Give the facts and only the facts

Hunting guide Mr. Brown with wild turkeys near Green Swamp, FloridaThis 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 Six months to a year. This person is looking in Academic libraries, at the following levels: Supervisory, Department Head. This new grad/entry level applicant has internship/volunteering experience:

I graduate in December, however I have a dozen years experience in academic libraries and 8 years as an Access Services department head.

This job hunter is in an urban area, in the  Southern US, and is willing to move anywhere.

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

1. A progressive work environment where innovation and new ideas are the norm.
2. A collaborative work culture. I love working independently but often library departments are siloed from one another, and do not share knowledge or support each other with staff/assistance. I prefer a culture where everyone understands we are all in this together and everyone brings valued skills.
3. Room to expand skills, education and job level.

Where do you look for open positions?

I run about 25 different sources into my Feedly account. It brings me at least 25 new jobs daily. It includes ALAJobList, HigherEdJobs, Library Journal, Indeed, and a lot of state specific job sites.

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?

It varies. My CV is my CV. I don’t tailor it for individual jobs, but I do tweak wordage when I see that language frequently on job ads. Tasks may have been done regularly, but terminology which describes those tasks changes regularly. It is important to keep up with the newest buzz words.

I have about 4 different cover letters which can I adapt for most jobs. That part requires the most preparation, however usually the whole process (CV and cover) takes about 30 to an hour for most jobs.

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

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

Be specific with your needs, but also be flexible enough to see outside the box. If a candidate has proven within their CV that the are adaptable and can learn on the job, don’t be afraid to take a chance. There are some skills from outside our industry which could easily be adapted to a library environment. Also, don’t exclude what appears to be the overly qualified individual. If they applied for the job, they know what type of a job it is. Hiring them might work out brilliantly for both parties involved.

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

Advertise the salary, even if it is a salary range. It is a waste of my time and yours, for us to go through a process only to find at the end that the pay is (and always will be) too low. I have already declined two jobs due to that. Few will be willing to move for a job which pays less than or equal to what they are being paid now.

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

A great resume and cover letter to get in the door. Then the ability to stay focused and not wander into too much personal information during the long, grueling, all day interviews in academic libraries. Be personable but not overly personal. “Give the facts and only the facts,” as my favorite boss always said.

Do you have any comments, or are there any other questions you think we should add to this survey?

I would love to see a compilation of all of your employer data, like the Theory vs Practice question. As someone who has worked in libraries for a long time, I have noticed that MLS grad often have little skill when coming in. It would be interesting to see what ranks higher – theory or practice. My choice would be practice. [Ed. Note: Compilation of data is provided under the category Stats and Graphs]

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!

Leave a comment

Filed under Academic, Job hunter's survey, Southern US, Urban area

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.