To paraphrase from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, “a vague description is nobody’s friend”!

Geraldine Fain Browses in the Free LibraryThis 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 Less than six months. This person is looking in Academic library, at the following levels: Requiring at least two years of experience, Senior Librarian. This job hunter is in a Rural area in the Northeastern US and is willing to move Anywhere.

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

1) Flexibility in terms of job duties. I want to be nimble and as helpful as possible at all times, not locked into a limited and tightly defined role where I have to pass student/faculty/patrons off to others.

2) Collaborative opportunities. I love finding unexpected connections and exploiting them to benefit my library and the institution as a whole.

3) Variety. Going along with the flexibility I listed above, I don’t like doing the same things every day. I like knowing what is going on, how pieces of the organization work together, and problem-solving at the point of need. It keeps me creative and passionate!

Where do you look for open positions? (e.g. ALA Joblist, professional listserv, LinkedIn)

I subscribe to several listservs. I check ALA’s Joblist every now and then, and also jobs posted in the Chronicle of Higher Education. Finally, I look at the state library associations/professional websites for a few specific areas of the country where I am most interested in working.

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?

First, I read the job ad closely and carefully. I think about how the job, as described, fits with the job I currently have, positions I’ve had in the past, and other positions I’ve applied for and not gotten. I have a file of cover letters I’ve previously written, and I pick through these for one that is appropriate/requires a minimal amount of tweaking to work. I make sure to change all names, job titles, and other relevant information, obviously. I keep my resume updated every couple months even when I’m not applying for a job, so that doesn’t change much. However, I make sure my cover letter speaks specifically to any points in the job ad that aren’t clearly addressed by my resume. The whole process, from the point I see a job ad to the time I apply….it probably takes me a few days of intermittent thinking and doing things.

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?(Please select all that apply)

• 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)?(Please check all that apply)

• Tour of facility
• Meeting department members/potential co-workers

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

This a tough question to answer! I suppose the “best candidate” for any position will apply if the job ad speaks to what they are passionate about – so be clear and honest about what the position entails and what is expected of applicants. To paraphrase from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, “a vague description is nobody’s friend”!

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

In the academic world, I know that there is a whole laundry list of committees and administrators that hiring decisions have to go through. Considering all of this, I wish employers would give a realistic timeline, and/or give candidates more frequent updates. I have applied for jobs, interviewed, and then heard nothing for over 2 months.

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

Be well-spoken, intelligent, attentive, be able to “read” your interviewers well and respond in ways that do more than answer their questions – for lack of a better phrase, you need to speak to THEM, not their question. Which sounds weird and impossible. But when you are the right person in the right place interviewing for the right job, it works.


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Filed under Academic, Job hunter's survey, Northeastern US, Rural area

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