if you are paying less than say, $50,000 for a full time librarian position

Geraldine Fain Browses in the Free LibraryThis anonymous interview is with a job hunter who is not 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, Archives and Special libraries, at the following levels: Entry level, Requiring at least two years of experience, Supervisory. This new grad/entry level applicant has internship/volunteering experience:

I’ve had two longer archives internships. I processed materials in both but one required me to do everything independently. I have volunteered and was part of the advisory board for a library professional organization in a major city and recently began volunteering with a regional archives organization.

This job hunter is in an urban area in the Northeastern US, and is willing to move anywhere.

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

 Competitive pay in a (personally) desirable geographical
A healthy, pleasant, open work environment
A measure of autonomy and room to take risks

Where do you look for open positions?

Various professional listservs, Joblist, INALJ, Indeed.com, organization HR websites

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 day to 1 week depending on deadlines and job. If I am really interested in the position the longer I may take. In those instances I will have a couple of people review my letter. However, I always take at least 1 day. As a general rule I will write a letter, then leave it overnight and return the next day to revise before sending.

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
√ 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

√ Meeting with HR to talk about benefits/salary

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

Be clear and realistic in expectations. If you are not willing to hire recent grads or people with only internship experience, it would be nice to know up front. Also, if you are paying less than say, $50,000 for a full time librarian position or requiring and MLS for a part time position that’s paying under $18-$20/hour, and requiring a laundry list of qualifications to be filled and duties to undertake, you might need to rethink what you’re bringing to the table and who you are willing and able to hire/attract for such positions. Certainly there are constraints and what you need in a place like NYC or Chicago might not be the same in South Carolina or Montana for instance.

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

Being very clear in job descriptions by doing things such as providing deadlines for submission, review, and projected job start dates. Clarity in all details related to job descriptions is important. Beyond that I don’t know, overall it’s just a terrible experience.

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

I don’t know. I have been searching for the past eight months since graduating. I am someone with lots of relevant and transferable experience in addition to library training, a Master’s degree in another field, language experience, internships, experience volunteering with LIS professional organizations, etc. and I’ve had only two interviews. Only one was particularly relevant and though I made it to the list of final candidates I still didn’t get the job.

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, Archives, Job hunter's survey, MLIS Students, Northeastern US, Special, Urban area

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