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I find that my hiring experience is helping with my current job search

man in hat with rifle and dead birds slung over his shoulder
Hunting guide Mr. Brown with wild turkeys near Green Swamp, Florida By Flickr user Florida Memory

Your Demographics and Search Parameters

How long have you been job hunting?

√ Less than six months 

Why are you job hunting?  

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

√ Because I’m worried about a possible recession

√ Other:  looking for new challenges

Where do you look for open positions?  

Canada’s Partnership Job Board

What position level are you looking for?  

√ Supervisory

√ Department Head

√ Senior Librarian 

√ Director/Dean 

What type(s) of organization are you looking in? 

√ Academic library 

√ Public library 

What part of the world are you in?

√ Canada 

What’s your region like? 

√ Urban area 

Are you willing/able to move for employment? 

√ No 

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

clear responsibilities, work-life balance, collaborative environment

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


What steps, actions, or attributes are most important for employers to take to sell you on the job?  

√ Pay well

√ Having (and describing) excellent benefits

√ Introducing me to staff

√ Having a good reputation 

√ Funding professional development

√ Prioritizing EDI work

√ Prioritizing work-life balance 

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

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

The Process

How much time do you spend preparing an application packet?

2-3 hours

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

review cv – make any relevant updates, take cover letter and match to job posting with relevant experience

How do you prefer to communicate with potential employers?

√ Email 

When would you like potential employers to contact you? 

√ Once the position has been filled, even if it’s not me 

How long do you expect an organization’s application process to take, from the point you submit your documents to the point of either an offer or rejection?

1- 4 months

How do you prepare for interviews?

make a list of questions to ask the panel, take the posting and breakdown into possible questions around experience, update examples of typical questions (ex “tell me about a time you disagreed with a supervisor”)

What are your most hated interview questions, and why?

anything unrelated to the position (hobbies, what I’m reading)

During your current search, have you had any of the following experiences:

  • Submitted an application and got no response  √ Not Applicable
  • Had an interview and never heard back  √ Not Applicable
  • Interviewed for a job where an internal candidate was eventually chosen  √ Not Applicable
  • Asked for an accommodation for a disability √ Not Applicable
  • Withdrawn an application before the offer stage  √ Not Applicable
  • Turned down an offer √ Not Applicable

If you have ever withdrawn an application, why?

obvious mismatch of values, was promoted in the meantime, job was obviously chaotic and a bad work environment

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

clear timelines ex – we expect to interview xxx, or after an interview “we hope to have the process wrapped up by” 

You and Your Well-Being

How are you doing, generally?

√ I’m optimistic 

What are your job search self-care strategies?

only apply for jobs I can see myself doing and enjoying

Do you have any advice or words of support you’d like to share with other job hunters, is there anything you’d like to say to employers, or is there anything else you’d like to say about job hunting?

I’m a mid-career library manager looking for a change with a lot of hiring experience – I’d share that if timelines are going longer than expected it might be due to illness, something occurring with the union, not being able to track down references, etc. Also, interviews are two ways – you want to know that it would be a good fit for you as much as we want to know if you would be a good fit for us. I find that my hiring experience is helping with my current job search 

Job Hunting Post Graduate School 

If you have an MLIS or other graduate level degree in a LIS field, what year did you graduate? (Or what year do you anticipate graduating?)


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

√ After graduating with my MLIS/other LIS degree 

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

√ Less than six months after graduating 

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

√ Full Time 

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

we had mock interviews, resume workshops, co-ops and more. (but this was awhile ago)

Is there anything else you’d like to tell us about searching for or finding your first post-graduation position?

I was a lucky outlier in that I had skills, experience and interest in a growth area when I graduated. I’d recommend students and new grads look at library websites to see what is happening strategically and how they might fit in those frameworks (ex interest in Reconciliation, community outreach, DEI)


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About a Decade Later: Former Job Hunter Kevin Maloney

Back in 2012/2013 I ran a survey of job hunters (co-authored by Naomi House of INALJ). It had over 500 responses, including 117 people who were at least initially willing to be non-anonymous. In this series, we check in with these respondents to see where they are about a decade later. 

Headshot of Kevin, who is wearing a button down shirt and backpack

Kevin Maloney filled out the original survey in 2013 and his answers appeared as A Failed Application or Interview is Much Less Painful When You Take a Learning Experience Out of It. At the time, he was volunteering at a college library and had been job hunting for somewhere between a year and 18 months.

When I checked in with him recently I learned that he’d had an unexpected career path and is now working outside libraries. He seems to still take a learning perspective, and has continued to grow in his new field. He was kind enough to answer my questions below:

Where are you now? What’s your work situation like, and what path did you take to get where you are?

My career path veered far more than I expected. Two years after graduating, I was briefly a weekend manager at a public library, though regrettably that position did not last long. After some five years of searching fruitlessly for a further library position, I briefly took a human resources course at a community college; afterwards I joined a legal transcription firm as an editor and reporter, and now am working with one of the four major banks in Canada as a payment analyst.

Were any parts of your journey completely unexpected?

Practically all of it. It has been an unexpected, uncertain and often difficult professional journey. Quite often I simply ended up giving up on finding anything relevant to my degree, though I would still often go back and try to continue the search.

Looking over your past answers, what pops out at you? Has anything changed? 

The last time, I had mentioned that I felt the secret to being hired is “staying positive and never giving up.” Aside from the fact that I’ve discovered just how hard it can be, I can also say never be afraid to find a position through word of mouth, through the aid of an agency. I have also discovered that informational interviews can be hugely beneficial for narrowing your career path.

Have you had a chance to hire anyone? If so, what was that like?

I have never had the chance to hire anyone, even though, with my brief turn to HR, I would have been more than qualified to do so.

Do you have any advice for job hunters?

Be prepared to endure frustration and disappointment, and do not be afraid to go out of your comfort zone if need be.

Do you have any advice for people who hire LIS folks?

None, other than that us LIS folks are out there and eager for interviews

Anything else you’d like to tell us?

These past ten years were a significant learning experience for me. In part, it forced me to learn to deal with disappointment and adapt to adversity. They also taught me to look for LIS aspects beyond the traditional library setting, and to go out of my comfort zone when searching for a position. Above all else I’d like to say that even now, with my career path having been what it was, I still think my LIS and the learning experience involved were more than worthwhile.

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