This post originally appeared on January 8, 2014. A year two follow up will post shortly.
Sarah Brown completed the original survey on January 4, 2013. Her responses appeared earlier today as If you let us know up front, you’ll get quality applicants that you can afford.
How long has it been since you got your library degree?
It will be 2 years as of December 17, 2013
How many years of library work experience do you have?
FT professional: 1 year, 8 months. If you include my internship and volunteer experience (some which was part time) I’ve been working in libraries for 2 years, 10 months.
How many years of work experience outside of libraries do you have?
8 ½. I got my first job at 16 and have been working ever since.
How old are you?
Your Job Hunt
How long did it take you before you found your job?
I looked pretty continually for about 1 ½ years.
How many positions did you apply to?
I’m unsure. I would estimate in the 80-100 range.
How many interviews did you go on?
5 phone, 2 Skpye, 6 in-person (for 7 positions)
What was your work situation while you were job hunting?
In the 1 ½ years it took me to find this position, I was many of these at some point. I started the job search 2 months before I graduated. After I graduated, I was working part-time. I found full-time employment (that I knew wasn’t right for me, but I was broke) and continued the search.
Were you volunteering anywhere?
During the first 6 months, yes. After I started working FT, no.
Did you travel for interviews? If so, who paid?
Yes. I did for 2 in-state positions. They did for 1 out-of-state position.
Did you decline any offers?
What’s your new job?
Reference and Adult Programming Librarian
Is your job full or part time? Permanent or temporary?
Did you relocate? If so, who paid?
Yes. I did.
How did you find the listing for your job?
Did you meet all of the required qualifications? How many of the desired qualifications?
Yes. Only 1 desired qualification – I did not meet it.
What was the application process like? How many interviews did you do?
Because it is a county position, there were many forms to fill out. I did two interviews – 1 phone, 1 in-person.
How did you prepare for the interview(s)?
Read over job description and my application I submitted. Researched library system and county on web.
Did you know anyone in the organization that hired you? If so, how?
The library system I work for is a department of the county. I did not know anyone in the library system, but I have two in-laws in other departments. Their departments are in no way related to the library and they were not involved in the hiring process. I did have to disclose that I was related to them during the initial application.
Is your job commensurate with your skills, experience and expectations?
The job is commensurate with my years of experience and what I expected of this position. It unfortunately does not give me a chance to utilize and grow my instruction and supervisory skills, of which I have 1 ½ years of experience in a library setting.
Is the pay scale higher or lower than you were looking for?
It is at the low end of what I could accept.
What do you think was the biggest obstacle in your job hunt? How did you overcome it?
Myself and my unrealistic expectations. Coming to grips with the fact that my dream jobs and dream employers had A LOT of applicants for open positions was hard. As someone just starting my career, I could not compete with more established librarians for these coveted positions. I had to realize that if my second job out of grad school isn’t my dream job in my choice location, that’s ok. I decided to apply to some organizations that are large enough to give me an opportunity have mentors and (hopefully) earn a promotion or two in the next 5ish years. Then I plan to revisit my dream jobs as a more qualified applicant.
What set you apart from the other applicants? Why did they hire you?
I actually have no idea. My 6 month review is coming up though, so I’ll ask.
State of the Job Market
What’s the most ridiculous thing you’ve seen on a job announcement?
I saw a full time professional position in Manhattan (NYC, not Kansas) with a $30k salary listed about a year ago. This equates to less than $15/hr – what NYC fast food workers say they need as a minimum wage.
What was your favorite interview question? What was the worst?
Favorite: a very blunt, “Why should I hire you?”
Worst: “If I asked your last supervisor, what would s/he say you need to improve?” (I hate this one because you either have to sound conceited and say “nothing to improve”, or try to be self-depreciating and find a flaw that’s not a flaw to expound upon.)
Any good horror stories for us?
I received a form email from a government agency informing me I was disqualified for a position I had applied to because I didn’t have the required degree (MLS/ MLIS). I did have the degree. When I emailed to find out if this email was sent mistakenly, as my unofficial graduate transcript showing MLIS and date awarded was submitted with the application, they said HR couldn’t find the statement of degree awarded on it. Even though I walked HR through and showed them exactly where it did indeed give them that information, I was not able to be moved to the eligible pool of applicants, as no one had the authority to reverse the original disqualification. Ah, bureaucracy….
Has job hunting been a positive or negative experience, for the most part?
Would you change your answer to “what’s the secret to getting hired”?
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.