it would be interesting if you included a section that asked how much experience a person has. For example, I have about 3 years experience working in libraries… one year of that was totally part time, but the last two have involved working part-time, volunteering part-time, and then providing volunteer reference virtually.

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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Love knowledge, love learning, don’t love the box they come in

Librarian's_Desk, Bancroft LibraryThis anonymous interview is with a librarian who works at a public library with 10-50 staff members. This librarian has been a member of a hiring committee.

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

1. Energy
2. Curiosity
3. Willingness to admit there are still things they don’t know about librarianship.

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

Poor grammar and spelling. Those are important parts of librarianship, so I expect people to be able to demonstrate them on a resume and cover letter.

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

“I love books”
I’m assuming you don’t hate books if you are applying for a job here, and “loving books” is about the worst reason to be a librarian I can think of. Love knowledge, love learning, don’t love the box they come in.
“I have clerical experience”
I’m glad you have previous work history, and we can probably use clerical skills, but for the most part this isn’t a clerical heavy job.

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

I wish more people were willing to put interests and hobbies on their resumes. Knowing special interests or areas of expertise can help to develop a strong and balanced team.

How many pages should a cover letter be?

√ Only one!

How many pages should a resume/CV be?

√ Two is ok, but no more

Do you have a preferred format for application documents?

√ No preference, as long as I can open it

Should a resume/CV have an Objective statement?

√ Yes

If applications are emailed, how should the cover letter be submitted?

√ Both as an attachment and in the body of the email

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

Have a well balanced attitude. Don’t act manic, but don’t be a total reserved bunhead either. I want people who can be professional, but also have passion and enthusiasm for

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

Thinking that this job is just sitting behind a desk. It’s a physically and mentally demanding job.
Thinking that this job is a purely mental exercise in dealing with people who are genuinely interested in learning. You have to deal with a lot of very unpleasant people who don’t want to pay fines, or want to argue about what you have in the collection.

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

We hire many paraprofessionals, and we’ve gone from advertising in general forums (newspapers, job lines, town bulletin boards, etc.) to advertising in and hiring from library schools. We try to get people who are going to school or thinking about going to school for library science so that we can get them some practical work experience in the field.

 

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

Job Hunter Follow Up: Nicole Usiondek

Nicole Usiondek took the Job Hunter’s survey on December 29, 2012.  Her responses appeared as Be Very Clear on What the Minimum Requirements are for the Position.

Your Background

How long has it been since you got your library degree?

2.5 years

How many years of library work experience do you have?

5 years

How many years of work experience outside of libraries do you have?

10

Your Job Hunt

How long did it take you before you found your job?

20 months

How many positions did you apply to?

I didn’t keep track – that would be depressing!

How many interviews did you go on?

15

What was your work situation while you were job hunting?

Out of school working full time out of the field and part time in the field.

Were you volunteering anywhere?

Everywhere I could.

Did you travel for interviews? If so, who paid?

I did travel and I used my own dime.

Did you decline any offers?

Once because I was offered a part time position and the other part time position was temporary.

Your Job

What’s your new job?

Law Librarian

Is your job full or part time? Permanent or temporary?

Full time and permanent.

Did you relocate? If so, who paid?

Yes, I paid most and they paid some.

How did you find the listing for your job?

I Need a Library Job – Michigan

Did you meet all of the required qualifications? How many of the desired qualifications?

Yes, most.

What was the application process like? How many interviews did you do?

Very fast. One phone interview and one Skype interview.

How did you prepare for the interviews?

I reviewed my skill set and then I looked into the company and learned about it.

Did you know anyone in the organization that hired you?

No.

Is your job commensurate with your skills, experience and expectations?

Yes, and it also allows professional growth.

Is the pay scale higher or lower than you were looking for?

Lower but with room to grow.

What do you think was the biggest obstacle in your job hunt? How did you overcome it?

I think it is standing out from the crowd. I think it is so important to match the culture, so I overcame it by being myself.

What set you apart from the other applicants? Why did they hire you?

I was told it was because I had worked as a paralegal in my past career and because I volunteer for INALJ.

State of the Job Market

What’s the most ridiculous thing you’ve seen on a job announcement?

5 years experience for entry level.

What was your favorite interview question? What was the worst?

I like discussing goals, so anything that pertains to goals. The worst is, “Why are you applying to a non-professional role?”

Any good horror stories for us?

I interviewed for a librarian role and was offered a receptionist position that paid less than my current role.

Has job hunting been a positive or negative experience, for the most part?

I would say positive. I learned a lot about the field and myself. I also met some wonderful people.

Would you change your answer to “what’s the secret to getting hired”?

