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 public and special libraries, at the following level: requiring at least two years of experience. This job hunter is in a suburban area in the Midwestern US and is not willing to move.
What are the top three things you’re looking for in a job?
1) Decent paycheck 2) Decent coworkers (little, if any office politics) 3) Short commute
Where do you look for open positions?
Career Builder, ala joblist, university job website
Do you expect to see salary range listed in a job ad?
√ Yes, and it’s a red flag when it’s not
What’s your routine for preparing an application packet? How much time do you spend on it?
Depends how many essay questions I have to answer. Usually, I have a resume ready to go. About 45 minutes to fill out online application (depending on computer speed). Some libraries require essay answers to questions, so that takes an hour or two.
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 √ 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: What are specific job duties?
What do you think employers should do to get the best candidates to apply?
These days, simply offer medical/dental/vision, and at least two weeks vacation, plus 3-4 personal days. Offer opportunities to learn new things. Encourage employees to go on their own to learn new areas of expertise (for example, take web design classes and help with libraries web page). A decent paycheck that covers the bills always helps.
What should employers do to make the hiring process less painful?
Stop the interviews with committees. A librarian may be a city employee, but they are not going to work with everyone on a committee interview on a daily basis. The director/assisstant director should be able to handle a job interview. Stop the essay questions. Anyone can BS their way through and those questions do not tell you anything truthful about the candidate.
What do you think is the secret to getting hired?
It is who you know or who you get to know. Education does not necessarily mean anything. I have an MLIS degree, yet a library assistant who had no degree was offered a good library job simply because she had worked at a place for so many years. These days, it seems the less education you have, the better your chance of getting hired. Another secret is learning how to be insincere in a job interview and just make up answers the interviewers want to hear. It is not experience or education that gets you the job.
Do you have any comments, or are there any other questions you think we should add to this survey?
The value of an MLIS/MLS is questionable. Usually it is a candidate’s first degrees (business, computer science) that determine if they get a library job. If a candidate has a background in Science, they have a better shot at getting a job in academic science library than other candidates. It is impossible to simply go into library science and be…a librarian.