Monthly Archives: May 2014

1 day of interviews

Picnic lunch on a hunting party, Queensland, ca. 1912This anonymous interview is with a job hunter who is not 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 monthsThis person is looking in academic, public, and special libraries, at the following levels: entry level. Here is what this person said about his/her experience with internships/volunteering:

one year or less

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

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

opportunity for growth
satisfaction

Where do you look for open positions?

ALA, PaLA, LinkedIn, Indeed.com, listsrv, SLA

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

√ Yes, and it’s a red flag when it’s not

How much time do you spend on the application packet?

a couple of hours

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

√ Other: somewhat

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

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?

Not neglect candidates based on years experience

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

1 day of interviews with multiple people, instead of having to go through many rounds.

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

It has been proven to me over the years that this is solely about who one knows and what connections one has to the field

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!

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Filed under Job hunter's survey, Midwestern US, Suburban area

If you don’t know what you’re really getting into, you are making a huge and costly mistake

Keene Grammar School Class, Keene New HampshireThis anonymous interview is with a public librarian who has been a hiring manager, a member of a hiring or search committee, and a human resources professional. This person hires the following types of LIS professionals:

Only the Director is an MLIS holder in this library.

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

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

√ You can’t teach the job skills I need in library school

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?

√ Budgeting/Accounting
√ Grant Writing
√ Project Management
√ Web Design/Usability
√ Marketing

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

Business related skills are lacking, as are realistic and practical expectations of libraries and library patrons when new librarians come to their first place of work.

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)?

All a new hire should need to learn are the particular WAYS of doing things in a new library, and learning the patrons’ preferences and behaviors.

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

√ Library work experience

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

Work in a library first, as an aide, page, technician level 1, before going to library school. If you don’t know what you’re really getting into, you are making a huge and costly mistake.

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

Special Note: From December 6, 2013 to October 24, 2014, the ALA will accept comments on the Draft revised Standards for Accreditation of Master’s Programs in Library and Information Studies. More information about the process of changing these standards is here. If you have opinions about what people should be learning in library school, here’s a way that you can influence change.

Do you hire librarians? Tell us, “What Should Potential Hires Learn in Library School?”: http://tinyurl.com/hiringlibschoolsurvey

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

I want someone who, even if they have very little or no storytime experience, can show me in an interview that they have the skills and the techniques to be a good storyteller for large groups

Work with schools story hour in the open, librarian and ch...This anonymous interview is with a public librarian who has been a hiring manager. This person hires the following types of LIS professionals:

children’s/teen librarians

This librarian works at a library with 50-100 staff members in a city/town in the Western US.

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

√ Depends on the school/Depends on the candidate

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?

√ Library Management
√ Collection Management
√ Digital Collections
√ Reference
√ Readers’ Advisory
√ Field Work/Internships

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

Practical experience. I think each student should be able to work for a quarter at a library to see what the day-to-day is like and get some experience answering questions and dealing with real patrons. It’s not the same in a classroom. That would prepare them for the types of questions and tasks that they will face daily.

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)?

As a children’s librarian, I look for the ability to do storytimes. I also look for someone who doesn’t talk down to kids. I want someone who, even if they have very little or no storytime experience, can show me in an interview that they have the skills and the techniques to be a good storyteller for large groups (we get 100-200 people at storytimes). The person needs to be able to project and “perform” well. I appreciate enthusiasm, but also an easy-going manner. What is really impressive is when a candidate comes into an interview having looked at our website and familiarized him or herself with our policies and what we offer.

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

√ Library work experience

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

Doesn’t matter.

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

No.

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

I feel bad for students who have to do everything online now. It’s difficult to really learn effectively without being around other students and having personal interactions with instructors and peers. Get practical experience. Shadow at a library and see what it’s like. If you want to do children’s services, talk to children’s librarians. Ask about the job and find out what it’s like. Read children’s books! ALL kinds! Knowing some literature is impressive and shows that you are interested in putting the right books into kids’ hands.

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

Special Note: From December 6, 2013 to October 24, 2014, the ALA will accept comments on the Draft revised Standards for Accreditation of Master’s Programs in Library and Information Studies. More information about the process of changing these standards is here. If you have opinions about what people should be learning in library school, here’s a way that you can influence change.

Do you hire librarians? Tell us, “What Should Potential Hires Learn in Library School?”: http://tinyurl.com/hiringlibschoolsurvey

Leave a comment

Filed under City/town, Public, Western US, What Should Potential Hires Learn in Library School

If we are truly going to encourage a diverse, non-discriminatory workplace, then we have to make allowances for personal expression with dress

Job interview by Flickr user ShaolinWorldwideThis anonymous interview is with someone who, when asked “are you a librarian?” chose the “It’s complicated” response.  This person has been a hiring manager and a member of a hiring or search committee. This person works at a semi-private museum library and archives with 0-10 staff members in a Suburban area in the mid-Atlantic.

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:

√ 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: It shouldn’t matter

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.

Clothing that poses a physical hazard to the work performed, torn or dirty clothing, clothing that is highly sexual, too tight or too revealing, or clothing that is advertising a brand or a political position.

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)

√ 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)
√ Eyebrow Ring, Monroe piercing, septum piercing, or other face piercing
√ Earrings
√ Multiple Ear Piercings
√ Large gauge ear jewelry (stretched ears)

Which hair colors are acceptable for candidates:

√ All of them, even pink

The way a candidate dresses should:

√ I don’t really care how a candidate dresses

How does what a candidate wears affect your hiring decision?

