Category Archives: Southern US

sometimes the best employees come from outside a social circle of the Friends

This 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 Library vendors/service providers, Public libraries, School libraries, at the following levels: Requiring at least two years of experience, Supervisory, Department Head, Branch Manager. This new grad/entry level applicant has internship/volunteering experience:

I worked for 2 years in an academic library, specifically the computer labs and as an assistant to an art history professor with building a digital slide library. After graduating from college, I worked 16 months at one library, then 3 years at another – both working in teen services.

 This job hunter is in a rural area, in the Southern US and is willing to move anywhere.

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

Technology focus, rural setting, east coast

Where do you look for open positions?

State Library website

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

√ Yes, and it’s a red flag when it’s not

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

Thirty minutes to an hour, depending on what the job is and how I want to present my information (research, updating info, etc)

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?

√ Phone for good news, email for bad news

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

√ Tour of facility
√ Meeting department members/potential co-workers
√ Meeting with HR to talk about benefits/salary
√ Being able to present

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

Look beyond the community they serve; sometimes the best employees come from outside a social circle of the Friends and are often the most eager for the job.

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

Start with a tour of the facility!

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

Being familiar with the area that you’re applying to, even if all you’ve heard is things via word-of-mouth. Show interest in the community you want to serve and give evidence why.

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!

Leave a comment

Filed under Job hunter's survey, Public, Rural area, Southern US, Special

Networking and knowing the right people is the secret of getting the job

Brian Hunter, 1984, Asst Librarian, Slavonic Collections, London School of Economics This anonymous interview is with a job hunter who is not currently employed (even if part-time or in an unrelated field), has been hired within the last two months, and has been looking for a new position for more than 18 months . This person is looking in Academic libraries, Archives, Public library, Special library at the following levels: Entry level . This new grad/entry level applicant has internship/volunteering experience:

I had a nearly three-month internship for my MLS at a community college library and I currently volunteer in circulation at a public library coming close to one year.

This job hunter is in an Rural area, in the Southern US, and is not willing to move.

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

1-) A kind and collaborative environment.

2-) The ability to learn new skills and grow professionally.

3-) A living wage with benefits.

Where do you look for open positions?

Local and state government job sites, Indeed.com, state library job sites

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

√Yes, and it’s a red flag when it’s not

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

I usually use a recent cover letter and resume as a template, change the contact information, and address some of the job’s qualifications in the cover letter and resume.

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

√ I do my best to tell the truth. I feel though that I may be exaggerating at times.

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)?

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

√ Being able to present

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

I think being open and honest about the position, what it entails, and its salary and benefits is important to get the best job candidates. The less you say about the position, such as wage/salary, the more suspicious I am going to be about it.

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

Employers need to have a more humane application process. This means letting people know where their application is in the process. I want to know as early in the process as possible if I have a chance or if I need to move on. Hiring managers need to be clear exactly what information/documents/whatever they want submitted, particularly if applicants have to deal with clunky application tracking systems.

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

Networking and knowing the right people is the secret of getting the job. Volunteering is a particularly good strategy as you can gain skills and keep in touch with the profession while also developing a network that can inform you of upcoming or hidden jobs.

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!

Leave a comment

Filed under Academic, Archives, Job hunter's survey, MLIS Students, Public, Rural area, Southern US, Special

A cover letter could be the difference between rejected and moved on to an interview.

Paramaribo market scene. Women and men. 1922.This 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:

Reference/instruction librarians, jacks of all trades.

This librarian works at a library with 0-10 staff members in an urban area in the Southern 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?

√ 51-75 %

And how would you define “hirable”?

Meets all the required qualifications, as discussed in the job ad. Typically, this means MLS from an ALA-accredited college/university, some customer service experience, tech skills, and teaching experience.

How are applications evaluated, and by whom?

The Hiring Manager reviews all applications that are submitted. In the most recent iteration of our job search process, the 2 professional employees of the library went over each application with a rubric.

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

No MLS, or MLS won’t be in hand by the time the job would need to start. No teaching or customer service experience. Seems like their area of librarianship is outside our scope, like in archives or children’s librarianship.

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

√ Other: If asked.

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

Tailor your resume! Make sure you know as much about the position as is possible. Show that your experience has uniquely prepared you for our opportunity. Also, even if the application does not require a cover letter, please please please add a cover letter to the beginning of your resume in the same document. I wanted to make a cover letter a requirement, but our system doesn’t allow us to. A cover letter could be the difference between rejected and moved on to an interview.

I want to hire someone who is

innovative

How many staff members are at your library/organization?

√ 0-10

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

√ 3-4

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

√ Other: 0

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?

It’s just what happens in practice. There were a few applicants without experience in the most recent pool, and they seemed perfectly qualified, but when the rest of the pool has experience you have to give them precedence. It shows evidence of what people claim in their cover letters.

Is librarianship a dying profession?

√ No

Why or why not?

Librarianship is a changing profession. Obviously, there is more information out there than ever before. However, now as librarians we have the opportunity to help students sort through and find the right information for their need. Especially in the academic environment, librarians are more necessary than ever. Who else will sit with you for 2 hours to help you pick a topic and find sources for your paper?

 

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 0-10 staff members, Academic, Southern US, State of the Job Market 2015, Urban area

Conference presentations are a desired qualification.

Man selling artichokes at vegetable market in Stockholm 1951 2 This anonymous interview is with an academic librarian who has been a hiring manager. This person hires the following types of LIS professionals:

Reference & Instruction Librarians

This librarian works at a library with 0-10 staff members in a rural area in the Southern 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”?

