Hiring committees are Complex Beasts

Hunting guide Mr. Brown with wild turkeys near Green Swamp, Florida


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 libraries, at the supervisory level.

This job hunter is in a city/town in Canada and is not willing to move.

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

fit to my skills/interests
appropriate salary
reputable university with excellent morale in library

Where do you look for open positions?

LinkedIn, professional listserv, Partnership joblist (Canadian), ALA joblist, Facebook friends’ posting.

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

√ Other: I think it should be posted, but at the very least there should be a link to the university’s salary tables…plus the listing needs to clearly state the salary level of the position

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

I spend about 2-4 hours preparing. A new cover letter has to be written, as it needs to respond to the job posting. Additionally, my resume or CV is tweaked to best reflect my skills/experience relevant to that position. I also do a fair bit of research on the university, library, and librarians (if possible). I’m interested in finding out how truly innovative, or progressive the library is, and whether people are satisfied in the workplace.

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
√ Other: I’d also like employers to offer a follow-up conversation if I haven’t been the one selected for the position (to discuss the interview strengths and weaknesses)

How do you prefer to communicate with potential employers?

√ Other: Phone for personal communications, email for details.

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
√ Being able to present

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

Provide better constructed job postings (I know that HR often controls this, which is problematic), include salary in the listing and more details about the culture.

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

Communicate, communicate, communicate!

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

I don’t think there is one. Hiring committees are complex beasts with an ever changing collection of personalities, expectations, and desires.

I’ve not been successful in the last number of interviews I’ve had (over a 5 year period), and only one employer offered a detailed summary of my interview. This conversation was invaluable to me, and I’m much better prepared for any interviews in my future.

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

I’ve been employed with my current employer for 6 years, so not all job seekers are new to the field. I’m only applying for the right job (location, title, salary, etc), so the urgency or haste isn’t a factor in my job search.

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 Canada, Job hunter's survey

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