No, I think it’s important to stay positive and be yourself.

Anything else you want to tell us?

Just remember to smile.

If you took the Job Hunter’s Survey some time in the last year and are interested in doing a follow-up, even anonymously, please contact me at hiringlibrarians AT gmail.

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The Pantyhose Standard, and Related Sunday Ranting

pantyhose junction logoI do think the What Should Candidates Wear survey is the silliest of the Hiring Librarian surveys. For one, the response choices are a bit flippant, “poor attempts at humor.” I am also not someone who thinks very much about clothing, and I don’t particularly notice what others wear unless it’s arty or shiny.

Nevertheless, I’ve been interested in the responses, and the responses to the responses.

People who take this survey invariably feel that candidates should dress “professionally.” But, and I say this knowing that my mother sometimes reads my blog and hates this kind of language, what the fuck does that even mean?

Is it ok for a professional librarian to wear a fedora, even if they are not a YA librarian? Will your choice to get full sleeve tattoos, or dye your hair blue, make you less professional? Can you be a professional librarian without dressing like a certain kind of white lady?

These are some of the less subtle questions, but there are many details to worry about, in deciding if your interview outfit is “professional.”

“Professional” is not a term with a standard definition. It’s more like pornography, in that the eye of the beholder and the “average person, applying contemporary community standards” are integral to defining it.

You get what I’m saying? It’s subjective. It’s not a good instruction to give someone who doesn’t know you very well.

When my mother was my age, a woman’s professional outfit always included pantyhose. Is this still true? That’s why we ask about pantyhose. Not because we’re trying to convince women to wear it, or that it matters to us personally, but because we want to know if it does still matter to other people. People who might have a say in whether or not someone gets a job.

In the survey I just posted, the respondent took issue with three questions. The first was the true/false:

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

The respondent says,

I have always thought this was a very sexist question and wonder why you continue to include it

What does this have to do with sex? Both men and women wear short sleeve or sleeveless shirts sometimes, particularly in the summer.

The second is:

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

The response is:

again, why do you ask this kind of question? do you care what kind of socks male candidates wear?

Personally, I don’t care about men’s socks, but neither do I care about pantyhose. I don’t wear skirts to interviews, so this isn’t even something I care about when dressing as a job hunter. But I don’t hire so my opinions don’t really matter in this context. I’m curious if others are still measuring “professional dress” by the same pantyhose standard of previous decades. And in fact, 34% of people who answered this didn’t consider pantyhose a dealbreaker. (We didn’t provide an “I don’t care” option for this one, unfortunately. Hindsight.) Isn’t it nice to know that’s it not particularly a requirement for a “professional” women’s outfit?

And the final question and issue is:

Women should wear make-up to an interview:

likewise on the sexist side

13 respondents (5%) think that women should “always” wear make-up to interviews, and I inevitably hear from disgusted job hunters when those surveys are posted (usually via Tumblr. There are a lot of gender activist types on Tumblr). Is it sexist to think women should always wear make-up? I don’t know. Is the question itself sexist? I don’t think so. Even if you think “women should always wear make-up to interviews” is a sexist statement, why would it be sexist to ask whether or not people think that?  Is it sexist to ask, “are you sexist?”

These last two questions, the pantyhose question and the make-up question, get the most flak.

Here are some thoughts. Many, perhaps even most, people would hold men and women to different standards when deciding if an outfit is professional. There are a lot of different kinds of women who are or want to be librarians, and some (many?) of them might be waffling about pantyhose, or makeup. That’s why we asked the question. Women who want to dress on the feminine side for an interview might be interested. In case that’s you, I hope this helps.

But women, and men, and people who don’t particularly identify as either, I hope you will feel free to ignore those answers and dress by your own standard of professional. Just as I hope you will feel free to ignore any answers you find on Hiring Librarians that won’t work for you. It might help to look through the Stats post here and look out for all the people that choose “I don’t care” as an answer. Getting hired isn’t about doing a majority rules thing. It’s about finding the people who run the kind of show you want to be a part of, and giving them your best.

Here is what I’m thinking about now. I run vanity searches for the term “hiring librarians” on Twitter, and I ran into the post “On Privilege, Intersectionality, and the Librarian Image” and some tweeting by Cecily Walker, the woman who wrote it. On Twitter, she talks about how some of the Hiring Librarians posts make her feel “squirrelly.”

Now, I’m a white lady librarian, and it’s only a matter of ticking minutes before I become a white lady librarian of a certain age. I’m pretty sure Jill, who co-wrote the survey, is also a white lady librarian (although I don’t know, as we’ve never talked about her race and never met in person – I’ve only ever seen a photo of her).