MLS or MLIS with some kind of teaching experience

How are applications evaluated, and by whom?

The director and asst. director make the first pass through, eliminating all that do not meet the minimun requirements. The search committee then evaluate the remaining applications using a rubric.

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

No teaching experience at all.

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?

Be as familiar as possible about the library and college where you are applying. READ the job requirements.

I want to hire someone who is

collegial

How many staff members are at your library/organization?

√ 0-10

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

√ 3-4

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?

√ 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?

We ask that entry-level librarians have some kind of teaching experience. Conference presentations are a desired qualification.

Is librarianship a dying profession?

√ No

Why or why not?

Librarians will be needed to help folks navigate the growing and complex world of information.

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 0-10 staff members, Academic, Rural area, Southern US, State of the Job Market 2015

not just an MLIS, but experience with or a firm grasp of a specialized job: preservation of digital objects, non-MARC metadata, data analysis, Chinese language skills…

Housewives league at Wash. Market This anonymous interview is with an academic librarian who has been a member of a hiring or search committee. This person hires the following types of LIS professionals:

Subject librarians; paraprofessionals

This librarian works at a library with 200+ staff members in an urban area in the Southern 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”?

We mostly post specialized librarian jobs these days–so it means someone with not just an MLIS, but experience with or a firm grasp of a specialized job: preservation of digital objects, non-MARC metadata, data analysis, Chinese language skills…

How are applications evaluated, and by whom?

We form screening committees of around four libraries who use a rubric based on the required and preferred qualifications listed in the job posting.

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

Lack of relevant experience.

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

√ Other: Not unless they ask

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

Write a cover letter/CV that addresses all of the qualifications listed in the job description and tells us why you’re a good match. Don’t waste your time applying for jobs where you don’t meet at least the majority of the minimum qualifications.

I want to hire someone who is

capable

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?

√ 7 or more

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?

√ Other: Mostly with non-librarian professionals or high-level paraprofessionals

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

Yes, but just what happens in practice rather than an official requirement. Mostly, we don’t have all that many “entry-level” professional positions in the first place.

Is librarianship a dying profession?

√ I don’t know

Why or why not?

It’s an evolving profession. People still need information, we just aren’t the only game in town. But we are still the main groups who want to preserve information, systematically make the information findable with consistent metadata, teach people to how find information, and help people when they get stuck–and we’re also the main group that does all of this for the greater (or at least our community’s) good, not a profit.

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 200+ staff members, Academic, Southern US, State of the Job Market 2015, Urban area

When the job ad says, “effective written communication skills,” which most do, the cover letter is where hiring managers will look for evidence of that.

Fruit and vegetable vendors, Pike Place Market, Seattle, Washington This 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:

research librarians, technical services librarian

This librarian works at a library with 0-10 staff members in a suburban area in the Southern US.

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

√ more than 100, but less than 200

Approximately what percentage of those would you say were hirable?

√ 26-50 %

And how would you define “hirable”?

Ours was an entry level position, so I would define “hirable” as someone who had some work experience and relevant coursework and appeared to be flexible and collaborative.

How are applications evaluated, and by whom?

We use search committees for librarian hires.  There are criteria that go into the job ad and in the case where we had 100+ applicants, we developed additional criteria to winnow the pool further.

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

We are limited to bringing 3-4 applicants for campus interviews, and as a matter of practicality we would do video interviews for perhaps 6-8.  Depending on the size abd quality of the applicant pool, we might not be able to interview applicants who do not have the preferred 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?

Read the job ad and remember that your cover letter is your writing sample.  Tailor it to your audience and purpose and please have someone else proofread it before you send it off.

I want to hire someone who is

adaptable

How many staff members are at your library/organization?

√ 0-10

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?

√ Other: 0

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?

We would give preference to entry level applicants who have some work experience in libraries.

Is librarianship a dying profession?

√ No

Do you have any other comments, for job hunters or about the survey?

Job hunters really need to focus on that cover letter as a way to get more than a glance at the rest of their materials.  When the job ad says, “effective written communication skills,” which most do, the cover letter is where hiring managers will look for evidence of that.

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 0-10 staff members, Academic, Southern US, State of the Job Market 2015, Suburban area

The minimum requirements for an entry level position is a very low bar to reach

This anonymous interview is with an 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:

Staff in reference, youth services, adminsitration, and circulation.

This librarian works at a library with 10-50 staff members in an suburban area in the Southern 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”?

We look for a combination of skills that are job knowledge (library skills) plus interpersonal and customer service skills.  For supervisory positions, we prefer some supervisory experience.  We also look for signs of initiative or planning skills.

How are applications evaluated, and by whom?

We evaluate all applications.

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

Lack of library experience.  While it is not a deal-breaker, we find that many applicants look at the skills needed on the job post and see that they fit the minimum requirements. The minimum requirements for an entry level position is a very low bar to reach.

For professional positions, we are more flexible, because the commitment to library school indicates a certain desire and knowledge of library work.

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

√ Other: If asked, we share areas they could improve on.

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

Go beyond just reading the job description, and find out more about the position.  If it is a good match, you will have skills in the relevant areas already and not be stretching your resume to match the job.

I want to hire someone who is

a team player

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?

√ 5-6

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?

√ No

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

We don’t require experience, but we also find that professional librarians are applying for para-professional jobs.

Is librarianship a dying profession?

√ No

Why or why not?

Librarianship, and how it is defined, is a moving target.  We find that the library as community center is more emphasized now, whereas in the past it might have been more of a popular materials center, or a technology center. Libraries adapt to community needs very well, and will continue to do so.

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, Public, Southern US, State of the Job Market 2015, Suburban area