Dina Schuldner took the Job Hunter’s survey on January 4, 2013.
Her responses appeared as The Renaissance Person.
How long has it been since you got your library degree?
Two and a half years
How many years of library work experience do you have?
How many years of work experience outside of libraries do you have?
How old are you?
Older than 30, younger than 50
Your Job Hunt
How long did it take you before you found your job?
2 and a half years
How many positions did you apply to?
How many interviews did you go on?
What was your work situation while you were job hunting?
Were you volunteering anywhere?
Did you travel for interviews? If so, who paid?
Did you decline any offers?
What’s your new job?
Full Time Permanent Young Adult and Children’s Librarian at the Gold Coast Public Library in Glen Head, NY
Is your job full or part time? Permanent or temporary?
I just passed probation!
Did you relocate? If so, who paid?
How did you find the listing for your job?
I received a canvas letter from the Civil Service Commission
Did you meet all of the required qualifications? How many of the desired qualifications?
What was the application process like? How many interviews did you do?
One interview, and one Storytime audition
How did you prepare for the interview(s)?
I went to my Children’s Librarian friends, asked for advice and borrowed some materials, did extensive research on publicized storytimes, selected my own favorite finger plays and dancing songs, and practiced my storytime 3 times at home, from start to finish. In classic teacher mode, I was over-prepared.
Did you know anyone in the organization that hired you? If so, how?
No, but the director knew my coworkers and directors from my other job, and my professors from school.
Is your job commensurate with your skills, experience and expectations?
Yes, because it requires a combination of skills I learned in 3 different library positions, and 2 different non-library positions.
Is the pay scale higher or lower than you were looking for?
What do you think was the biggest obstacle in your job hunt? How did you overcome it?
Because of the economy, libraries can’t afford to create additional full time positions with benefits, and older workers of retirement age aren’t retiring out of the existing positions. If people can get jobs, they have to work part time until something opens up.
What set you apart from the other applicants? Why did they hire you?
Firstly, I scored highly on the civil service exam. There are many people out there equally qualified as I am, but I scored higher on the list. others who have more library experience, but less education, had to find work outside of the area. Secondly, I love what I do & throw my heart and soul into it. I’m desirous of working in a harmonious workplace & will do my part to achieve that. Thirdly, to be frank, my husband supported me financially throughout the whole degree process, even when I was working 3 part time jobs and not earning enough money to pay back my student loans. His support allowed me to give all my attention to my positions, which made me very happy, because I could challenge myself with new tasks, build on my older skills, and create new skillsets which became advantageous to the libraries that employed me.
State of the Job Market
What’s the most ridiculous thing you’ve seen on a job announcement?
Nothing comes to mind; they’re all pretty boilerplate.
What was your favorite interview question? What was the worst?
My favorite interview question asked me something along the lines of how I would handle a situation where a coworker was not having a good day. It is my favorite because I had spent the previous two years building my interpersonal skills, and I had learned that what is most important in a working relationship is to recognize that everyone else wants to feel just as successful, impactful, and happy as I do, and sometimes situations prevent that from happening. Anyway, I learned to be super compassionate and forgiving, focusing on a person’s best attributes, because that could be a great way to build a strong relational foundation, which could work two ways to helping us both through the days that we wish could be better
The worst interview question was the worst only because of the way I answered it. I didn’t realize I possessed the skills required in the hypothetical case, and was told so by one of the interviewers after the interview, which was a kind thing to do, because it changed the way I answered interview questions then on.
Any good horror stories for us?
One of my library school professors is also a public library director. I was interviewing him one day for an assignment, and he got a call from his staff that something…”organic”…had been found in the drop box, again. That was my first introduction to the kinds of private things people do in public libraries!
Has job hunting been a positive or negative experience, for the most part?
Frustrating, mostly because of this student debt hanging over my head. If I hadn’t had retirement accounts to cash in from my other jobs, I wouldn’t have been able to stay the course in my part time jobs until a full-time librarian position opened up. I went so far as to get licenses to sell insurance, and was in insurance class the day i got the call for the interview.
Would you change your answer to “what’s the secret to getting hired”?
Yes, I would: the secret to getting hired is to build strong relationships in a wide network of professionals. in any profession, everybody knows everybody else, so the way you treat your connections today is the way people will assume you will treat them if they hired you. In other words: be kind, helpful, flexible, and forgiving, and you will be every employer’s dream hire.
Anything else you want to tell us?
Nobody works in a vacuum. I feel successful and impactful today because of the help I got from many library school professors, and the nurturing environment I had in my previous library positions. I am grateful for the help and support from others, and look forward to passing it along to others in the future.