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 More than 18 months. This person is looking in Academic libraries, Archives, Library vendors/service providers, Public libraries, and Special libraries, at the following level: Entry level. This new grad/entry level applicant has internship/volunteering experience
I completed a research internship doing psychological research for 4 months. I spent 4 years doing toastmasters. I founded and was president of a group that did mental health promotion and created scholarships for people with mental illness. I did job shadowing in an emergency department for 4 months. I spent 3 years doing campus late night escort and crime watch volunteering. I taught science to elementary students for 4 months. I volunteered at an art gallery for 3 years.
This job hunter is in an urban area, in the Canada and is willing to move anywhere.
What are the top three things you’re looking for in a job?
I have five, and don’t think I can really summarize it in 3.
1) Challenging/Fulfilling work environment – I get bored very easily and need to work in a job where I’m constantly challenged, engaged, presented with new tasks, and given the ability to evolve. I don’t like easy work, sounds weird, but boredom is the death of me, as is sitting around doing nothing. It would also be a positive if there is time allocated for professional development.
2) Facilities/degree of development of facilities – I prefer to work with some of the newest and latest technology available. This preference goes hand in hand with my desire for challenging and fulfilling work. I always am reading or interested in learning about new developments, and think the job should be just as much a place to engage with new developments and technology as reading about them in an academic journal. I don’t like to work in antiquated facilities.
3) People – I really need to work with people who are friendly, enthusiastic, and for lack of a better word, really top of the line at what they do. I find people who are pessimistic, don’t try at their job, or who aren’t engaged in their profession to be very frustrating. These sort of people create a culture where “getting paid to do as little as possible is revered, which I think is often grounded in the perception that what you get out of a job is completely commensurate with the proportion of work you have to do per dollar you own. I may be biased in a way, but I do not like laziness, nor do I like it when people are doing something they are uninterested in, or dislike. I am not judging these type of people, but it’s contrary to my personality and to the atmosphere I feel most comfortable with in a job setting. For that reason, I find it preferable to work with enthusiastic, friendly people.
4) Travel – I like to travel, very simply. I would prefer a job where I wouldn’t have to come to the same place every day for the whole year. This includes going to meetings, going to presentation, professional development within a city, but getting to work in a dynamic environment. Basically, I like variety.
5) Money and benefits – Very straight forward.
Where do you look for open positions?
I tend to look for jobs via group LinkedIn groups or job postings. I’ve also gone to my alma mater’s job postings on their online career services. I tend to visit government websites as well, as they generally hire for a wide variety of skills, and I’m usually qualified for a subset of those jobs. The government of Canada is another great resource. For some positions, I ask friends directly about positions in their industry. I’ll often go to professional networking events as well, including local business and young professionals networking dinners. I also enjoy going to toastmasters, as you get a chance to showcase, personally and in an intimate setting, your skills. In addition you get to personally know potential employers or partners, or investors in a personal business.
Do you expect to see salary range listed in a job ad?
√ Other: Yes, creates transparency, and lays out employer and employee expectations, so as not to effect other aspects of the hiring process.
What’s your routine for preparing an application packet? How much time do you spend on it?
When I apply for a new job, I usually spend some time reading the companies website. Some of the things I look for are what projects the company is engaged in, the various locations the company may be operating in as I’m interested in travel or working in different locations. Another important thing I do is to get different views of the company by reading some web sites of the companies subsidiaries or alternative websites geared to a different population (business partners rather than the general public.)
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?
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
√ Being taken out to meal
√ 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?
Post in depth descriptions of what they are looking for. I find many job postings are far too vague; many people possess similar or tangental skills but may have a slightly different degree or background. This lack of detail makes it difficult for people to know whether to apply or not, and what experiences they should include in their cover letter. It also makes the companies endeavors more vague, as it is far easier to extrapolate company culture. From detailed job responsibilities, skill requirements, etc. While at times, difficult, it would be nice to have employee accounts of company culture, or to have a couple of employees to talk to before an interview. Clearly stating on the application website that this is standard may increase the sense of trust, and certainty of correct fit for potential applicants.
What should employers do to make the hiring process less painful?
Transparency is absolutely the biggest thing. Clear job expectations, and additional skills or training required to perform the job and any further responsibilities that may arise in the shorter term trajectory of a tenure with the company.
The preferable geographic locations of the work, and if there is any flexibility both in terms of geographic location as well as directly related to the workplace, things like ability to work from home, teleconferencing, the amount of travel required. This information may be helpful for a number of reasons; for example, if you are able to work from home, you may be able to do another job, as long as it doesn’t conflict with your work performance with the job you are applying for.
An understanding of the hiring process, even superficially explained, would be nice, in order to understand the process and to make appropriate decision in relation to our knowledge of how the process is playing out in our own individual situation. This is helpful for many reasons: planning personal events during the hiring process or whether to continue other work during the process.
What do you think is the secret to getting hired?
Putting an effort in to really understand the company. Many of the behaviors and research into knowing whether a company is right for you, in terms of logistics, financial remuneration, work/life balance, company culture, nature of the work, etc. If you put in a great deal of effort to attain this information you will not only do a favor to yourself by making sure you find a job that is the right fit for you, but you will also show potential employers that you are interested and enthusiastic about their company. While skill is certainly an advantage in any situation, life is all about adapting and continually learning. One of the best attributes in my mind is an employee who is able to continually learn, put in the effort to stay at the top of their discipline. Many of these characteristics lead to a multi-disciplinary skill set that can be adapted to many different positions, and remain a valuable asset adapting to the changing requirements for the position they are initially hired for.
If you put this effort in, it is often flagrantly obvious to potential employers. The level of detail in the cover letter, the tailored CV which not only outlines strengths critical for the position and company at hand, but discusses many of the roles of the company, in terms of the roles and responsibilities, in addition to addressing, as I said earlier, how they fit those responsibilities. Finally, by attaining a depth of knowledge about the company before applying, you will, in your cover letter and CV, as I mentioned earlier, will be able to put the direct work responsibilities and your suitability for them in the context of the greater company picture. This shows ambition, and a keenness to adapt to a number of roles in the company, as well as work with people in other departments, divisions, and other members of a team which may have different skills.
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!