This post originally appeared on February 3, 2014. A second follow up will post in just a few moments.
This anonymous person took the Job Hunter’s survey on December 29, 2012. Her responses appeared earlier today as How about not discouraging people from out of state.
How long has it been since you got your library degree?
I received my library degree in June 2012.
How many years of library work experience do you have?
I have 1-2+ years of combined volunteer and library work under my belt.
How many years of work experience outside of libraries do you have?
How old are you?
What’s your current work situation?
I am currently working as a government contractor and considering starting work on a PhD.
Are you volunteering anywhere?
I certainly plan to! This time of year has just been so busy that I haven’t yet had a chance. I also moved from an apartment to a house just this month, so I have a new town library to explore and volunteer in.
Your Job Hunt
How long have you been job hunting at this point?
I am focusing more on continuing my education at this point, though I have considered picking up a secondary weekend job.
What kinds of jobs are you currently applying for?
Weekend or part-time positions in libraries in addition to my current full-time job.
Approximately how many positions have you applied to?
4-5; it is hard to find a part-time position that is weekend or evening-only at times that fit my current schedule.
Approximately how many interviews have you gone on?
Just one, for a weekend position. When I have inquired library directors for other part-time positions for feedback on my application, I was bluntly informed that they automatically threw out anyone with an MLIS as they are “overqualified” for part-time jobs.
How do you prepare for interviews?
I re-read my application, familiarize myself with the library and its demographic, and come up with some questions I would like to ask the interviewers about the position and the library itself.
Have you traveled for interviews? If so, who paid?
Not anywhere out of state since I found my current job.
Have you declined any offers?
No, I have not.
What do you think is the biggest obstacle in your job hunt? How are you working to overcome it?
Probably my current schedule and the fact that the people with MLIS degrees are not taken seriously when applying for part-time jobs!
Have there been any major changes in your job hunting strategy? Are you doing anything differently than from when we last heard from you?
The biggest change is that I am focusing on positions that are closer to me. I want to settle down in my current area for a while, so I don’t have to move away. I am lucky that I have a job and the luxury of taking my time searching for a part-time position that fits my personality and schedule.
State of the Job Market
What’s the most ridiculous thing you’ve seen on a job announcement?
Before I found my current position, I remember being taken aback looking at a librarian advertisement for a fairly normal position that had a mandatory qualification that the candidate must be fluent in both Brazilian and Russian. That seemed so ridiculously specific that I was certain that they must have already had someone in mind.
What was your favorite interview question? What was the worst?
Interviews are always stressful, so I can’t say that I have ever had a favorite one. The worst, though, was before I found my current job. The president of this company asked me how I would estimate how much a plane would weigh if it were filled with elephants and I had no access to any outside information, technology, and couldn’t ask anyone for help. My brain completely locked and I remember trying to stammer my way through the question while he stared at me coldly.
Any good horror stories for us?
I remember that one company I interviewed with (before my current job) had me interview with the HR director twice, the Vice President, two different managers for two different positions they were considering me for, then the President, then they gave me two tests to do, then I didn’t hear anything from them for 4 months. I finally reached the HR director after CCing one of the managers I had interviewed with (the director had ignored every communication from me for 4 months), as they had promised to pay me back for the gas expense of traveling to their headquarters, and then she told me that they wanted to see my math scores from my SAT back in high school to consider me for a different, third position. I said, “Seriously? No.”
Has job hunting been a positive or negative experience, for the most part?
In this economy I would say it is incredibly negative. I stand by what I said in my earlier interview regarding the years of experience – I seem to be caught between a rock and a hard place of being tossed out for being “overqualified” with an MLIS or ignored because I don’t have 5+ years of librarianship field experience. I am fortunate that I have a good job now. I thank my lucky stars every day for it.
Would you change your answer to “what’s the secret to getting hired”?
Unfortunately, I have to say it is who you know.
Anything else you want to tell us?
In the words of Jason Nesmith: “Never give up! Never surrender.”
If you took the Job Hunter’s Survey some time in the last year and are interested in doing a follow-up, even anonymously, please contact me at hiringlibrarians AT gmail.