This anonymous interview is with a job hunter who is 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 special libraries, federal institutions, at the following levels: entry level, requiring at least two years of experience. Here is this person’s experience with internships/volunteering:
6 years volunteering at Army vet hospital
10 years volunteering at zoo veterinary dept
2 years working as groom at various local stables
undergrad work-study in information technology dept
Undergrad internship & workstudy at college library
Grad school assistantship at rare books library
grad school assistantship in development office
practicum at university business library
internship at Pritzker military library
This job hunter is in a city/town in the Western US and is willing to move anywhere.
What are the top three things you’re looking for in a job?
1) fulfilling work that gives me room to expand my knowledge and responsibilities in the library field
2) a livable wage that recognizes my educational and personal contributions to their institution
3) a formal training and mentoring program from experienced individuals as well as a coherent internal promotion plan
Where do you look for open positions?
grad school list serv
Chronicle of HigherEd
Pacific Northwest Librarians Assoc Job board
Combined Library Job listing
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 usually end up spending a good 5-6 hours on an application packet-sometimes more.
-parse job description for key phrases and requirements
-tweak resume to reflect description
-Use institution website to locate recent news/events, mission statement, and strategic plan
-integrate mission statement and job description into cover letter
-jump through hoops of filling out online job forms (why make me do both?)
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
√ Being taken out to meal
√ 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?
Quit demanding everything. Having the “right” undergraduate degree is less important than our ability to teach and know the materials. Also, requiring x-years of post-MLS experience for an entry level position is annoying. Have people demonstrate their abilities. If they/I can do the work, who cares how long I’ve been doing that?
Also, quit expecting people to be able to start the position without any training. Expect good people skills, the ability to talk, a love of learning and teaching, and active thinking on the field. Knowing a particular database to a particular degree doesn’t mean I’ll be able to help anyone else use it.
What should employers do to make the hiring process less painful?
Tell me what’s going on. I put in an application 5 months ago to a top-20 university library and have not heard a single word. A form email telling me I wasn’t selected for an interview is all I needed. Just tell me so I can get on with my life.
What do you think is the secret to getting hired?
I have no idea. I was super picky about where I applied to (probably 30 places in the last 7 months) and I got my dream job. One of my classmates applied to over 100 positions while she was still in school and has heard nothing. I do think spending a LOT of time on your cover letter to make sure it reflects you and the institution’s needs is important. This whole “I can do a cover letter in an hour-and-a-half” thing is garbage. Then, be eager and yourself.
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!