Category Archives: Northeastern US

For those on the job market, hang in there!

Hilary Kraus is a Research Services Librarian and liaison to kinesiology and psychology at the University of Connecticut. She has worked as a reference and instruction librarian, focusing on the health and social sciences, at universities in the Midwest and New England. 

Hilary holds a BA in English and Creative Writing from Northwestern University and an MSI from the University of Michigan.

Please briefly describe the hiring process at your organization and your role in it:

At most places I’ve worked, the job description is generally written by admin and reviewed by the hiring committee or written/revised by the hiring committee and approved by admin. This is around the time the hiring committee is selected and charged. The job is posted for a period of time, typically around 4 weeks, and then application review begins. The committee agrees on first round candidates and does phone or video interviews, then clears a short-list for campus interviews with admin. Campus interviews (pre-COVID) included dinner the night before and then a full day interview. The hiring committee submits strengths/weaknesses for who they consider qualified candidates among those who visited campus. Admin makes the final decision.

Titles hired include: Reference/instruction/liaison librarians

Who makes hiring decisions at your organization:

√ Library Administration

√ A Committee or panel

Which of the following does your organization regularly require of candidates?

√ Online application

√ Cover letter

√ Resume

√ CV

√ References

√ Oral Exam/Structured interview

√ Demonstration (teaching, storytime, etc)

√ More than one round of interviews

√ A whole day of interviews

√ A meal with hiring personnel

Does your organization use automated application screening? 

√ Other: I don’t know

Think about the last candidate who really wowed you, on paper, in an interview, or otherwise. Why were they so impressive?

They really expressed themselves well in their cover letter, not only highlighting relevant qualifications but also emphasizing why this job appealed to them. I get that people want a job because it means money and security, but as a hiring committee member and future colleague I still want to know why this job was on their list, and that they are actually interested in doing the work.

Do you have any instant dealbreakers?

I try to extend all possible grace, so I ignore minor errors in application materials (up to and including putting the wrong institution name at the top, because I have to say, as a candidate, I would never get over the mortification, so they’ve already been punished enough for that mistake). For me, it’s a deal-breaker if there’s no indication anywhere in the letter that they have any real investment in this specific job.

What do you wish you could know about candidates that isn’t generally revealed in the hiring process?

I can’t think of anything specific. We already demand people share so much information in the application process!

How many pages should each of these documents be?

Cover Letter: √ Two is ok, but no more

Resume: √ As many as it takes, but keep it reasonable and relevant 

CV: √ As many as it takes, but keep it reasonable and relevant 

What is the most common mistake that people make in an interview?

I think mistakes in interviews are very candidate-specific. I also don’t like to think of what they do as “mistakes,” but just as not being as successful as they could be. That said, I guess the only one I can really think of that’s helpful is not allowing themselves enough time to think of an answer to a question they didn’t anticipate. Stalling is fine! “What a great question! Give me a moment to consider my answer.” It’s also ok to ask for clarification or elaboration of a question if you’re not sure how to approach it.

Do you conduct virtual interviews? What do job hunters need to know about shining in this setting?

Yes. This is hard, because not everyone has a good space that meets these requirements, but if you can, try to have: a comfortable chair where you’re sitting up relatively straight, decent lighting, a quality microphone or headset you’ve tested in advance, and a background without too many distracting elements. It’s fine to blur your background or put up a virtual one. Wear something you’re comfortable but professional-looking in — no need for anything extra fancy, especially since mostly the interviewers will just see your upper body.

How can candidates looking to transition from paraprofessional work, from non-library work, or between library types convince you that their experience is relevant? Or do you have other advice for folks in this kind of situation?

Lean into what you already know and have done! Many parapros have more library experience than new MLS grads, plenty of skills are applicable in multiple types of libraries, and many non-library folks have lots of transferable skills. But you have to be able to make the connection for the hiring committee, you can’t depend on them to figure it out themselves. As unfair as it seems, they’re also juggling a lot of different responsibilities and probably reading through a ton of applications, so help them see why your background is relevant.

When does your organization *first* mention salary information?

√ Other: It depends, but at my current place of work, we now put it in the ad.

What does your organization do to reduce bias in hiring? What are the contexts in which discrimination still exists in this process?

I wish there was a way to scrub the application docs to make it impossible to assume gender, race, etc., but there really isn’t in academia. Several places I’ve worked used a matrix to ensure that everyone was evaluated in a well-documented fashion, and had hiring committee members write up their notes/reactions for screening and campus interviews without discussion to reduce groupthink. I think those types of things help, but honestly, implicit bias is obviously a real thing at every stage.

