Further Questions: Any tips for out-of-area applicants?

This week we asked people who hire librarians

Any tips for out-of-area applicants? How much does the geographic location of the applicant matter to you?

Laurie Phillips

This doesn’t really apply for us because we do national searches, pay for travel to interviews, and pay for moving expenses. We expect out-of-area applicants.

– Laurie Phillips, Associate Dean for Technical Services, J. Edgar & Louise S. Monroe Library, Loyola University New Orleans

angelynn kingAcademic job-seekers should be aware that while community colleges do hire out-of-area applicants, they typically do not pay for transportation or other incidentals. If you can get yourself here, we’ll be happy to meet you!

-Angelynn King, Head Librarian, Delaware Technical Community College, Owens Campus

Petra MauerhoffWhenever we list professional librarian positions, we expect that we will have to hire from “away”.

Our region is relatively small and primarily rural, and we pretty much know all the librarians around here.

With our most recent librarian hire (summer 2014) we were lucky to have a successful in-area candidate, who was working at the local post-secondary library and looking for a change. And by
“Lucky” I mean that it made the whole process more convenient, in terms of turn around time for the interview stages as well as relocation (or lack thereof).

For the two professional librarian hires before that one, we ended up hiring from out of region, in one case, from the other end of the country.

While considerations such as moving expenses and relocation time are certainly on our minds during the hiring process, our biggest concern is finding the best candidate for the position. To ensure the best fit we are definitely willing to forgo geographic considerations and incur additional expenses (for relocation) and wait a bit longer for the successful candidate to start the job.

– Petra Mauerhoff, CEO, Shortgrass Library System

I think this is a marvelous question, and it is highly relevant to the candidates that I often see when conducting searches for my libraries.  Two of the libraries I manage are in somewhat rural areas, so many of our candidates are from out of the area.  Naturally, our search committees will often wonder why the candidate is interested in pursuing a job in our area.  I think that the applicant should do some good research on the library at which they are applying (of course!), and then expressly state in their cover letter the reasons why the want to work at that library and why they are interested in moving to that location.  By being frank and upfront about this question, the applicant can help the search committee to understand their interest in the location of the job, which then allows the committee to turn its attention to the applicant’s qualifications and overall fit for the position.

– Elijah Scott, Director of Libraries, Georgia Highlands College

Celia RabinowitzIf we advertise nationally for a position then the current home of the applicant should not affect our evaluation of any candidate.  That said, if there is a highly qualified candidate who lives fairly close by it might mean having the option of adding a person to the list of on-campus interviews if it would mean not having to pay any travel costs beyond mileage (if it was a day trip for someone).  We try not to let factors like travel costs play a role in our process (and we always pay all travel and accommodation costs).

I think we have written about this before, but I recommend not indicating that you are willing to relocate.  If you are applying for the job, I assume you are really interested and that means relocating.  If you have a specific reason for wanting to relocate (new job for a partner, getting closer to family, etc.) I think it is fine to mention  that but be careful not to leave the impression that your only interest in the job is the location.  So don’t apologize for, or feel a need to explain, your current location.  I think geographic diversity is important.

– Celia Rabinowitz,  Dean of Mason Library at Keene State College in Keene, NH

Thank you as always to our contributors for their time and insight.  If you’re someone who hires librarians and are interested in participating in this feature, please email us at hiringlibrariansquestionsATgmail.com.

Thank YOU for reading!  If you liked reading, you’re going to really love COMMENTING.


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2 responses to “Further Questions: Any tips for out-of-area applicants?

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