Category Archives: Northeastern US

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!

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Filed under Academic, Entry Level, 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.

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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.

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

Have people read your cover letter/resume! Multiple people!

Vegetable and flower seller and stall, Pike Place Market, Seattle, WashingtonThis anonymous interview is with a public 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:

General librarians.

This librarian works at a library with 200+ staff members in a suburban area in the Northeastern US.

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

√ 25 or fewer

Approximately what percentage of those would you say were hirable?

√ 51-75 %

And how would you define “hirable”?

Matching the qualifications outlined in the job posting.

How are applications evaluated, and by whom?

HR checks them first to weed out any unqualified candidates. The applications are then forwarded to the hiring librarians on the panel, who choose the candidates to interview.

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

Poor writing skills.

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?

Have people read your cover letter/resume! Multiple people! And make sure you outline how you meet the job requirements.

I want to hire someone who is

teachable

How many staff members are at your library/organization?

√ 200+

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

√ 7 or more

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

√ Other: All of our paraprofessionals are part time.

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

√ There are more 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?

MLS (or equivalent) within two years of date of hire.

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.

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Filed under 200+ staff members, Northeastern US, Public, State of the Job Market 2015, Suburban area

All things should change. This is a deeply saddening question.

Man selling dill at vegetable market in Stockholm 1951 This anonymous interview is with an academic librarian who has been a hiring manager and a member of a hiring or search committee a human resources professional. This person hires the following types of LIS professionals:

collections

This librarian works at a library with 50-100 staff members in an urban areain the Northeastern US.

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

√ 25 or fewer

Approximately what percentage of those would you say were hirable?

√ 25% or less

And how would you define “hirable”?

met the qualifications for the position.

How are applications evaluated, and by whom?

Some get weeded from HR before coming to chair of search committee, who then weeded further before sharing about 10 with the search committee.

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

Did not meet qualifications.

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?

Have current skills, current experience.

I want to hire someone who is

Enthusiastic about academic librarianship.

How many staff members are at your library/organization?

√ 50-100

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?

√ 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 more 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?

I’m not sure.  The position I hired for required experience.

Is librarianship a dying profession?

√ No

Why or why not?

It’s a changing profession.  All things should change.  This is a deeply saddening question.

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.

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Filed under 50-100 staff members, Academic, Northeastern US, State of the Job Market 2015, Urban area