Secret to getting a phone interview = Knowing someone at a hiring institution or previous employment/internship with the institution, relevant work experience, excellent cover letter

ConDev5378A Hunting Dog, 1945, Washington County, NCThis anonymous interview is with a job hunter who has not been hired within the last two months, and has been looking for a new position for Less than six months. This person is looking in Academic libraries, Archives, and Special libraries, at the following levels: Entry level, Requiring at least two years of experience. This job hunter is in a city/town, in the Midwestern US, and is willing to move anywhere.

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

Full time, academic librarian position, and location

Where do you look for open positions?

I look at a few, but i check most often.

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?

I spend at least an thirty minutes exploring the institution’s website and the library’s website to get a feel for the school and also to help me personalize my cover letter. I then carefully read the job ad and connect desired qualifications to my experience. I often write cover letters over a couple days to allow for editing–in total I spend approximately 3-4 hours writing a cover letter.

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 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?

√ 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)?

√ Tour of facility
√ Meeting department members/potential co-workers
√ Meeting with HR to talk about benefits/salary
√ Being able to present
√ Other: Meeting with department directors, meeting with library director

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

Be specific when listing qualifications. Examples of how you define or expect employees to use “emerging technology” or “knowledge of internet” would be much more helpful than just listing vague, generic technology qualifications. Stay open to hiring new graduates, especially those with relevant internships or part-time work experiences before or during graduate school. Include a situational or behavioral question related to the job duties in the online application — this helps me get a better sense of what you are looking for in a candidate and allows me to connect my experience to your expectations more clearly.

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

Be open about the timeline for application review/interviewing and stick to deadlines, so we know what’s going on. Don’t require candidates to fill out a “past 10 years of work history” section in the online application. In the job ad, state if the applications are reviewed on a rolling basis from the posting date or if they are reviewed only after the application deadline. Always set a “priority given to applications received by” date rather than leaving the deadline open ended.

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

For recent graduates: Secret to getting a phone interview = Knowing someone at a hiring institution or previous employment/internship with the institution, relevant work experience, excellent cover letter. And a dash of luck! Secret to getting an in-person interview/getting hired = communication/soft skills, relevant work experiences, confidence, genuine enthusiasm for the position.

For some context, take a look at the most recently published summary of responses. 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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by | December 28, 2014 · 8:00 am

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