So while I say and mean very strongly “women, and men, and people who don’t particularly identify as either, I hope you will feel free to ignore those answers and dress by your own standard of professional,” I am who I am and I know that there’s at least a soupçon of white lady privilege inherent in my own perspective, and in this survey (white middle class lady, no less).

I would like very much if librarianship was less of a white lady profession and more of a all-kinds-of-people profession. I think the work we do is too important for homogeneity.

Here’s another point – I generally know very little about the identity of the respondents – nothing about biological sex parts, or gender-identification, or race, or class, etc. etc.

The most recent respondent said,

honestly I think you need to drop the questions about makeup and pantyhose.

So I’m considering – should things be rewritten? I have about 100 unpublished responses, should I still put those up? Are the responses harmful, or hurtful? Or merely occasionally annoying?

I’m interested in your thoughts.

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Filed under Op Ed

I have always thought this was a very sexist question and wonder why you continue to include it

ready for my job interview by Flickr user fuzzcatThis 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 special library with 0-10 staff members in an Urban 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.

√ Other: I have always thought this was a very sexist question and wonder why you continue to include it

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

√ Other: again, why do you ask this kind of question? do you care what kind of socks male candidates wear?

Women should wear make-up to an interview:

√ Other: likewise on the sexist side

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.

I don’t have a horrifying story but feel that anything that is over the top, either too formal or too casual says something about the candidate, their confidence level, and how they see themselves as a professional. Regardless of the type of library, you are a professional and should look and act as such; ergo if you have tats cover them up; if you have multiple piercings tone them down; if you like to put on makeup as if you were in the circus tone it down, etc. You are in a customer service profession and as such should not scare the interviewer or look like you just got out of bed! Once you get the job you can learn more about what’s expected of the dress code and adapt accordingly. Yes, it’s not fair to judge someone solely by how they look, but that’s life in the real world.

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

√ Other: for the interview I expect the candidate to dress professionally, regardless of what the job is – anything else is disrespectful

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

√ A few simple necklaces, bracelets, and/or rings
√ Arty or more elaborate necklaces, bracelets, or rings
√ Multiple Ear Piercings
√ Other: once again, overdoing something simply makes you look unprofessional

Which hair colors are acceptable for candidates:

√ All of them, even pink

The way a candidate dresses should:

√ Other: be professional – I always assume the way someone dresses is a function of their personality

How does what a candidate wears affect your hiring decision?

Too casual is disrespectful even if the organization is casual normally; leave it for after you get the job. I expect someone to look like they are a professional in a customer service oriented work place (regardless of type of library). If someone comes in like they are on their way to the beach (male or female) it would definitely hurt their chances.

What This Library Wears

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

like a professional; usually a suit or other business wear. Something that reflects my picture of myself as a professional and someone who an employer would feel proud to have represent them

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) 

√ Flip flops
√ Short skirts/shorts
√ Tank tops
√ Logos/band insignia/slogans
√ Sneakers/trainers
√ Other: bare midriffs

Do you have any other comments?

honestly I think you need to drop the questions about makeup and pantyhose.

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

Photo: ready for my job interview by Flickr user fuzzcat, via Creative Commons License

2 Comments

Filed under 0-10 staff members, Special, What Should Candidates Wear?

Stats and Graphs: 246 Responses on What Candidates Should Wear

The last time we looked at stats and graphs for what candidates should wear was October 2012.  We’ve had a few more responses trickle in, but mostly I just want to revisit these stats.

number of responses

I also want to add my standard disclaimer that I’m using Google forms, and the charts it generates cut off some of the answer choices.  It takes me a while to do a post like this, and even longer to make it prettier in Excel, so I’ll ask you to please just excuse how sloppy it looks.  This is a labor of love, and I’m a busy lady.

Also I don’t use probability sampling, so what happens in the survey can’t be assumed to be what happens in the larger population.  And this survey mashes together the responses of academic, public, special, school and other library organizations (although you’ll see that the majority of responses are from Academic librarians).

These responses have been collected between the survey’s launch, on 9/3/2012 and 11/30/2013.  We are still collecting responses!  If you want to take the survey, go to: http://tinyurl.com/hiringlibOUTFITsurvey 

The survey was co-written by Jill from Librarian Hire Fashion.  Want to talk more about interview outfits?  That’s the Tumblr to do it on!

And now the

RESULTS!

