For an academic library position I’d expect the full treatment

Ptarmagin HunterThis 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 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 new grad/entry level applicant has internship/volunteering experience:

– Two student committee executive positions
– Internship at a government library
– Database management practicum at a university

This job hunter is in a city/town, in Canada, and is willing to move to other Canadian cities.

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

– Collegial atmosphere
– Challenging work
– Urban location

Where do you look for open positions?

– The Partnership Jobsite
– Archives Gig
– Personal & professional networks

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

√ Only for certain kinds of employers

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

I write down a list of every skill and attribute mentioned in the job ad. Then I match each skill and attribute to an experience from my resume. I use this list to build my resume and cover letter.

This process probably takes me about 1-3 hours depending on how easily transferable my skills are. Then I let the package sit for at least 24 hours before I edit it and send it off.

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)?

√ Other: It depends on the job. For an academic library position I’d expect the full treatment. For a position in a smaller office where I’m being interviewed directly by the supervisor, the interview alone would be sufficient.

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

Offer a great job and be great place to work! Really, I don’t think employers have to work too hard to get highly-qualified applicants in this market. Nevertheless, it doesn’t hurt to have a job ad that clearly states and prioritizes the duties and requirements, includes a salary range, and provides a firm deadline for applications.

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

1. Communicate, communicate, communicate
2. Don’t ask for reference letters at the application stage. I’m not going to take up a reference’s time unless I know I at least have a chance at getting the job.

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?


Just about every single open library positions gets plenty of excellent applicants. I assume that everyone who gets an interview is more or less equally qualified for the job, so I think the final decision comes down to who the interviewers think will work best with their coworkers and supervisors.

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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Filed under Academic, Archives, Canada, Job hunter's survey, Special

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