“a member of the hiring committee took it upon themselves to email to tell me how terrible the place was to work.”

Gentry George, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Public domain, via Wikimedia 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?

√ Less than six months 

Why are you job hunting?  

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

√ My current job is temporary 

Where do you look for open positions?  

Archives Gig, SAA listserv, CLIR and DLF Job Board, Indeed

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

√ Archives

√ Special library 

What part of the world are you in?

√ Southwestern US 

What’s your region like? 

√ Urban area 

Are you willing/able to move for employment? 

√ Yes, as long as at least some of my moving costs are covered 

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

Professional alignment and opportunity for growth; good culture fit; demonstration of commitment to DEIA in the institution and department

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


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 

√ 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?

A generalized, unclear, or overloaded position description; Expectation of additional advanced degrees for advancement; Required information sessions on how to apply for positions in academic institutions that indicates an adherence to rigid, hierarchical standards that automatically exclude historically minoritized and marginalized group from applying for positions they are qualified for. Despite what they believe, this does not support– but rather undermine–an institution’s DEIA efforts.

The Process

How much time do you spend preparing an application packet?

Can be weeks or days.

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

Institutional and staff research, position description and personal KSA mapping, cover letter writing, CV updating.

How do you prefer to communicate with potential employers?

√ No preference 

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?

Less than 3 months.

How do you prepare for interviews?

Mock questions; presentation run-throughs

What are your most hated interview questions, and why?

Tell us about a difficult time/situation/encounter you had at a previous place of employment and how you overcame/handled it. Nobody is ever going to tell you about anything of substance.

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  √ Not Applicable
  • 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 once 
  • Turned down an offer √ Happened more than once  

If you have ever withdrawn an application, why?

The interview process was too lengthy and I accepted another position. 

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:

The interview process was grossly drawn out and overwrought for the level of the position. During the process I received a lot of negative feedback from other colleagues about the institution and a member of the hiring committee took it upon themselves to email to tell me how terrible the place was to work. 

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

Streamline the process; understand what and who you actually need for the position. Be prepared for the interview–we have to be! Post your salary ranges–this should be a non-negotiable.

You and Your Well-Being

How are you doing, generally?

√ I’m frustrated

What are your job search self-care strategies?

Trying to remember that I am qualified and avoid internalizing the interview process.

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?

People want to see you succeed in an interview. Take up space–it’s your interview too. Weird interview committee energy has little to do with you, if at all. Job hunting is the single most stressful thing I’ve done in my life–you’re not alone

Do you have any comments for Emily (the survey author) or are there any other questions you think we should add to this survey?

Thank you for this effort!

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?)

MLIS + Archival Certificate (2022); MA (2008)

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

√ More than six months before graduating with my MLIS/other LIS degree 

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

√ Other: I was asked to apply for a position at institution I was interning at before graduation, but decided to decline. I applied to three other positions and eventually accepted a temporary position 2 months after graduation.

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

√ Temporary/Limited Term 

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

Yes, but more in the form of relationships I developed with faculty. 

Leave a comment

Filed under 2023 Job Hunter's Survey

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.