What questions should candidates ask you? What is important for them to know about your organization and the position you are hiring for?

Ask what people like about working at the organization, where they see it heading (even the rank and file folks have opinions on this!), what would make someone successful in the role.

Additional Demographics

What part of the world are you in?

√ Northeastern US

What’s your region like?

√ Urban

√ Suburban

Is your workplace remote/virtual?

√ Some of the time and/or in some positions

How many staff members are at your organization?

√ 51-100

Is there anything else you’d like to say, either to job hunters or to me, the survey author? 

The academic job search process is such a hazing ritual. Thanks for trying to make it better and more transparent.

For those on the job market, hang in there!


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Filed under 50-100 staff members, Academic, Northeastern US, Suburban area, Urban area

It’s important that candidates know we are part of active unions governed by collective bargaining agreements, and that we are state workers.

Headshot of Jamie Taylor in front of a white board, wearing a bike cap

Jaime Taylor is the Discovery and Resource Management Systems Coordinator at UMass Amherst. Her professional interests include the racialized and gendered nature of librarianship, rethinking librarian education, flattening institutional structures beyond what is currently fashionable, and providing library services in unconventional settings.  Her non-professional interests include bicycles, cats, and old houses. 

Briefly describe the hiring process at your organization and your role in it:

I have chaired two search committees at my current organization. At my library, hiring is done via committees, which work with library admin to conduct the search & interview process, then make recommendations to the hiring authority (that is, the Dean of Libraries) about which candidate to offer the position to. Committees have 3-5 members, and include both librarians and paraprofessional staff, per our union contracts. For librarian positions, we usually have a phone interview round & then a finalist round of on-campus, full-day interviews, including a presentation by the candidate to library staff. We have recently begun revamping our processes with a DEI/justice lens, and so this process is under renovation. 

Titles hired include: ILS/LSP administrator; collections analysis librarian

Who makes hiring decisions at your organization:

√ Library Administration

√ A Committee or panel 

Note: The committee makes recommendations, but the Dean of Libraries has the final decision.

Which of the following does your organization regularly require of candidates?

√ Online application

√ Cover letter

√ Resume

√ References

√ Demonstration (teaching, storytime, etc)

√ More than one round of interviews

√ A whole day of interviews

√ A meal with hiring personnel

Does your organization use automated application screening? 

√ No 

Think about the last candidate who really wowed you, on paper, in an interview, or otherwise. Why were they so impressive?

They had thorough answers to questions about soft skills — the why & how questions; questions about justice, inclusion & equity; and demonstrated through their answers introspection about their work. They showed a growth mindset, through the research & other professional development they do, as well as through their interests inside & outside the library. They showed interest in cross-departmental connections & shared library/university governance. 

Do you have any instant dealbreakers?

Since I work for the state & hire other state workers, if a candidate does not meet the minimum requirements listed in the job description I *cannot* hire them, even if they make a very compelling argument that would be convincing in another setting.

Displays of subtle or overt bias or discrimination, especially against existing library staff. I have hired a young trans woman, for example, and we have workers of color and queer workers thorughout the library. I will not endanger my coworkers through my hiring decisions.

What do you wish you could know about candidates that isn’t generally revealed in the hiring process?

I wish I had better ways of sussing out which candidates will actually be able to quickly grow into a role that is a step up the career ladder or involves a new skillset. I’ve had libraries take that chance on me, and I think it worked out well for both me and the institution, so I’d like to be able to extend the same when I’m doing the hiring. Anyone can say that they are lifelong learners & relish a challenge, but it’s harder to concretely prove that someone will be successful at something they don’t yet know how to do.

How many pages should each of these documents be?

Cover Letter: √ As many as it takes, but keep it reasonable and relevant 

Resume: √ As many as it takes, but keep it reasonable and relevant

CV: √ As many as it takes, but keep it reasonable and relevant

Note: Two pages max each for resume/CV & cover letter is probably the sweet spot for early to mid-career positions. In a digital environment, keeping each to only one page isn’t important.

What is the most common mistake that people make in an interview?

Not answering the questions I am actually asking! Please find a way to give a substantive answer to my actual question, even if you don’t have the particular qualification I am asking about. I want to hear specificity and details to know that you know what you are talking about.

Do you conduct virtual interviews? What do job hunters need to know about shining in this setting?

We are actively trying to make this as equitable and stress-free as possible! As long as we can hear each other, it’s all good.

Virtual or phone interviews make it much easier to have notes on hand to refer to as you speak — take advantage of that!

