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 six months to a year. This person is looking in academic, archives, library vendors/service providers, public, and special libraries, at the following levels: entry level, requiring at least two years of experience. Here is this person’s experience with internships/volunteering:
I received my MLIS in 2011. I have 2-3 years previous volunteer experience for a public library. I completed two internships in a museum library and government archives. I’m currently working full-time in my undergraduate field and working toward a career change.
This job hunter is in a city/town in the Western US and is not willing to move.
What are the top three things you’re looking for in a job?
1. Something in my geographic area. I can’t relocate at this time.
2. A full-time position that utilizes my education- someplace I can do meaningful work.
3.Opportunities for professional growth. Is there space for lateral or upward movement? Do they encourage cross-training in new skills or areas of the organization? Will I be stuck somewhere until someone dies?
Where do you look for open positions?
Indeed, SimplyHired, ALA Joblist, state and national organization listservs, state, county and city lists; LibGig, INALJ, local college and university lists, USAJobs, Craigslist, networking, word of mouth.
Twitter has been my best resource- I can follow so many different sites at once and pounce on jobs as soon as they’re posted.
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 rewrite my cover letter to include specific experience and show how I would fit the position. I tweak my resume to include keywords from the ad. You never know when your materials are going to be read by a real person or by a robot. Typically 2-3 hours per application.
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 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
What do you think employers should do to get the best candidates to apply?
1. Write better ads. Be honest and tell me exactly what you’re looking for. Is there software you need me to know? Do you want someone with more customer service experience or more technical skills?
2. Include specifics. Nothing takes the wind out of your sails like applying to a job and finding out later that it’s only part time or temporary. I once applied to a job and found out during the interview that it would require travel between three different libraries over 70 miles apart. This was nowhere in the ad.
What should employers do to make the hiring process less painful?
1. Communicate, communicate, communicate. I understand that you cannot respond to every applicant, but even a form e-mail is better than nothing. Not responding after an interview (especially a long, multi-level interview) is rude and would make me rethink accepting an offer.
2. Dump the form interview questions. Stop asking me what me what my “greatest weakness” is and “where I see myself in 5 years.” We all have answers for those. Ask me something to make me think!
What do you think is the secret to getting hired?
Preparing- really reflecting on what you have to offer and making sure you can sell yourself effectively.
Do you have any comments, or are there any other questions you think we should add to this survey?
This site is a great resource.
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!