The open ended question is designed to give lots of room for the interviewee to answer, but doesn’t provide any indication of the information the employer is looking for

Hunter and Daughter before Sunset Waiting for a Deer...National Archives at College Park via Flickr commons
Hunter and Daughter before Sunset Waiting for a Deer…National Archives at College Park via Flickr commons

Please note: this is an anonymous response to an online survey; I do not have any way of contacting the respondent or verifying responses. Their answers may reflect good, bad, or middling job searching practices. I invite you to take what’s useful and leave the rest.

Your Demographics and Search Parameters

How long have you been job hunting?

√ Six months to a year 

Why are you job hunting?  

√ This is the next step after finishing library/archives/other LIS graduate degree 

√ I’m employed outside of the field and I’d like to be in it 

Where do you look for open positions?  

ArchivesGig, ALA, INALJ, Indeed, ZipRecruiter 

What position level are you looking for?  

√ Entry level

√ Requiring at least two years of experience 

What type(s) of organization are you looking in? 

√ Archives 

What part of the world are you in?

√ Southeastern US 

What’s your region like? 

√ Urban area

√ Suburban area 

Are you willing/able to move for employment? 

√ Yes, within my country  

How many jobs have you applied to during your current search? (Please indicate if it’s an estimate or exact)

~200+ (estimated, since finishing my MA in 2021) 

What steps, actions, or attributes are most important for employers to take to sell you on the job?  

√ Pay well

√ Having (and describing) excellent benefits

√ Having a good reputation 

√ Prioritizing work-life balance 

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

√ Yes, and it’s a red flag when it’s not 

Other than not listing a salary range, are there other “red flags” that would prevent you from applying to a job?

 Filling too many roles for one employee at the institution

The Process

How much time do you spend preparing an application packet?

30ish minutes (on average) 

What are the steps you follow to prepare an application packet?

Tailor my resume (if necessary), draft/edit a cover letter and references (if required), review all my materials, attach to application and complete any other application steps 

How do you prefer to communicate with potential employers?

√ Email 

When would you like potential employers to contact you? 

√ To acknowledge my application

√ To tell me if the search is at the interview stage, even if I have not been selected

√ Once the position has been filled, even if it’s not me 

How long do you expect the application process to take, from the point you submit your documents to the point of either an offer or rejection?

~3 months 

How do you prepare for interviews?

If the employer offers sample questions, I prep those. If not, I have a list of standard archives interview questions I prep for

What are your most hated interview questions, and why?

“Tell me about yourself” – the open ended question is designed to give lots of room for the interviewee to answer, but doesn’t provide any indication of the information the employer is looking for 

During your current search, have you had any of the following experiences:

  • Submitted an application and got no response  √ Happened the majority of the time or always  
  • Had an interview and never heard back  √ Happened once  
  • Interviewed for a job where an internal candidate was eventually chosen  √ Happened more than once  
  • Asked for an accommodation for a disability  √ Not Applicable
  • Withdrawn an application before the offer stage  w √ Not Applicable
  • Turned down an offer √ Not Applicable

You and Your Well-Being

How are you doing, generally?

√ I’m optimistic 

√ I’m frustrated 

√ I feel alone in my search 


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Filed under 2023 Job Hunter's Survey

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