How can candidates looking to transition from paraprofessional work, from non-library work, or between library types convince you that their experience is relevant? Or do you have other advice for folks in this kind of situation?

Make a convincing argument that your skills & experience translate. Tell me why it makes sense. Be confident in them and sell it to me. Customer service experience is always relevant, for example, even if you are only communicating with coworkers.

When does your organization *first* mention salary information?

√ It’s part of the job ad 

What does your organization do to reduce bias in hiring? What are the contexts in which discrimination still exists in this process?

We have rewritten job descriptions to allow for more kinds of experience to be applicable. We actively advertise in places that are relevant to wider, more diverse audiences. I personally cultivate a diverse professional network & use it when hiring. We have an orientation session for the search committee at the beginning of the process to reinforce methods of bias reduction & have checklists & exemplars to refer to. 

But, since the library is largely staffed by white people, the collective networks of staff are mostly also white. We see names & other possible ethnic identifiers on applications. We are currently understaffed & in a rush to hire, so we may not think we have the time to slow down a process enough to give it proper attention with an anti-bias lens.

What questions should candidates ask you? What is important for them to know about your organization and the position you are hiring for?

Please ask something, anything! It looks bad if a candidate has zero questions. Ask us about the culture and supervision style of the unit the position is in. Ask us about what kind of professional development opportunities there are. Ask us why we chose to work at this library. Ask us what exciting projects or changes are on the horizon. Use your questions to show us that you are curious & forward thinking & are aware of trends in the library world.

It’s important that candidates know we are part of active unions governed by collective bargaining agreements, and that we are state workers. These two facts govern the choices a candidate has once they’ve been offered a position – negotiation, selection of benefits. Candidates should also know that unions are only as strong as their members, so expect to be involved in making our institution the best workplace it can be. 

Additional Demographics

What part of the world are you in?

√ Northeastern US 

What’s your region like?

√ Rural 

Note: New England rural, not flyover state rural, though.

Is your workplace remote/virtual?

√ Some of the time and/or in some positions 

How many staff members are at your organization?

√ 51-100 

Is there anything else you’d like to say, either to job hunters or to me, the survey author? 

Don’t apply for positions that aren’t a good match to your experience & skills. It’s a waste of your time & ours. Instead, spend more time honing your application materials & interview skills for positions that are a close fit.

Author’s note: Hey, thanks for reading! If you like reading, why not try commenting or sharing? Or are you somebody who hires Library, Archives or other LIS workers? Please consider giving your own opinion by filling out the survey here.

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Filed under 1 A Return to Hiring Librarians Survey, 50-100 staff members, Academic, Northeastern US, Rural area

I build opportunities to discuss failure into all of our interviews

Headshot of Christian Zabriskie. A kid sits on his shoulders reading a book

Christian Zabriskie is the Executive Director of the Onondaga County Public library that serves the City of Syracuse and supports 22 independent member libraries in Central NY. 

He is also the Executive Director of Urban Librarians Unite which he founded with business partner Lauren Comito in 2010. He and Lauren were Library Journal’s 2020 Librarians of the Year. 

Briefly describe the hiring process at your organization and your role in it:

We use Civil Service Lists to determine reachable candidates then interview based on resume from the list of candidates we are given.

Titles hired: Director of Communication, Programming Coordinator, Director of Operations

Who makes hiring decisions at your organization:

√ Library Administration

Which of the following does your organization regularly require of candidates?

√ Cover letter

√ Resume

√ References

Does your organization use automated application screening? 

√ No

Briefly describe the hiring process at your organization and your role in it:

We use Civil Service Lists to determine reachable candidates then interview based on resume from the list of candidates we are given.

Think about the last candidate who really wowed you, on paper, in an interview, or otherwise. Why were they so impressive?

They exuded energy, were confident yet self-deprecating, and had a deep knowledge in the area that they wanted to use on a larger canvas…and had good ideas for what that looks like.

Do you have any instant dealbreakers?

Finding fault in colleagues, I build opportunities to discuss failure into all of our interviews. If the applicant cannot see themselves in a failure but pushes it off onto teammates out of the block then they are not a good fit for our organization.

What do you wish you could know about candidates that isn’t generally revealed in the hiring process?

Their emotional intelligence

How many pages should each of these documents be?

Cover Letter: √ Only One!

Resume: √ As many as it takes, but keep it reasonable and relevant

CV: √ We don’t ask for this

What is the most common mistake that people make in an interview?

Oversharing and not seeing space for personal growth.

Do you conduct virtual interviews? What do job hunters need to know about shining in this setting?

