This 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, Public libraries, also nonprofits focused on literacy or education development, at the following levels: Requiring at least two years of experience, Supervisory, and Other: anything that seems to match with my skill level . This job hunter is in a city/town in the Northeastern US and is willing to move anywhere.
What are the top three things you’re looking for in a job?
1. Significant amount of responsibility commensurate with my experience. The chance to expand my knowledge of the field. An opportunity to help people.
2. Healthy, supportive work environment. Good interactions and collaboration between coworkers, managers, supervisors, etc.
3. Salary commensurate with my experience.
Where do you look for open positions?
individual websites of potential employers
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?
The time spent on the application packet depends on the job and what they request. Typical time spent is an hour to an hour and a half tweaking my resume and cover letter. Time is also used to research the potential employer. More time is spent if it is a position that requires me to fill out a standardized application in addition to submitting resume, cover letter, and other supporting materials.
Have you ever stretched the truth, exaggerated, or lied on your resume, or at some other point during the hiring process?
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
√ Other: If the job announcement has been cancelled
How do you prefer to communicate with potential employers?
Which events during the interview/visit are most important to your assessment of the position (i.e. deciding if you want the job)?
√ Meeting department members/potential co-workers
√ Meeting with HR to talk about benefits/salary
What do you think employers should do to get the best candidates to apply?
-Be upfront and realistic with job requirements and expectations. It’s discouraging and confusing when I see a long list of advanced job requirements especially for entry level jobs or jobs with low salary. It’s especially confusing when the advanced job requirements don’t seem to match up with the job duties.
-Accurately describe the duties of the position in the job announcement. Along the same lines as my job requirements comment above.
-Provide salary information and work schedule information (part-time, full-time, evening hours, normal 9-5, etc) in the job announcement. Applicants need to know if we can survive off the salary and make it to our shifts. Better to know before wasting our time or the time of employers.
-Look for qualities that a candidate may have acquired/displayed in non-library jobs to fulfill the expectations. I am constantly in awe after talking with many unemployed aspiring librarians after hearing their accomplishments in other fields, volunteer positions, and internships. It’s sad that many employers don’t seem to explore this further but are only concerned with the standard “how many years have you worked as a librarian” question.
What should employers do to make the hiring process less painful?
-Communication and respect! Understand that a lot of time and effort is spent searching and applying for jobs. I’ve had many startling stories from my job search process. Numerous times I’ve had a phone or in-person interviews scheduled and had it cancelled because the hiring manager forgot it was a certain day or time. And then I was subsequently taken out of consideration because I was unable to schedule for later that day. Employers should understand that some of us have full-time or part-time jobs, families, other obligations while in the process of searching for a new position and to show at least some respect towards applicants.
-Please read my resume before the interview. There was an instance where a library committee admitted to me that they hadn’t had the chance to read my resume before the interview and did not present any reason for this. Didn’t make me feel good as I had spent hours on my resume, researching the library, the community, and preparing for the interview.
-State in the job announcement if you are willing to do interviews via phone or Skype. Or if you are solely looking to hire from in-person interviews.
-This is probably an institution requirement, but don’t require an applicant to submit the same information multiple times. I have had to complete a long standardized application through the employer website, then email a resume, and then when I came in for the interview I had to submit a handwritten version of the same standardized application that I did the first time.
-Smile! Applicants want to see people who enjoy their jobs just as much as you want to see energetic and eager applicants. Just the amount of people I have witnessed who seem miserable and the number of hiring managers who complain about current or recent employees makes me terrified for this profession. Smile guys, everything’s going to be ok.
What do you think is the secret to getting hired?
-Persistence (maybe? hopefully.)
-Networking or already working within the organization
-Proximity (Although I hear it recommended by several in the field that you have to be willing to relocate, which I am more than willing, I’ve also been passed up for positions and told by the hiring manager or committee that the deciding factor was that the person they hired was already in the area and wouldn’t need to move. Ouch.).
Do you have any comments, or are there any other questions you think we should add to this survey?
Maybe interview questions that applicants feel they answered well, or interview questions that stumped them.
Interesting ways that applicants stay current or get library-related experience while unemployed or employed in other fields.
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! http://tinyurl.com/hiringlibJOBHUNTERsurvey
This survey was co-authored by Naomi House from I Need A Library Job – Do you need one? Check it out!