Libraries and jobs in them have been deteriorating in many ways for many years.

Ptarmagin HunterThis 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,library vendors/service providers, special libraries, crossover nontraditional organizations and beyond libraries, at the following levels: entry level, requiring at least two years of experience, and other: Nontraditional crossover information related positions.

This job hunter is in an city/town in the Southern US and is willing to move to some locations.

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

1) full-time with benefits preferably – security for making a living
2) location preferences – prefer eastern seaboard states where I am from and where most of my relatives are
3) a match with an employer who values my skills, experience, and potential and is willing to provide opportunities to expand skills while on the job

Where do you look for open positions?

ALA Joblist, SLA, NC Community Colleges, State Library of NC, internet job search engine, postings in various ALA related listervs, various local newspapers, employment security commission, sometimes individual employers’ websites,

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?

* Review and edit resume. Customize and revise when needed and possible. May take a few minutes or up to an hour.
* Develop customized cover letter. Sometimes less than an hour, sometimes more.
* Online applications – Formats and amount of info vary but many take more than an hour to complete. I’ve worked on some for 2-3 hours. Requested work history can vary greatly. Some have wanted me to go all the way back to my undergraduate degree and jobs in a different career.

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

How do you prefer to communicate with potential employers?

√ Phone

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

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

* Careful, detailed, honest, realistic job description.
* Specifying education, knowledge, and/or experience desired, including how much and why. *
* Including required and preferred qualifications using careful, thorough wording. Willing to work with potential in a candidate? What qualifies as equivalent education and/or experience to a desired skill set?
* Avoid dropping the level of the job title and education and qualifications required and/or expanding lists of job responsibilities to combine many types of staff into one job role in order to drop the salary you are offering as you try to get the most for your money. Some job ads look exploitive.

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

* Giving info about the staff, managers and their expectations and work styles, culture of the work environment, short and long term goals and local decisions about trends for the advertised position as well as for the library (or department) overall.
* Respecting the value of a candidate’s efforts toward professional development and continuing education activities to expand skills and knowledge and show/reveal areas of interest.
* Be willing to pay travel expenses when a decision is made to invite a candidate to interview. Is there ethical and legal room for creativity in figuring out how to reimburse a candidate for their travel? Think about it. Do you respect or exploit candidates?
* Staff, managers, directors, administrative heads hold your standards for your own behaviors and words expressed during an interview to the same high level that you expect from the interviewee whether as part of a panel or private interview.
* Consider clarifying to the candidate why you ask the questions you do and say the things you do.
* State what you really want and are seeking, and if you are interviewing a candidate, repeat this. Tell the interviewee what interested you, the employer, in them and why you chose them. Does your interview process match what you say you value about that candidate and why you thought they might be an asset to your organization?
* Honing interviewing skills, including doing and not doing what has been recommended, can take multiple tries for a candidate. It’s a lot to pull together in a real time interview. Show interest but compassion too when critiquing behaviors and mistakes made by interviewees.
* As a manager, director, administrative head, interviewer, HR representative, and/or employer, you may be experienced and shrewd, but would interviewees describe you as competent, respectful, dignified, compassionate, excellent at what you do, how you express yourself, and how you relate to people, and even “classy” throughout the application/interviewing/hiring process?

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

I suspect that many employers want to hire employees who have the most experience in the widest variety of skill sets, i.e. they want and need the most for their money since job openings are so few, and those fortunate enough to be hired must be responsible for and accomplish many, sometimes a multitude, of things. Additionally, experience in what are considered the latest and greatest trends is admired if not desired.

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

Thank you for the opportunity to give input during this difficult and disappointing time in our nation’s life. Libraries and jobs in them have been deteriorating in many ways for many years. The same is true in some other public service fields, for example facilities maintenance, custodial, and food service workers, and some healthcare professions that have endured severe under staffing and low wages that compromise the public’s safety. Students in schools as well as the American public are not told the truths openly and clearly always. We learn once we hit the real world that, for example, 2/3 of teaching faculty and often staff too in academic institutions of higher learning throughout the U.S. work part-time, sometimes with fluctuating numbers of hours worked, and without benefits and have done so for many years. Some public library systems have no professional librarians hired other than perhaps in the system’s administrative and director levels. I do not think that the American public understands what librarians and library staff do either.

Are you hunting for a new LIS job? Take the survey!

This survey was co-authored by Naomi House from I Need A Library Job – Do you need one? Check it out!

Leave a comment

Filed under Job hunter's survey, Southern US

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.