This anonymous interview is with a job hunter who is not 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, archives, 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 worked at an academic library, interned at a private company in knowledge management, and contracted as an archivist for a non-profit.
My previous work in customer service, research (RA), and in working with students with disabilities seems more valuable, because soft-skills are more in demand than direct experience with information issues.
This job hunter is in an urban area in Canada and is willing to move anywhere.
What are the top three things you’re looking for in a job?
NOT customer service. I’m a helpful person but my skills would be wasted in reference.
Where do you look for open positions?
INALJ, uToronto Jobsite, and I browse various institutional job-pages.
Do you expect to see salary range listed in a job ad?
√ Other: Yes, but ranges would be enough; I don’t need specific dollar amounts.
What’s your routine for preparing an application packet? How much time do you spend on it?
One hour: I write a custom cover letter, and spit out a resume that is specific for the job (but all my descriptive texts are written; it’s just a matter of selecting which experience and skills to advertise).
I browse the company’s website, look them up online, and think about what of my experience and skills to highlight in the cover letter.
Have you ever stretched the truth, exaggerated, or lied on your resume, or at some other point during the hiring process?
√ Other: It has been suggested that I make up an anecdote about “great customer service” when asked in interviews. “I’m always doing the best I can” doesn’t seem to fly as an answer.
When would you like employers to contact you?
√ 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 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
√ Other: The description of the labour and the organizational structure is most important.
What do you think employers should do to get the best candidates to apply?
Be a lot more specific than just “MLIS required;” we all know the variance in the education quality of the accreditation.
Focus less on experience, and more on potential.
What should employers do to make the hiring process less painful?
Less structured interviews would be nice. It’s always so formulaic, reading questions off a sheet, and it doesn’t give the candidate a chance to really be themselves. I’ve always done well in interviews where the interviewer discarded the question-sheet and had fun, but the GLAM environment doesn’t seem keen on doing that so far.
Do you have any comments, or are there any other questions you think we should add to this survey?
I’d love to see anecdotes of good or bad hiring experiences (moments when candidates nailed something or knew they messed up on something).
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!