This anonymous interview is with a job hunter who is currently employed (even if part-time or in an unrelated field), has 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 at the director/dean level.
This job hunter is in a rural area in the Southern US and is willing to move anywhere.
What are the top three things you’re looking for in a job?
Competitive pay, risk culture, challenge for my skill set.
Where do you look for open positions?
HigherEd has always been the best, but individual state job sites where available have been second best (include MPLA).
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?
1) Study background position / environment (example: look at cost of living in area compared to pay; look at any relatively recent visible capital improvements, analyze numbers in NCES, etc. etc.).
2) Customize cover and application to announcement.
Probably spend on average 3+ hours per application – although a lot of it is cut and paste anymore.
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 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
√ Other: meet boss, open forum, personality inventory, allow students on selection team, budget summary, annual report, more specific questions v. fewer generalities
What do you think employers should do to get the best candidates to apply?
1) Prepare, prepare, prepare – rarely are selection committees or potential [bosses] well prepared for the interview nor in many cases are they even cognizant of what the position does
2) Dispense with prejudices – most selectors have preconceived notions of who they are going to hire no matter what – a huge disservice to students. They also bring to the table an ill-conceived notion of what an “ideal” fantasy applicant is compared to someone grounded in experience and practicality..
3) Hire from outside – unless an internal candidate is “absolutely” capable of filling slot.
4) Pay well and adjust pay for experience, another strategy rarely used except maybe in the NBA or NFL offer one-time money-back relocation bonus or signing bonus contingent upon performance.
5) Pay for all interview travel costs
What should employers do to make the hiring process less painful?
1. Prepare, prepare, prepare
2. Do not let prejudices show
3. Communicate itineraries and any other important information to candidates as early in the process as possible (shows preparedness)
4. Designate one “guide” during process who is not necessarily someone who needs to be impressed
5. Do not seek perfection.
What do you think is the secret to getting hired?
After applying for about 30 professional jobs and hiring maybe 15 professionals during career – your guess is as good as mine. Some things that seem to help are: be an applicant within organization regardless of experience or ability, demographics (a big one), appearance, listening – often [selectors] seem to enjoy hearing themselves talk more than hearing the applicants – this is particularly true among upper level administrators, social skills (may be a big one), ability to mimic – feed their own words back to them, ability to lie effectively, GPA; being able to turn a blind eye to faults or issues;
Characteristics that seem to have less impact than one might think: humor, questions (never know when you might touch upon something sensitive), experience – or more importantly tough experience ie. conflict through no fault of own, a show of knowledge – which is slightly different than a show of confidence
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!