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 libraries, at the following levels: entry level, requiring at least two years of experience. Here is this person’s experience with internships/volunteering:
I have 1.5 yrs of professional experience, but before I got this job, I had a totally awesome reference internship while in library school. That is hands-down the reason I got my first full-time job.
This job hunter is in an urban area in the Southern US and is willing to move to a short list of places.
What are the top three things you’re looking for in a job?
job duties that fit my interests/skill sets, an institution that fits my criteria, compensation that completes the equation given the previous two requirements
Where do you look for open positions?
ALA Joblist, Chronicle of Higher Ed, Higher Ed Jobs, individual institution websites
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?
Rewrite or repurpose resume and cover letter (5 hours)
Familiarize myself with their website (2 hours)
Investigate best practices for any skills that I don’t have (? hours)
Have you ever stretched the truth, exaggerated, or lied on your resume, or at some other point during the hiring process?
√ Other: I have massaged the truth of a past experience to fit situational questions during an interview, but I don’t consider that lying
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
√ Once the position has been filled, even if it’s not me
How do you prefer to communicate with potential employers?
√ Phone for good news, email for bad news
Which events during the interview/visit are most important to your assessment of the position (i.e. deciding if you want the job)?
√ Meeting department members/potential co-workers
What do you think employers should do to get the best candidates to apply?
Use direct descriptions of job duties, instead of vague terms; give brief overview of what is happening at the org, why position is being filled at this time; be willing to pay for the right person; (I don’t know if these things would necessarily bring the best candidates, but I feel like they should be direct for everyone’s sake)
What should employers do to make the hiring process less painful?
Make hiring process transparent, communicate with applicants, create job postings that are truthful and direct; design interview questions to reflect position (no trick questions, no questions that are loaded with institutional history that candidates wouldn’t know), generally be humane
What do you think is the secret to getting hired?
I have been offered every job that I have interviewed for, and I think the main reason is the people liked me and I connected with them. I am a new librarian and don’t have a terribly robust skill set outside of public services, but people know that I would be a good coworker, I have personality, and I genuinely love working with college students. I would learn quickly, bring enthusiasm, and can be quirky AND professional.
Do you have any comments, or are there any other questions you think we should add to this survey?
I think you could add something about how important it is to build your support network of people that help you along the job hunting process. I have trusted references who give me advice, look over my application materials, guide me away from bad postings, and have my back. You didn’t mention anything about those folks and I feel that they are a huge part of job hunting, at least for me.
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!