Truth be told, I haven’t found the hiring process to be that painful

Hunting with Texas Jim Mitchell and friends in the Florida EvergladesThis anonymous interview is with a job hunter who is currently employed (even if part-time or in an unrelated field), and has been looking for a new position for less than six months. This person is looking in academic law libraries at the supervisory or department head level. Here is this person’s experience with internships/volunteering:

I worked as an undergraduate student worker in the library, then worked five years as a library assistant before starting my MLIS program, continued to work full time while in school and did a summer internship in a federal court library.

This job hunter is in an urban area in the Western US.

What are the top three things you’re looking for in a job?

Some level of decision making authority, opportunities for creativity, and a supportive work environment.

Where do you look for open positions?

ALA Joblist, professional listservs (ALA, AALL, SLA) and special interest section listservs, I also have people in my network keeping an eye out – it’s amazing how many positions “fly under the radar”.

Do you expect to see salary range listed in a job ad?

√ No (even if I might think it *should* be)

What’s your routine for preparing an application packet? How much time do you spend on it?

3-4 hours over the course of 4-5 days, longer if I need reference letters. I usually start by combing the job application to get a sense of what they’re looking for, then I make a bulleted list of where my experience matches up, what I may be lacking, and what I add. I use that as my outline to both tailor my resume and draft my cover letter. I usually have one or two people look over my entire packet before asking for references, and finally submitting my application.

Have you ever stretched the truth, exaggerated, or lied on your resume, or at some other point during the hiring process?

√ No

When would you like employers to contact you?

√ To tell me if I have or have not been selected to move on to the interview stage
√ Once the position has been filled, even if it’s not me

How do you prefer to communicate with potential employers?

√ Other: Anything. Doesn’t matter.

Which events during the interview/visit are most important to your assessment of the position (i.e. deciding if you want the job)?

√ Tour of facility
√ Meeting department members/potential co-workers

What do you think employers should do to get the best candidates to apply?

One of the best interviews I had was one where the interviewer was totally straightforward, completely transparent, and directly stated what they were looking for. I think it’s when there’s confusion about what the candidate is expected to know or do that interviewees feel compelled to stretch the truth, or inflate their skill set. Also, if the employers are clear about what they want then it’s easier for the candidate to know if that’s a place they want to work at.

What should employers do to make the hiring process less painful?

Truth be told, I haven’t found the hiring process to be that painful 🙂

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

I think the secret is twofold:

The first is being self-aware; that is, knowing what skills you have or don’t have (and how you plan on developing those), how you are as an employee/supervisor, what your goals are, AND being able to articulate all of those.

The second is being careful as to which jobs to apply for. I see my friends (new library school grads) applying for everything from library assistant to library director. I don’t see how a person qualified to be a library assistant is going to get a director job, or how a person qualified to be a library director is going to be considered for an assistant. Truthfully I think those friends are wasting their time because they are applying for jobs that they are either over- or under- qualified for. Whatever your background, skills, personality, and goals are, jobs that match those are the ones you have the best chance at getting.

Are you hunting for a new LIS job? Take the survey!

This survey was co-authored by Naomi House from I Need A Library Job – Do you need one? Check it out!

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Filed under Job hunter's survey, Urban area, Western US

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