If you list 39 very specific minimum requirements, even the best people will be put off

Man and Hunting Dog: Tallahasee FloridaThis 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 less than six months. This person is looking in academic 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:

– Student reference work in undergrad
– two semesters interning at a large, academic research library

This job hunter is in an urban area in the Northeastern US and is willing to move, but not anywhere.

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

– Opportunities to be part of new and interesting projects and initiatives
– Being able to work with a good cross-section of groups within the institution
– an employer/institution that is forward-looking

Where do you look for open positions?

listservs, ALA Joblist, the Chronicle of Higher Education, higheredjobs.com, INALJ

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?

It depends. I have a few template cover letters that I add to or tweak to match what’s on the job ad. Sometimes I write a new letter mostly from scratch for a position, and for a few I’ve had to write a statement about teaching and/or diversity. I also do some research about the institution and its location. All of that plus filling out the online application usually takes 2-3 hours per packet.

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

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)?

√ Other: Let me get back to you on that when I finally get an interview…

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

Try to strike a balance between being too specific and too vague in the job ad. Be as clear and realistic as possible. If you list 39 very specific minimum requirements, even the best people will be put off, and if you list 3 extremely general requirements, you’ll probably get a flood of mediocre applicants.

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

This is going to sound strange, but send people rejection notices as soon as possible if you’re not interested in them. Rip the bandage off. Yeah, it stings for a minute, but leaving people on tenterhooks for months wondering if they’ll get the call is much worse. I recently discovered that I’d likely not be contacted for a position I’d been really attached to by poking around on their website and running across the announcement for the job talk of one of the finalists for the position. I know there’s a complex mix of factors in the academic hiring process (HR, those awful application systems, etc), but it shouldn’t take more than a few minutes to at least send a bulk automated message to applicants who have not been selected to move to the next round. Of the two dozen or so jobs I’ve applied to in the last six months, I’ve gotten only three rejection notices, and I truly appreciated the institutions that sent them. Not giving applicants (who’ve likely spent hours on the application for your job) closure as soon as possible makes an already difficult process even more dehumanizing, and it’s just plain rude.

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

I’ll have to get back to you on that.

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, Northeastern US, Urban area

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