This anonymous interview is with a job hunter who is not currently employed (even if part-time or in an unrelated field), has 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 and public libraries, at the following levels: entry level. Here is this person’s experience with internships/volunteering:
1 year of grad school research assistant (doing lit searches and other odds and ends); 1 semester of in-class research aide; 2 elected student body positions; 2 years of leading occasional technology classes at local public library; 6 week-long LibQUAL+ assessment project with area university; 1.5 years graduate assistant work in digital special collections with area university library; 4 months volunteering with state science agency’s special library; 6 months assisting professor by writing computer programs and managing research data.
This job hunter is in an city/town in the Northeastern US and is willing to move anywhere.
What are the top three things you’re looking for in a job?
Responsibility, growth, an opportunity to confront the unknown (as opposed to completing rote tasks)
Where do you look for open positions?
ALA, code4lib, Inside Higher Education, LISjobs, ARL, Chronicle for Higher Education, LibGig, ArchivesGig
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?
Write a new letter, tweak resume, go through the (painful) online job application (these imagine a world I have never visited, where people have jobs in succession — never simultaneously — where it makes sense to report annual salary, etc., etc), touch up letter, send. I don’t know how much time. Probably 5 to 15 hours.
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
√ 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)?
√ Meeting department members/potential co-workers
What do you think employers should do to get the best candidates to apply?
I’m skeptical of the term “the best.” Your use of it makes me mistrust you, but charitably … if that is possible — charitably because you are not alone. I think that the concept of “the best” candidates is, though cancerous, endemic to the concept of HR.
What should employers do to make the hiring process less painful?
This is not going to happen, but STOP MAKING US FILL OUT ONLINE APPLICATION FORMS. Or develop a universal form that can communicate with some kind of LinkedIn form, so that I can export my data easily into your system without having to do a ton of typing or cutting & pasting. Also, good lord, do not require letters of recommendation for an entry level position. I am applying for 10 to 25 positions a month, and there is no way I’m going to burden my referees with the request for a handcrafted letter. It is not their job to get me a job, it is my job. Just call them after a phone or on-site interview, if you think that their testimony may affect your hiring decision. It has occurred many times that I will forego applying for a job strictly because the ad asks for 3 letters. What do the hiring committees think professors and supervisors spend their days doing that they have time to write letters for us all?
What do you think is the secret to getting hired?
Wish I knew. I honestly think it has most to do with socio-economic/class and gender preferences of the hiring decision-makers.
Do you have any comments, or are there any other questions you think we should add to this survey?
Thanks for asking!
Are you hunting for a new LIS job? Take the survey! http://tinyurl.com/hiringlibJOBHUNTERsurvey
This survey was co-authored by Naomi House from I Need A Library Job – Do you need one? Check it out!