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 more than 18 months. This person is looking in academic library and consortia, at the following levels: requiring at least two years of experience, supervisory, department head, senior librarian, director/dean.
This job hunter is in an urban area in the Southern US and is willing to move anywhere not “too rural”..
What are the top three things you’re looking for in a job?
I consider myself “career-oriented” and “mid-career” so I’m looking at jobs with benefits that include professional development (real opportunities for development, not just an unsupported expectation of developing myself.)
I hope for same-sex partner benefits because my partner of 6 1/2 years goes to the clinic while have a private physician.
Salary is still critical because I have above-average student loans (academic libraries expect a second Masters degree, sigh).
Where do you look for open positions?
ALA Joblist, ARL.org, HigherEdjobs.com
Do you expect to see salary range listed in a job ad?
√ Other: I hate it when it is not, because there is no standard and “based on experience” still usually references a pre-determined range, so spell it out!
What’s your routine for preparing an application packet? How much time do you spend on it?
It depends. I have been looking for 3 years for my next opportunity, so I already have a couple of “standard” cover letters and references contact lists. The fact that each school has an online system requiring me to add degrees and work history adds 30-60 minutes to customizing the cover letter. Beyond that, you still need to research the hiring institution to guess if you’d be happy there. That can take days!
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 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?
Which events during the interview/visit are most important to your assessment of the position (i.e. deciding if you want the job)?
√ Other:Tour of facility, Meeting department members/potential co-workers, Honest meeting with direct supervisor about the “unwritten” expectations.
What do you think employers should do to get the best candidates to apply?
I think less generic job descriptions would help. A willingness to look for potential instead of experience would be good to lure affordable budding talent because roles will change anyway. Also, a record of internal promotion is attractive: if I’m uprooting my family to plunge into the unknown, it would be nice to believe there is long-term potential (since it seems very few places have cost of living OR meaningful merit raises anymore.)
What should employers do to make the hiring process less painful?
Communicate when one has been eliminated so that we can move on. Try to shorten the process when possible.
What do you think is the secret to getting hired?
For moving up, it seems to still be “knowing someone.” Otherwise, the trick seems to be, “apply for jobs you are already doing.” We tend to hire people to do the same job they are doing because they have experience in time-limited contracts… they tend to be very motivated applicants. (But dissatisfaction often sets in before tenure; we have high turnover rates.)
Also, on the subject of experience: a distance education degree is useless without experience. You are simply not competitive in this job market. You will have to work retail and volunteer in a library. (Then you get to know people so when a vacancy opens, “who you know” kicks in!). I firmly believe that we need more internships, residencies, and volunteer opportunities to build our profession!
Do you have any comments, or are there any other questions you think we should add to this survey?
A companion survey for those of us on committees and one for recent hires outlining their experiences would be interesting.
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!