No, but I am not opposed to them. Do NOT judge people on their backgrounds! I run a large multi-million dollar library, my background through most of the crisis was a mess of reports, papers, printouts, and maps. If you looked at it without knowing my background or work habits then it would look like I was a disorganized hoarder.

How can candidates looking to transition from paraprofessional work, from non-library work, or between library types convince you that their experience is relevant? Or do you have other advice for folks in this kind of situation?

Speak to the work of the library at a level above the work they are doing now. Get past transactional definitions of the work.

When does your organization *first* mention salary information?

√ It’s part of the job ad

What does your organization do to reduce bias in hiring? What are the contexts in which discrimination still exists in this process?

We work with the local office of diversity. We actively recruit as diverse a pool as is possible.

What questions should candidates ask you? What is important for them to know about your organization and the position you are hiring for?

What are you looking for to move your organization forward? Referencing any 1-3 specific programs, locations, or collections that we have. I don’t care about the questions, I care about them doing the work to research our organization.

Additional Demographics

What part of the world are you in?

√ Northeastern US

What’s your region like?

√ Urban

√ Suburban

√ Rural

Is your workplace remote/virtual?

√ Never or not anymore

How many staff members are at your organization?

√ 101-200

Is there anything else you’d like to say, either to job hunters or to me, the survey author?

Bring your brightest energy and passion to the interview. I look for “the bright spark”. I can train staff to do pretty much whatever they need to know to be successful but intellectual curiosity and an agile mind are the essential starting point. Probation is important, give us an idea of what it would be like to work with you not just in this moment but a decade from now.

Hey, thanks for reading! If you like reading, why not trying commenting or sharing? Or are you somebody who hires Library, Archives or other LIS workers? Please consider giving your own opinion by filling out the survey here.

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Filed under 100-200 staff members, Northeastern US, Public, Rural area, Suburban area, Urban area

Underselling themselves; being too humble

A young person studies a book in a migrant camp library
Image: Arvin camp for migrant workers (Farm Security Administration-FSA) California. Retrieved from NYPL Digital Collections

This anonymous interview is with someone who hires for:

√ Other: Federal Libraries

Title: Account Manager

Titles hired include: Metadata librarian, cataloger, project manager, library technician

Who makes hiring decisions at your organization:

√ The position’s supervisor

Which of the following does your organization regularly require of candidates?

√ Online application

√ Resume

√ Oral Exam/Structured interview

Does your organization use automated application screening? 

√ No

Think about the last candidate who really wowed you, on paper, in an interview, or otherwise. Why were they so impressive?

Asked intelligent questions and demonstrated passion for librarianship

Do you have any instant dealbreakers?

Poor communication / response time

How many pages should each of these documents be?

Cover Letter: √ We don’t ask for this

Resume: √ As many as it takes, but keep it reasonable and relevant

CV: √ We don’t ask for this

What is the most common mistake that people make in an interview?

Underselling themselves; being too humble

Do you conduct virtual interviews? What do job hunters need to know about shining in this setting?

Test equipment/software in advance; make sure background isn’t distracting (or use software features to obscure background); eliminate background noises such as pets, kids, roommates, construction & appliances

How can candidates looking to transition from paraprofessional work, from non-library work, or between library types convince you that their experience is relevant? Or do you have other advice for folks in this kind of situation?

Just be honest about what attracted you to the library world (maybe it was a friend/relative who works in the field, or you just enjoyed spending time in a library setting in school or taking your kids to one). Soft skills are the most important (library science isn’t rocket science). Skills can be learned on the job; friendliness, reliability, professionalism, work ethic cannot.

When does your organization *first* mention salary information?

√ We only discuss after we’ve made an offer

Additional Demographics

What part of the world are you in?

√ Northeastern US

What’s your region like?

√ Urban

Is your workplace remote/virtual?

√ Some of the time and/or in some positions

How many staff members are at your organization?

√ 101-200

Author’s note: Hey, thanks for reading! If you like reading, why not trying commenting or sharing? Or are you somebody who hires Library, Archives or other LIS workers? Please consider giving your own opinion by filling out the survey here.

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Filed under 1 A Return to Hiring Librarians Survey, Federal, Northeastern US, Urban area

Candidates who can tie any previous work experience to aspects of the job available should be given serious consideration

Photo of Celia finishing first in her age group at a half marathon

This interview is with Celia Rabinowitz, who has been Dean of Mason Library at Keene State College (NH) since 2014. She also manages general education, digital learning, faculty enrichment, and undergraduate research. Celia has a MLS from Rutgers University and a PhD (in Theology) from Fordham University. Prior to Keene State, Celia worked in the Hilda Landers Library at St. Mary’s College in Maryland from 1992-2014.

