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 less than six months. This person is looking in academic libraries, at the following levels: requiring at least two years of experience, supervisory, department head.
This job hunter is in a city/town in the Western US and is willing to move anywhere within a targeted large geographic location (Mid-Atlantic and North East).
What are the top three things you’re looking for in a job?
1. Good fit (experience, interests & geography)
2. Better pay & cost of living.
3. I’m looking for an institution that is truly open to innovation and trying new things (not just lip service)
Where do you look for open positions?
RSS feeds to:
I also see jobs posted to professional list servs, though they usually overlap with the ones from the job lists
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 read the position announcement closely, highlighting preferred or required skills and matching them with my experience. I spend a substantial amount of time looking at the library website and the university website to get a feel for the place including its strengths, weaknesses, and new initiatives. I then write a tailored resume & cover letter. This process takes 2-10 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?
√ Other: Depends on how you define it. I have exaggerated my enthusiasm for a particular position when I was ambivalent.
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
√ Meeting with HR to talk about benefits/salary
√ Being able to present
√ Other: Meeting supervisors. It is important to have a sense of the supervisor’s style as boss and their personality.
What do you think employers should do to get the best candidates to apply?
1. Write clear position announcements. If it’s not clear what you want, it may still not be clear after you hire the person, which can cause problems.
2. If you have something that would make a good candidate want to leave their current position (excellent salary & benefits, innovative culture, etc.), please do mention it.
3. Don’t write something in your position announcement that will immediately exclude highly qualified people. It limits your choices and makes you look bad. (I’ve seen announcements with restrictions like “must be able to answer the phone” or other things that exclude people with disabilities that can be easily accommodated. There are not that many positions where it is essential that a person be able to answer the phone. When I see that, it is a red flag that the institution is not open to people with differences or even considering reasonable accommodations and that they are skirting on the edge of illegal hiring practices. I am hearing impaired and have not applied for jobs that I was an excellent candidate for because of this type of language. Not being able to answer the phone has never been a problem at any of my work places and solutions were not expensive. If you give me a chance to make my case, chances are you’ll end up hiring me).
What should employers do to make the hiring process less painful?
1. Write a clear position announcement with information on the institution, details of the position, and salary range.
2. Please contact me by email, not phone.
3. If you use an electronic submission system, make sure it works and is not excessively complicated. Also, make it clear upfront exactly what kind of information and documentation the system will require so the applicant can have everything ready when they log in.
4. Acknowledge receipt of applications so the applicant knows their submission did not get eaten by gremlins.
5. If you are covering travel & lodging expenses for in person interviews, book it for me so I don’t have to pay out of pocket and wait for a reimbursement. I may not be able to afford it otherwise.
6. Do your research before proposing a travel and interview schedule. A person who has to fly cross country to get to your location will likely not get there by a reasonable dinner time and will not be in fit condition for dinner with the search committee, which is part of the interview. Likewise, unless both you and the candidate are near major airports, your interviewee may not be able to take a red eye flight back home the day of the interview.
7. Stay in contact with your applicants. If you interview someone by phone or in person, let them know what your timeline is and notify them if someone else is hired at the end of the process. Ideally, all applicants, whether interviewed or not, should be notified once the process is over. There is nothing worse than being left hanging for months wondering what happened.
8. Keep in mind that if you botch anything in the process (especially interview travel and reimbursement), you might lose your preferred candidate. How you handle the hiring process tells candidates how your organization works. If you make it difficult for them, they will think twice about working for you.
What do you think is the secret to getting hired?
1. Be willing to move. If you are restricted to a particular city, you are going to have a very hard time finding a job.
2. Apply for positions that are a good fit, and show them that by tailoring your resume and cover letter to each position.
3. Be enthusiastic. Show how you will contribute to their organization. Don’t just talk about what you did in previous positions. Tell them how you will apply your experience to the new position.
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!