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?
√ A year to 18 months
Why are you job hunting?
√ I’m unemployed
√ I’ve been threatened at my job or had to deal with hostility/danger/scary behavior from the public or coworkers
√ Because I reassessed my priorities after COVID
Where do you look for open positions?
What position level are you looking for?
√ Requiring at least two years of experience
What type(s) of organization are you looking in?
√ 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?
What are the top three things you’re looking for in a job?
Non-dysfunctional work culture, reasonable hours, non-public facing
How many jobs have you applied to during your current search? (Please indicate if it’s an estimate or exact)
Just starting to look
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
√ Funding professional development
√ Prioritizing EDI work
√ 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?
# of jobs open at one time; reputation of leadership; complexity of application
How much time do you spend preparing an application packet?
Usually an hour or more
What are the steps you follow to prepare an application packet?
Read the job listing several times; tailor my cover letter; check to make sure everything is addressed correctly; follow application directions
How do you prefer to communicate with potential employers?
√ Phone for good news, email for bad news
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?
Two to three months
How do you prepare for interviews?
Follow guidance from Ask a Manager and practice responding to common interview questions out loud.
What are your most hated interview questions, and why?
Why are you here today (yes, I have been asked this at second interviews) ? Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
During your current search, have you had any of the following experiences:
- Submitted an application and got no response √ Happened more than once
- 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 √ Not Applicable
- 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?
Yes. Interviewer told me the work culture was terrible. Another interviewer said I would be responsible for turning the organization around, and this was not an executive position. A third asked me to do a strategic plan for them for free, and when I arrived for the interview the HR person told me I was not qualified for the job I had applied for. She wanted me to interview for a different job I had zero interest in.
If you’ve turned down an offer (or offers), why?
I secured another job that was a better fit.
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:
After withdrawing an application from the position where the interviewer told me the work culture was terrible, he wrote me an email telling me I was unqualified for the position and would never be hired by anyone. He was fired some months later.
What should employers do to make the hiring process better for job hunters?
Communicate with applicants even if they don’t get the job so they know to move on.
You and Your Well-Being
How are you doing, generally?
√ I’m maintaining
What are your job search self-care strategies?
Do you have any advice or words of support you’d like to share with other job hunters, is there anything you’d like to say to employers, or is there anything else you’d like to say about job hunting?
Have someone look over your resume and cover letter. Use Ask a Manager. Network. Practice interview questions so you are super prepared. Don’t ever be late for an interview. Follow the directions on how to submit your application. And don’t call unless you’ve been invited for an interview. Never go to a place where you have applied and start questioning staff about the job and application process: it’s weird and makes folks stand out in a bad way. Ok to visit and look around.
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?)
When did you start your first job search for a “professional” position (or other position that utilized your degree)?
√ Six months before graduating with my MLIS/other LIS degree
In relation to your graduation, when did you find your first “professional” position?
√ Less than six months after graduating
What kind of work was your first post-graduation professional position?
√ Part Time
Did you get support from your library school for your first job hunt (and/or any subsequent ones)?
Some. Access to their job board and some networking.