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 academic, archives, public, and special libraries, at the following levels: entry level, requiring at least two years of experience, supervisory.
This job hunter is in an urban area in the Western US and is not willing to move anywhere.
What are the top three things you’re looking for in a job?
service-based management – internal and external customer service
union job or full benefits including healthcare and retirement
Outreach to unserved/underserved people, diversity, cultural competency
Where do you look for open positions?
Local job search only: olaweb.org, pnla.org, local library and archives websites. National search is of no interested.
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 spend a great deal of time on each packet. I want to make sure my resume specifically highlights my experience that makes me desirable as a candidate for each particular job (1-2 hours). The cover letter requires research about the organization/company, as well as a specific address of the minimum and maximum qualifications as they relate to my expertise (2hrs). Filling in the form online or in print can be up to 4 hours. And often these are done in between the library jobs and volunteer positions I already have, so there is always some recall / catching up to do.
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
√ Meeting with HR to talk about benefits/salary
What do you think employers should do to get the best candidates to apply?
I think employers should have a sense of what kind of workplace culture they are trying to create, and seek people who fill those needs. Hiring teams should be a solid group of clear communicators, who have a commitment to fulfill organizational and personal goals. I love to see employers say openly that they value emotional intelligence, multicultural experience, community and volunteer work, and social justice (whether directly or via programs and services that are culturally competent and affordable to all).
What should employers do to make the hiring process less painful?
The lottery system is one way to cut back on numbers of applications. I’m concerned that if we continue to offer limited professional opportunities, our new hires will work to get hired on and THEN decide whether the workplace suits them. This is already happening.
Hold workshops called “so you want to work here?” and have staff and patrons engage potential future candidates so a community of people can question what people are looking for and why they want to be here.
Always respond to every application. I have had dozens of non-responses from library employers after I have spent hours on my application. It is disrespectful and will discourage others from applying. It is demoralizing as a profession to be rejected, ignored, treated like one in a number.
What do you think is the secret to getting hired?
Having a variety of skills in the profession, for instance: law librarianship, archives, documents management, reference, electronic services, etc., and constantly updating them. Specialization is becoming less desirable for new library workers.
Find your competitive edge, and wait patiently at the jobs you can get for future opportunities to arise. 7-10 years in my experience.
Volunteer your time. Don’t be afraid to say “Yes.” Find your mentors. Help you professional peers. Mentor newer professionals. Market your expertise on facebook, in person, over the phone, even when you are not at work. We live in an information culture, and you can make a huge difference by offering instruction, workarounds, and knowledge to people you know.
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!