You may remember Celia from her contributions to the Further Questions weekly feature. I am very grateful for her willingness to share her insight and expertise.

Please briefly describe the hiring process at your organization and your role in it:

Permission to fill the position is approved by senior administrator. For library faculty a search committee is formed (the dean is not a member). The committee meets with HR to review guidelines and write a job ad (with dean approval). The search committee reviews applications using an online system to submit ratings linked to job requirements. Phone interviews for a first round. On campus interviews for finalists including meetings with the dean and provost. References are checked. Search committee makes a recommendation to the dean. The dean consults with the provost before an offer is made.

Titles hired include: Collections Strategies & Services, ILL coordinator, Access Services Manager

Who makes hiring decisions at your organization:

√ Library Administration

√ The position’s supervisor

√ Other: Provost or other principal administrator

Which of the following does your organization regularly require of candidates?

√ Online application

√ Cover letter

√ Resume

√ CV

√ References

√ Demonstration (teaching, storytime, etc)

√ More than one round of interviews

√ Other: Not all items are required at the time of application

Does your organization use automated application screening? 

√ No

Think about the last candidate who really wowed you, on paper, in an interview, or otherwise. Why were they so impressive?

In addition to having good qualifications, the person used the cover letter to talk about why they were interested in this job at our library and institution.

Do you have any instant dealbreakers?

Candidates who don’t acknowledge the type of institution we are (public, liberal arts), whose cover letters appear very generic, have an uphill climb to convince me we should consider them.

What do you wish you could know about candidates that isn’t generally revealed in the hiring process?

I wish there was a way for candidates to feel secure asking about concerns they have regarding a position – about their qualifications, about campus climate, etc.

How many pages should each of these documents be?

Cover Letter: √ Two is ok, but no more

Resume: √ Two is ok, but no more

CV: √ As many as it takes, I love reading

What is the most common mistake that people make in an interview?

Being afraid to ask provocative or probing questions.

Do you conduct virtual interviews? What do job hunters need to know about shining in this setting?

Our last hire was before the pandemic and we did everything in person. I’m not sure if we’ll return to that. We are unlikely to be able to do any hiring for the next several years.

How can candidates looking to transition from paraprofessional work, from non-library work, or between library types convince you that their experience is relevant? Or do you have other advice for folks in this kind of situation?

Candidates who can tie any previous work experience to aspects of the job available should be given serious consideration, particularly for entry-level positions. My advice is to own the change you want to make, don’t apologize for it.

When does your organization *first* mention salary information?

√ Other: It’s usually part of the online job description. Faculty are members of a bargaining unit so starting salaries are set in the CBA, but can also be negotiated.

What does your organization do to reduce bias in hiring? What are the contexts in which discrimination still exists in this process?

The search committee is required to talk with the Associate VP for Equity and Inclusions who will also review pools of candidates. Efforts are made to advertise in places that will reach wide audiences. The biggest challenge is our geographical location.

What questions should candidates ask you? What is important for them to know about your organization and the position you are hiring for?

Candidates for library faculty positions could ask about expectations for tenure and promotion, about mentoring opportunities, about professional development support. They should know about the impact of staff and budget reductions over the past few years on the campus in general and the library particularly.

Additional Demographics

What part of the world are you in?

√ Northeastern US

What’s your region like?

√ Rural

Is your workplace remote/virtual?

√ Never or not anymore

How many staff members are at your organization?

√ 11-50

Hey, thanks for reading! If you like reading, why not trying commenting or sharing? Or are you somebody who hires Library, Archives or other LIS workers? Please consider giving your own opinion by filling out the survey here.

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Filed under 1 A Return to Hiring Librarians Survey, 10-50 staff members, Academic, Northeastern US, Rural area

To paraphrase from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, “a vague description is nobody’s friend”!

Geraldine Fain Browses in the Free LibraryThis anonymous interview is with a job hunter who is currently employed (even if part-time or in an unrelated field), has not been hired within the last two months, and has been looking for a new position for Less than six months. This person is looking in Academic library, at the following levels: Requiring at least two years of experience, Senior Librarian. This job hunter is in a Rural area in the Northeastern US and is willing to move Anywhere.

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

1) Flexibility in terms of job duties. I want to be nimble and as helpful as possible at all times, not locked into a limited and tightly defined role where I have to pass student/faculty/patrons off to others.

2) Collaborative opportunities. I love finding unexpected connections and exploiting them to benefit my library and the institution as a whole.