What Candidates Should Wear

Should the candidate wear a suit to the interview?

wear a suit

Yes, absolutely! It shows respect and professionalism 48   20%
Probably, yes (but it’s ok if the candidate wears something a little less formal) 132   54%
Probably not (but it’s ok if the candidate does wear one) 36   15%
No way! It shows a lack of understanding about my library and/or the nature of librarianship 2    1%
I don’t care 12    5%
Other 16    7%

 

An outfit with a coordinated blazer and trousers:

blazer trousers

Counts as a suit 181   74%
Is totally different 22    9%
I do not know and/or care 30   12%
Other 13    5%

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

bare arms

True 99   40%
False 66   27%
I don’t care 46   19%
Other 35   14%

 

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

pantyhose

Never, pantyhose is for my grandmother 10    4%
No, but it’s not a dealbreaker 84   34%
Either pantyhose or tights. Bare legs are inappropriate 49   20%
Yes, true professionals always wear pantyhose 11    4%
Other 92   37%

Women should wear make-up to an interview: 

make up

Always 13    5%
I don’t care, as long as it’s not over-the-top 108   44%
I don’t care what’s on the face, it’s what’s in the brain that counts 103   42%
Never 0    0%
Other 22    9%

 

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

formality

Yes, the higher the position, the more formal I expect the candidate to dress 190   77%
No 38   15%
I don’t care 9    4%
Other 9    4%

 

Which jewelry may candidates wear:

jewelry

Single, simple necklace, bracelet, and/or ring 181   75%
A few simple necklaces, bracelets, and/or rings 177   73%
All of the simple necklaces, bracelets, and rings he or she can load on 43   18%
Arty or more elaborate necklaces, bracelets, or rings 139   57%
Nose Ring (nostril) 86   36%
Eyebrow Ring, Monroe piercing, septum piercing, or other face piercing 61   25%
Earrings 188   78%
Multiple Ear Piercings 136   56%
Large gauge ear jewelry (stretched ears) 49   20%
Other 76   31%
People may select more than one checkbox, so percentages may add up to more than 100%.

Which hair colors are acceptable for candidates:

hair colors

All of them, even pink 129   52%
Natural colors (black, brown, red, blonde, gray) 89   36%
Other 28   11%

 

The way a candidate dresses should:

neutral or personality

Show personality 60   24%
Be fairly neutral 99   40%
I don’t really care how a candidate dresses 26   11%
Other 61   25%

What the Library Wears

On a scale of  1 to 5, where one is too dressed up for your workplace, khakis and a polo shirt are:

khakis and a polo

1 –
Too dressed up for my workplace
1    0%
2 4    2%
3 177   72%
4 37   15%
5 –
Too casual for my workplace
15    6%

 

What’s the dress code at your library/organization?

dress code

Business formal 8    3%
Business casual 146   59%
Casual 51   21%
I don’t even know what any of that means 2    1%
Other 39   16%

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

forbidden items

Jeans 65   28%
Flip flops 113   49%
Visible Tattoos 28   12%
Short skirts/shorts 94   41%
Tank tops 98   42%
Logos/band insignia/slogans 78   34%
Sneakers/trainers 36   16%
N/A: We wear what we want! 50   22%
Other 135   58%
People may select more than one checkbox, so percentages may add up to more than 100%.

Librarians at your organization wear:

Name tags 102   61%
Badges 46   27%
Uniforms 1    1%
Shirt, waistcoat/vest, or other single piece of clothing issued by the library 6    4%
Other 57   34%
People may select more than one checkbox, so percentages may add up to more than 100%.

Demographics

What type of institution do you hire for?

type

Academic Library 134   54%
Public Library 80   33%
School Library 2    1%
Special Library 12    5%
Archives 9    4%
Other 9    4%

Where are you?

region

 

Northeastern US 61   25%
Midwestern US 65   26%
Southern US 60   24%
Western US 37   15%
Canada 9    4%
UK 5    2%
Australia/New Zealand 1    0%
Other 8    3%

Where are you?

urbanity

 

Urban area 80   33%
Suburban area 56   23%
City/town 74   30%
Rural area 31   13%
Other 5    2%

How many staff members are at your library?

numbers of staff

 

0-10 61   25%
10-50 115   47%
50-100 31   13%
100-200 22    9%
200+ 15    6%

Are you a librarian?

r u lib

 

Yes 222   90%
No 6    2%
It’s complicated 18    7%

Are you now or have you ever been:

r u now

a hiring manager (you are hiring people that you will directly or indirectly supervise) 179   74%
a member of a hiring or search committee 207   85%
human resources 8    3%
Other 6    2%
People may select more than one checkbox, so percentages may add up to more than 100%.

What do you think?  What should we have asked?  I realize we don’t talk about religious garb, or neckties… what else did we miss? Please comment below or email hiringlibrariansATgmail.

3 Comments

Filed under Stats and Graphs, What Should Candidates Wear?