don’t make minority candidates hunt for information on whether or not we’re welcome

Wulf Roby is an indigenous leader with a background in a diverse range of disciplines including public speaking and community engagement. They currently serve as the Communications Coordinator for the State Library of Kansas after having completed an MS in Organizational Leadership in late 2020. Their passions include literacy, equity and advocacy for marginalized communities, including black, brown and indigenous rights, transgender and queer rights, and protections for people with disabilities.

After a job search of more than 18 months, they were hired just two months ago. Although written in present tense, they are no longer looking for work. 

Your Demographics and Search Parameters

How long have you been job hunting?

√ More than 18 months 

Why are you job hunting?  

√ I’ve been threatened at my job or had to deal with hostility/danger/scary behavior from the public or coworkers 

Where do you look for open positions?  

linkedin, listservs, indeed and other job sites

What position level are you looking for?  

√ Other: communications/marketing/adult education

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

√ Public library 

√ Special library 

What part of the world are you in?

√ Midwestern US 

What’s your region like? 

√ Urban area 

Are you willing/able to move for employment? 

√ Other: i did move, from a rural area to an urban location in another state

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

ethics, challenging, making a difference

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

over 500

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

√ Introducing me to staff

√ 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?

saying the staff is like family, “unlimited pto” any language implying that there are “must dos” or “must haves” or where the recruiter/hiring manager talks down about the person who vacated the position/other staff

The Process

How much time do you spend preparing an application packet?

30 minutes to several hours

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

resume tailoring, cover letter if required, writing or work samples, I generally gather everything required and put it all together in one pdf in the order of the ask list. 

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 an organization’s application process to take, from the point you submit your documents to the point of either an offer or rejection?

non government: 1-2 weeks; government: up to 8 weeks

How do you prepare for interviews?

I research the company, and if possible, whoever is interviewing me

What are your most hated interview questions, and why?

i’m not a fan of “behavioral” questions or cheeky/puzzle questions. i’m here about a job in which i have particular expertise. 

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 more than once 
  • Interviewed for a job where an internal candidate was eventually chosen  √ Happened more than once
  • Asked for an accommodation for a disability  √ Happened more than once 
  • Withdrawn an application before the offer stage  √ Happened more than once 
  • Turned down an offer √ Happened more than once 

If you have ever withdrawn an application, why?

In one case, it was because a friend also applied for the job, and it was unlikely she would be hired if i were in the pool (rural area, she was hired after i withdrew); other times it has been because i found out someone i couldn’t tolerate worked at the location or discovered something unsavory about the agency

If you’ve turned down an offer (or offers), why?

refusal to use correct name/pronouns for me; low ball on salary; offered a lesser position when leadership + staff were both available

If you’ve asked for an accommodation, what happened?

usually people are okay with captions for zoom calls, it makes sense: background noise and the like makes things difficult. i have had issues asking for leeway on “assignments” even with the caveat that while i ask for extra time, i rarely actually use it

If you want to share a great, inspirational, funny,  horrific or other story about an experience you have had at any stage in the hiring process, please do so here:

during the probationary period for a state position, co-workers “discovered” that i’m transgender. it’s not a secret. they posted photos of me, my car, and my house on social media, and complained to leadership about which bathroom i used at the office. needless to say we did not part ways amicably

What should employers do to make the hiring process better for job hunters?

make things transparent. don’t make minority candidates hunt for information on whether or not we’re welcome. make it obvious. salary/salary range. always, no exceptions. don’t take forever. or if your agency makes the process lengthy, TELL US. otherwise you get to the start date with no employee because you made an offer and then didn’t tell us how things would go down. also, the best interviews have been the ones where someone on staff called ahead and gave me a person to ask questions of, get parking and accessibility info from, etc. do that. 

You and Your Well-Being

How are you doing, generally?

√ I’m maintaining 

√ Other: i actually recently accepted a new position

What are your job search self-care strategies?

take breaks, log off. make time for fun things.  

Job Hunting Post Graduate School 

If you have an MLIS or other graduate level degree in a LIS field, what year did you graduate? (Or what year do you anticipate graduating?)

does organizational leadership count? if so, 2020

When did you start your first job search for a “professional” position (or other position that utilized your degree)?

√ Less than six months before graduating with my MLIS/other LIS degree, but still before I graduated 

In relation to your graduation, when did you find your first “professional” position?

√ I was actually hired before I graduated 

What kind of work was your first post-graduation professional position? 

√ Part Time

√ Contract 

Did you get support from your library school for your first job hunt (and/or any subsequent ones)?


Is there anything else you’d like to tell us about searching for or finding your first post-graduation position?

nonprofits are great, but the pay is not; same goes for schools. i think we all know that, but it bears repeating. also: remote work and consulting are great ways to get some experience in and network!


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Filed under 2023 Job Hunter's Survey

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