3) Variety. Going along with the flexibility I listed above, I don’t like doing the same things every day. I like knowing what is going on, how pieces of the organization work together, and problem-solving at the point of need. It keeps me creative and passionate!

Where do you look for open positions? (e.g. ALA Joblist, professional listserv, LinkedIn)

I subscribe to several listservs. I check ALA’s Joblist every now and then, and also jobs posted in the Chronicle of Higher Education. Finally, I look at the state library associations/professional websites for a few specific areas of the country where I am most interested in working.

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

• No (even if I might think it *should* be)

What’s your routine for preparing an application packet? How much time do you spend on it?

First, I read the job ad closely and carefully. I think about how the job, as described, fits with the job I currently have, positions I’ve had in the past, and other positions I’ve applied for and not gotten. I have a file of cover letters I’ve previously written, and I pick through these for one that is appropriate/requires a minimal amount of tweaking to work. I make sure to change all names, job titles, and other relevant information, obviously. I keep my resume updated every couple months even when I’m not applying for a job, so that doesn’t change much. However, I make sure my cover letter speaks specifically to any points in the job ad that aren’t clearly addressed by my resume. The whole process, from the point I see a job ad to the time I apply….it probably takes me a few days of intermittent thinking and doing things.

Have you ever stretched the truth, exaggerated, or lied on your resume, or at some other point during the hiring process?

• No

When would you like employers to contact you?(Please select all that apply)

• To acknowledge my application
• To tell me if I have or have not been selected to move on to the interview stage
• To follow-up after an interview
• Once the position has been filled, even if it’s not me

How do you prefer to communicate with potential employers?

• Email

Which events during the interview/visit are most important to your assessment of the position (i.e. deciding if you want the job)?(Please check all that apply)

• Tour of facility
• Meeting department members/potential co-workers

What do you think employers should do to get the best candidates to apply?

This a tough question to answer! I suppose the “best candidate” for any position will apply if the job ad speaks to what they are passionate about – so be clear and honest about what the position entails and what is expected of applicants. To paraphrase from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, “a vague description is nobody’s friend”!

What should employers do to make the hiring process less painful?

In the academic world, I know that there is a whole laundry list of committees and administrators that hiring decisions have to go through. Considering all of this, I wish employers would give a realistic timeline, and/or give candidates more frequent updates. I have applied for jobs, interviewed, and then heard nothing for over 2 months.

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

Be well-spoken, intelligent, attentive, be able to “read” your interviewers well and respond in ways that do more than answer their questions – for lack of a better phrase, you need to speak to THEM, not their question. Which sounds weird and impossible. But when you are the right person in the right place interviewing for the right job, it works.

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Filed under Academic, Job hunter's survey, Northeastern US, Rural area

currently obtaining my MLIS, as it is a (painfully reinforced) professional ceiling

PhC42.Bx17.Hunting.F12-3This anonymous interview is with a job hunter who is not currently employed (even if part-time or in an unrelated field), has not been hired within the last two months, and has been looking for a new position for Less than six months. This person is looking in Academic libraries, Archives, Library vendors/service providers, Public libraries, Special libraries,  Informatics environments, knowledge management, records managemen at the following levels: Requiring at least two years of experience, Supervisory,  Senior Librarian, Branch Manager. This new grad/entry level applicant has internship/volunteering experience:

I have five years of combined public and academic (both university and community college level) library experience, and am currently obtaining my MLIS, as it is a (painfully reinforced) professional ceiling.

This job hunter is in an urban area, in the Northeastern US, and is not willing to move anywhere.

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

Livable wage/reasonable salary with room for advancement.

Engaged, supportive staff environment where innovation, exploration, and collaboration are encouraged at all levels.

Opportunities for continuing education; awareness of organization’s place in greater network of the profession.

Where do you look for open positions?

CLIR jobs list, local institutions’ websites, ALA Joblist, various listservs.

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

√ Only for certain kinds of employers

What’s your routine for preparing an application packet? How much time do you spend on it?

Depends on the application/institution. I tend to tweak the master copy of my resume to better reflect the specifics in a job posting. A few hours, usually over coffee or lunch to stay relaxed and focused.

Have you ever stretched the truth, exaggerated, or lied on your resume, or at some other point during the hiring process?

√ No

When would you like employers to contact you?

√ To acknowledge my application
√ To tell me if I have or have not been selected to move on to the interview stage
√ To follow-up after an interview
√ Once the position has been filled, even if it’s not me

How do you prefer to communicate with potential employers?

