I always look for a “stretch”

Woman with gun and hunting dogs Tallahassee, Florida by State Archive of Florida via Flickr CommonsThis 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 six months to a year. This person is looking in academic libraries and library vendors/service providers, at the following levels: senior librarian, branch manager, director/dean.

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?

1. Opportunities for professional growth and development (yes, it can happen, even at the top!)
2. High expectations of the candidate and of employees
3. Collegiality in the library

Where do you look for open positions?

ALA Joblist
Various listservs
Inside HigherEd
Chronicle of Higher Ed

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

√ Other: It depends on the institution. Where no salary is listed, I believe it gives me greater negotiating ability.

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

I read the position description carefully, highlight the “MUST HAVES”, and then seen to what extent I meet those criteria. Because I always look for a “stretch”, I don’t expect to have everything that is desired. I check the website for the library — and the institution — in search of strategic plans and mission statements to ensure that my goals are in alignment with theirs — and so that I can refer to them in my cover letter or during the interview. This background searching can take 4-6 hours.

While I don’t recreate my CV for each application, I may add specific elements from my “working CV” (which has everything going back to DAY ONE) if I feel that they will be useful.

I expect to spend about 2 hours on each cover letter.

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 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?

√ 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
√ Being able to present

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

Make the position description sound as though you really want to hire the best person, not just anyone. Incorporate flexibility if possible (for instance, if you’re hiring two positions at the same time, perhaps you’ll find a better mix of candidates if you don’t limit each position to specific responsibilities). Ensure that you have a current organizational chart on your website, because it’s important to know what the evaluation structure will be even if the organization is dynamic.

If possible — and especially for senior-level jobs — indicate a preferred starting date.

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

Be organized. Send out the interview schedule at least a week in advance and, if possible, indicate names and titles/responsibilities of everyone on the agenda. Include links to information about the institution that you feel candidates should know, and don’t assume that candidates understand your internal structure or jargon.

Please schedule appropriate breaks during the interview. If there is a presentation, make sure that the candidate has adequate time for a bathroom break and also to test the software.

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

Be yourself. Employers understand that there is an “interview persona”, but they also want signs of who you will be on a daily basis. Remember that you are also interviewing them, and demonstrate your preparedness by the questions that you ask.

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

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