“You have to take breaks, especially if you are employed and looking.”

Hunting Giraffe, Kalahari.' Author of work: Lulu Farini. via National Archives
Hunting Giraffe, Kalahari.’ Author of work: Lulu Farini. via National Archives

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?  

√ Looking for more money 

√ I want to work at a different type of library/institution 

√ My current job is awful/toxic 

Where do you look for open positions?  

ALA Joblist CA/OR listservs

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? 

√ Academic library 

√ Public library 

√ Special library 

What part of the world are you in?

√ Western US (including Pacific Northwest) 

What’s your region like? 

√ Suburban area 

Are you willing/able to move for employment? 

√ Yes, within my country

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

Salary, benefits, flexibility (hours/responsibilities)

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

Estimate 10

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 

√ Prioritizing work-life balance

√ Other: Training / onboarding plan for first 90 days

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?

Too many responsibilities listed, weird statements about humor, smiling, or atmosphere. 

The Process

How much time do you spend preparing an application packet?

24-48 hours

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

Research institution & library. Check the coworkers publications/presentations. Think about what they need & what I can offer them. Update resume, write cover letter, begin filling out application, notify my references that I’m applying for the position 

How do you prefer to communicate with potential employers?

√ Phone 

When would you like potential employers to contact you? 

√ 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?

Anywhere from 1 month to 6 months

How do you prepare for interviews?

Do a mock interview with a friend. Select good stories to tell. Make sure to end on a strength.

What are your most hated interview questions, and why?

Tell us a joke – weird question to ask.

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  √ I don’t know  
  • Interviewed for a job where an internal candidate was eventually chosen  √ I don’t know  
  • Asked for an accommodation for a disability  √ Not Applicable
  • Withdrawn an application before the offer stage  √ Not Applicable
  • Turned down an offer √ Happened once 

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

Received a better salary from another job I’d applied for. 

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

Post salaries, provide interview questions ahead of time. Require teaching assessment of the hired librarian, but don’t have top 5 applicants teach.

You and Your Well-Being

How are you doing, generally?

√ I’m somewhat depressed

√ I’m despondent

√ I’m frustrated 

What are your job search self-care strategies?

Stop applying after a while. You have to take breaks, especially if you are employed and looking. Counting my blessings.

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Filed under 2023 Job Hunter's Survey

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