√ Email

Which events during the interview/visit are most important to your assessment of the position (i.e. deciding if you want the job)?

√ Meeting department members/potential co-workers
√ Meeting with HR to talk about benefits/salary

What do you think employers should do to get the best candidates to apply?

Intimidating list of qualifications and requirements, list of salary and benefits, ease of access and understanding of online applications. Simply accept a resume instead of reiterating resume information in feilds; eliminate the copy and paste syndrome!

What should employers do to make the hiring process less painful?

It helps (and hurts!) a lot to get rejection notices so the applicant can brush herself off and move on.

I like the idea of being taken out to lunch, but this has never been my experience.

Less paperwork, if possible.

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

There is no secret. You keep your skills sharp, develop your talent deeply, work hard, keep your resume up to date and flexible, and nail the interviews. Compete. Believe in yourself.

For some context, take a look at the most recently published summary of responses.

Are you hunting for a new LIS job? Take the survey! http://tinyurl.com/hiringlibJOBHUNTERsurvey

This survey was co-authored by Naomi House from I Need A Library Job – Do you need one?  Check it out!

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Filed under Academic, Archives, Job hunter's survey, Northeastern US, Public, Special, Urban area

I’ve had senior colleagues at a former place of employment take credit for my projects and accomplishments

Hunting Party Near The Writing-On-Stone Royal Northwest Mounted Police Detachment Galt Museum and Archives on the Flickr CommonsThis anonymous interview is with a job hunter who is not currently employed (even if part-time or in an unrelated field), has not been hired within the last two months, and has been looking for a new position for Less than six months. This person is looking in Academic library, Non-library academic and campus units, at the following levels: entry level. Here is this person’s experience with internships/volunteering:

3 years of academic library and research experience. Additional experience in public and special libraries.

This job hunter is in a Urban area in the Northeastern US and is willing to move  It depends on the institution and the job.

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

Responsibilities that aligns with my interests and skills. Colleagues that will motivate, support, and challenge me to grow. Healthy organizational culture.

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

√ No (even if I might think it *should* be)

What’s your routine for preparing an application packet? How much time do you spend on it?

I tailor my CV to highlight my most salient experience, research, service, and honors, which can take an hour or two. Cover letters can take anywhere from an hour (if I’ve applied to a similar position before) to four hours. I also spend some time reviewing the library’s and university’s website to determine whether the particular institution would be a good fit for me.

Have you ever stretched the truth, exaggerated, or lied on your resume, or at some other point during the hiring process?

√ Other: It depends on whose truth we’re referring to. I’ve had senior colleagues at a former place of employment take credit for my projects and accomplishments. I am truthful, but I recognize that librarianship is a small pond and people talk, so I’m prepared to substantiate the truth through evidence of my accomplishments and experience if needed. Not an ideal situation, but it’s one of the outcomes of working (and leaving) an unhealthy organizational culture.

When would you like employers to contact you?

√ To acknowledge my application
√ To tell me if I have or have not been selected to move on to the interview stage
√ Once the position has been filled, even if it’s not me

How do you prefer to communicate with potential employers?

√ Email

Which events during the interview/visit are most important to your assessment of the position (i.e. deciding if you want the job)?

√ Meeting department members/potential co-workers
√ Other: I prefer self-directed tours of the library and campus.

What do you think employers should do to get the best candidates to apply?

I’m wary of a minimal list of responsibilities that end with “other duties as assigned,” as well as laundry lists of 20+ responsibilities if a percentage break-down of time isn’t included. Be thorough in defining the position, but don’t expect one person to accomplish anything of substance with so many competing responsibilities. Incentivizing your staff to be active in the professional community is helpful. It increases the visibility of your library and could encourage job seekers to apply. I would like prospective employers to provide some support my research-related activities, so having a professionally active staff is an implicit affirmation that I may receive the same level of support. I also find it useful when background information on the institution and library is included in job postings.

What should employers do to make the hiring process less painful?

I have mixed feelings about full-day interviews. They’re a great way to determine whether you’d enjoy working with your future colleagues and learn more about the library and campus culture. However, most entry-level academic librarian positions would not qualify for a faculty appointment using standard assessment metrics (e.g. instructor of record, scholarly impact), so full-day interviews seem to appeal more to academic tradition than is worth the time and expense.

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

Low standards and expectations? I know that sounds harsh, but most of the positions that align with my interests and skills are very traditional and, quite frankly, boring. I would not be content with a full-time job that consists of standard one-shot instruction sessions, general reference work, and limited engagement with students and faculty.

Do you have any comments, or are there any other questions you think we should add to this survey?

