I’ve held more than one position where the requirements in the ad and what I do every day don’t resemble each other at all.

Student in the library, 1981This 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, Library vendors/service providers, and Special libraries, at the following levels: Requiring at least two years of experience, Supervisory, Department Head. This new grad/entry level applicant has internship/volunteering experience:

I had a brief internship in a library during undergrad. That said, I was hired into library positions because of my customer service background.

This job hunter is in an urban area in the Midwestern US, and is not willing to move anywhere.

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

Flexibility – I like to work on assignments outside my primary focus.

Professional development – no one likes to stagnate.

Evidence of positive work culture.

Where do you look for open positions?

Institutional websites
Various listservs

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

√ Other: Academic libraries seem to have little control over this

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

I find strategic plans, mission statements, and related documents online. I’ll typically cross check those against the CVs of librarians already employed with the institution. If there’s a significant disparity between the two, I stop the application.

I spend between 2-10 hours on the entire process, longer if the job is outside my primary specialization.

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?

√ Email

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
√ Meeting with HR to talk about benefits/salary
√ Being able to present

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

Many academic libraries claim “innovation” as a value but if your librarians aren’t reflecting this in their scholarly activity and service records, I’ll know its lip service.

It’s easy to tell when librarians are succeeding in spite of their institution, not because of its support. Repeated postings for the same position over several months is a huge red flag. In a job market this saturated, my guess would be the issue isn’t the applicant pool.

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

Actually think about what it is you need the position to do. This seems obvious but good Lord, some of these job ads. There’s a difference between needing an employee to be flexible and posting an ill-defined position. I’ve held more than one position where the requirements in the ad and what I do every day don’t resemble each other at all.

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

Fit and networking. You spend a massive chunk of your life at work. Make it somewhere you love.

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!

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

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