Interviewees should dress for the position they are seeking. If that job involves dirty, back-breaking labor, then I wouldn’t expect female candidates to show up in dresses any more than I would male candidates to show up in 3-piece suits.
Personally, I judge candidates based on their knowledge, skills, experiences, and their passion for the work, not on their personal appearance. Some individuals dress according to their religion, some might dress to reflect an artistic personality, while others will dress according to their income. If we are truly going to encourage a diverse, non-discriminatory workplace, then we have to make allowances for personal expression with dress, including for hairstyles, make-up, accessories or garb that may be out of the norm, especially if the dress code is listed as “casual”.

What This Library Wears

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

Neutral colors, usually all black, dress shirt and slacks, with a nice shoe. I have a nose ring, an eyebrow ring, gauged ears and tattoos in visible places, which I do not hide during the interview. I’ve learned the hard way that if someone is going to judge me based on my appearance, rather than on my work experience, talents, passions, and performance, then I’d rather not work for those kinds of people/ organizations anyway.

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)

√ N/A: We wear what we want!

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

√ Other: Whatever they want & a key card

Do you have any other comments?

The questions seem more geared toward what women and alternative-type people would wear.
Is there the same concern over someone showing up to an interview wearing the traditional garb of a hasidic jew, the headdress of a hindi sikh, the muslim woman’s hijab, a male’s sarong, dhoti, chola, caftan, kanga or lungi skirt, the traditional facial piercings still found in India, Persia and Thailand, the traditional ritual facial scarification patterns or tooth modifications of sub-Saharan African cultures, or the traditional tribal face tattoos of Polynesian islanders, as there is towards westerners with tattoos, body piercings, unusual hair styles or dress? If not, our attitudes about dress and appearance are very likely discriminatory.

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

Photo: Job interview by Flickr user ShaolinWorldwide

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

I just didn’t mesh with the interviewers.

PhC42.Bx17.Hunting.F13This 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 and public libraries, at the following levels: entry level, requiring at least two years of experience.

This job hunter is in a city/town in the Midwestern US, and is willing to move anywhere.

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

If I fit the qualifications, if it looks like I would enjoy working there, and the salary.

Where do you look for open positions?

ALA Joblist, my university’s listserv, LinkedIn, and Indeed.com

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

√ Yes, and it’s a red flag when it’s not

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

I write my cover letter and tweak my resume to make the best fit for the application. I usually take around 2 hours to make sure everything is as good as I can make it.

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

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

Be clear in their expectations and write the job description to fit the employers’ personality. I am much more willing to apply for a job where the application presents a fun and forward thinking library.

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

Communicate! I can’t tell you how frustrating is it to be left without an answer.

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

Being a good match. I’ve had interviews where my qualifications were beyond what was desired but I just didn’t mesh with the interviewers.

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!

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Filed under City/town, Job hunter's survey, Midwestern US

I have a lot of student loans

Constable examining licenses - hunting (LOC)This 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 more than 18 months. This person is looking in archives, library vendors/service providers, and academic, public, school, and special libraries, at the following levels: entry level, department head, senior librarian. 

This job hunter is in a 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?

Location (Id like to avoid moving too far)
Pay (I have a lot of student loans)
Decent hours

Where do you look for open positions?

ALA Joblist, Monster.com (difficult, they don’t offer library jobs much so I have to look for other jobs the skills qualify me for), friends and relatives send me openings when they see them

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

√ Only for certain kinds of employers

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

Not much routine. I have a template that I use to write individual cover letters, tailor my resume as needed, and put them in an envelope or PDF to mail or email to the employer, along with other requested materials.

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
√ Meeting with HR to talk about benefits/salary

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

Be specific about functions and expectations (including hours), as well as benefits and salary.

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

Don’t give false hope. If the candidate isn’t going to be considered, let them know (gently). I’ve had interviews that I thought went very well, only to later find out that I was not being considered at all.

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

I don’t think there is a secret, other than maybe persistence.

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

I think the “currently employed” question could be improved. It says unrelated field, but it could be more specific. I, for example, have been looking for a job for over a year, but I am currently in the part-time retail job (Walmart) that I had while in grad school.

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!

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Filed under City/town, Job hunter's survey, Northeastern US

Don’t advertise for the position everywhere

PhC42.Bx17.Hunting.F12-3This anonymous interview is with a job hunter who 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, public, and special libraries, at the following levels: entry level, requiring at least two years of experience.

This job hunter is in a suburban area in the Western US and is willing to move, but not anywhere.

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

  1. Satisfying, fulfilling work that contributes to the organization.
  2. Co-workers, boss that I get along with and who I fit in with.
  3. Pay and location are always important, but I’ve been unemployed so long that I am now very flexible in these areas, so I would have to say a location that is not more than one hour commute from my home.

Where do you look for open positions?

ArchivesGig, INALJ, UCLA Library School online job board, Indeed.com, Craigslist, LinkedIn, Libgig, Lisjobs.com, Trak Records and Library, SLA, LAC Group.

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

√ Other: Only for certain kinds of employers

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

I spend at least an hour and a half tweaking my resume to fit the job I am applying for and writing a cover letter. I will also probably research the job or organization as much as possible so that I can better address the hiring personnel.

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
√ Meeting with HR to talk about benefits/salary

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

Don’t advertise for the position everywhere. If you do you are likely to get applications from unqualified people. Limit ad to specific job boards, or association sites.

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

Not make you wait around forever waiting to hear back from them about an application, after an interview, etc.

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

Being confident and honest. Only applying to jobs where you would be a good fit for the organization.

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!

Leave a comment

Filed under Job hunter's survey, Suburban area, Western US