Thank you for creating and overseeing this website! It’s an invaluable resource.

Are you hunting for a new LIS job? Take the survey! http://tinyurl.com/hiringlibJOBHUNTERsurvey

This survey was co-authored by Naomi House from I Need A Library Job – Do you need one? Check it out!

Leave a comment

Filed under Academic, Job hunter's survey, Northeastern US, Urban area

Address the ad

Vegetable MArket in Stocklholm 1951 This anonymous interview is with an academic librarian who has been a hiring manager. This person hires the following types of LIS professionals:

academic

This librarian works at a library with 10-50 staff members in an suburban area in the Northeastern US.

Approximately how many people applied for the last librarian (or other professional level) job at your workplace?

√ 25-75

Approximately what percentage of those would you say were hirable?

√ 25% or less

And how would you define “hirable”?

Read the ad and met the qualifications

How are applications evaluated, and by whom?

By a search committee.  They see everything.

What is the most common reason for disqualifying an applicant without an interview?

lack of experience

Do you (or does your library) give candidates feedback about applications or interview performance?

√ No

What is the most important thing for a job hunter to do in order to improve his/her/their hirability?

Address the ad

I want to hire someone who is

learning

How many staff members are at your library/organization?

√ 10-50

How many permanent, full time librarian (or other professional level) jobs has your workplace posted in the last year?

√ 1

How many permanent, full time para-professional (or other non-professional level) jobs has your workplace posted in the last year?

√ 1

Can you tell us how the number of permanent, full-time librarian positions at your workplace has changed over the past decade?

√ There are fewer positions

Have any full-time librarian positions been replaced with part-time or hourly workers over the past decade?

√ No

Have any full-time librarian positions been replaced with para-professional workers over the past decade?

√ No

Does your workplace require experience for entry-level professional positions? If so, is it an official requirement or just what happens in practice?

No

Is librarianship a dying profession?

√ No

Do you hire librarians?  Take this survey: http://tinyurl.com/hiringlibjobmarketsurvey or take other Hiring Librarians surveys.

For some context, look at the most recent summary of responses.

Leave a comment

Filed under 10-50 staff members, Academic, Northeastern US, State of the Job Market 2015, Suburban area

We recognize and accept volunteer experience when evaluating aptitude, but generally not coursework.

Queipo Market in Little Havana - MiamiThis anonymous interview is with an academic librarian who has been a hiring manager and a member of a hiring or search committee. This person hires the following types of LIS professionals:

Catalogers, acquisitions, general technical services

This librarian works at a library with 10-50 staff members in an urban area in the Northeastern US.

Approximately how many people applied for the last librarian (or other professional level) job at your workplace?

√ 25-75

Approximately what percentage of those would you say were hirable?

√ 25% or less

And how would you define “hirable”?

Qualified for the specific job advertised (not an archivist applying for a cataloging position)

How are applications evaluated, and by whom?

HR does not prescreen applicants.
We use hiring committees.
The committees use rubrics based on the job description and desired traits.

What is the most common reason for disqualifying an applicant without an interview?

No MLIS or no work experience in the specialty.

Do you (or does your library) give candidates feedback about applications or interview performance?

√ No

What is the most important thing for a job hunter to do in order to improve his/her/their hirability?

Get some experience in the specialty. We recognize and accept volunteer experience when evaluating aptitude, but generally not coursework.

Check your application materials for errors. Make sure that you address key points in the job description, since that is what the hiring rubric is based on.

I want to hire someone who is

adaptable

How many staff members are at your library/organization?

√ 10-50

How many permanent, full time librarian (or other professional level) jobs has your workplace posted in the last year?

√ 2

How many permanent, full time para-professional (or other non-professional level) jobs has your workplace posted in the last year?

√ 3-4

Can you tell us how the number of permanent, full-time librarian positions at your workplace has changed over the past decade?

√ There are the same number of positions

Have any full-time librarian positions been replaced with part-time or hourly workers over the past decade?

√ Yes

Have any full-time librarian positions been replaced with para-professional workers over the past decade?

√ Yes

Does your workplace require experience for entry-level professional positions? If so, is it an official requirement or just what happens in practice?

It depends on the position: some require library experience, some don’t.

Is librarianship a dying profession?

√ I don’t know

 

 

Do you hire librarians?  Take this survey: http://tinyurl.com/hiringlibjobmarketsurvey or take other Hiring Librarians surveys.

For some context, look at the most recent summary of responses.

Leave a comment

Filed under 10-50 staff members, Academic, Northeastern US, State of the Job Market 2015, Urban area