Category Archives: Urban area

I felt that I had been somewhat misled before coming in for the interview

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, Public library, Special library, at the following levels: Entry level , Requiring at least two years of experience. Here is this person’s experience with internships/volunteering:

Not entry level, but willing to go back there for the sake of starting somewhere!

This job hunter is in a Urban area in the Western US and is not willing to move anywhere.

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

A sane and collegial work environment, with colleagues who care about their work and about maintaining a harmonious, productive workplace. A good match with my particular interests. Room to expand my skills in new areas.

Where do you look for open positions?

Professional listservs (mostly regional), Indeed.com, Higheredjobs.com, occasionally even Craigslist

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 spend a lot of time customizing my letter and resume for each position, rereading the job description, and, to my constant chagrin, filling out those online application forms, each of which seems to ask for some new, obscure detail I can barely manage to get my hands on. A lot of this time is not active–there’s a combination of procrastinating and revising, the exact balance of which varies depending on my level of excitement about the position.

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

√ Other: I have frequently felt myself in an awkward position when answering the supplemental questions on many applications, which (I hope wrongly) I assume are used for initial screening/weeding of candidates. The wording of these questions is frequently black and white in a way that forces you to choose between discounting relevant experience that may be directly comparable, or risking an accusation of having inflated your claims of experience. I dread these questions, and almost always err on the side of discounting the experience that I think is directly comparable.

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

√ Other: To acknowledge a thank you email after an interview! Receiving a polite, short, and completely noncommittal response feels infinitely better! Surely there is some way to do this politely without giving false hope.

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
√ Other: Having the sense that my understanding of the position from the description/application matches the interviewer’s discussion of it. I have had several experiences where I felt that I had been somewhat misled before coming in for the interview, perhaps accidentally, and each time this has felt like a red flag (among other signs of potential trouble). If the scope of the position is not yet completely worked out, it may be too early to be bringing in candidates! That said, I can imagine that a more flexibly defined position with room for growth could certainly be presented in a positive way.

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

Be specific and as detailed as possible in job descriptions, providing information when possible about salary range, benefits, and scheduling expectations. I would not mind seeing less librarians-as-unbelievably-awesome-superheroes rhetoric in job descriptions, in favor of substantive descriptions of the responsibilities and functions of the position. Be flexible as to how to count previous experience. While recognizing that there are real differences between public and academic librarianship, I tend to think that many job descriptions overemphasize the importance of having public library experience for public library work, and likewise for academic. Surely there is some amount of overlap that is worth valuing, and maybe it is the case that (some) hiring managers factor this in when looking at individual applications–if so, it would be nice to see that reflected in job descriptions. I think that many of us have gotten locked into one track or the other as the result of jobs taken in necessity when starting out.

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

So much! I’ll limit myself to four suggestions, two of which I know are unrealistic. 1. My fantasy is that employers would move away from online application forms and simply require a resume, cover letter, and possibly a list of references. I realize there are reasons for these forms, though, and so I think the next best thing is to move to standardized, common application forms (e.g., GovernmentJobs.com) whenever possible. 2. One of the most important things I think employers can do is to recognize that many new librarians are frequently managing to get experience through cobbling together a number of part-time or sometimes extremely contingent positions. If you understand this, feel that two or three jobs simultaneously held are not equivalent to one full-time job (I’m not saying this is indefensible), and ask questions (supplemental questions, say) about years of experience, then it would be very helpful to provide examples of how to calculate years of experience that resemble the employment reality that many of your applicants have been facing. It would also be nice to see hourly wages given as an option on application forms when salary is being inquired about. 3. My other fantasy comes back to my enduring fear that supplemental questions are used to disqualify applications in bulk, without a human reviewing them. If that is the case, then I would love to see these questions function as a self-screening that would tell applicants up front, “don’t bother: you’re not qualified for this position!” and not allow them to proceed any further. Like I said, it’s a fantasy. I guess what I am trying to say is that if these supplemental questions are yes/no questions with no room for elaboration, they should be thought out very carefully, and should represent real, absolute deal-breakers rather than a wish-list. 4. Probably the most inevitable source of pain for those of us on the market is the uncertainty of when you will hear back from anyone. It is so hard, when you’ve applied or interviewed somewhere, to keep in mind that the hiring process is likely not the highest priority of that institution, and that there are bound to be reasonable causes of delay. I would just hope that employers can remember how miserable it is on the other end, and do everything in their power to update applicants/candidates as promptly as possible, and at multiple stages of the process. I would also say that if it’s not necessarily feasible to give candidates who are interviewing a more *realistic* idea of a timeframe, it is possible to name only the outer limit of your estimate. (It should take one week, but might take two? Tell them two, not one.) I think most of us would much rather be surprised by early news than agonize through a Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday when we’ve been told on Monday that there will definitely be a decision by the end of the week.

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

Solidly meeting all of the most important requirements–and then some combination of the following: luck, timing, knowing someone, interviewing skill, and that nebulous thing, “fit.”

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

This is a great blog

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, Job hunter's survey, Public, Special, Urban area, Western US

I’m often unsure as to how much professional experience employers will see me as having

Woman with gun and hunting dogs Tallahassee, Florida by State Archive of Florida via Flickr CommonsThis 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 Six months to a year. This person is looking in Academic library, Public library at the following levels: 

I apply for anything I think I have a shot

at–I only recently got my MLIS, but have worked in libraries for 10+ years, so I’m often unsure as to how much professional experience employers will see me as having.

This job hunter is in a urban area in the Southern US and is willing to move: I have certain areas I’m more willing to move to, but for the right job, I’m not ruling any location out.

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

An emphasis on user services, a comfortable salary range, and location that appeals to me.

Where do you look for open positions?

The big ones are ALA joblist, INALJ, and a weekly joblist email run by the program I graduated from. There are others I check periodically, but those are the big three.

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?

A few hours to a few days, depending on the job. I’ll usually look over the job posting a few times and look up the institution if I’m not already familiar with it, and I have a couple of form cover letters I’ll tailor to the job posting.

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

√ Other: I’ve exaggerated, but never outright lied.

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

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

Be clear in the posting about what the job entails and what the salary/benefits are, try to communicate with job seekers clearly and promptly.What should employers do to make the hiring process less painful?

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

Be sympathetic to the strain that jobhunting in earnest can put on a candidate. We’re constantly asked to demonstrate our enthusiasm for the job and sell ourselves as the best candidate, while at the same time knowing it might be weeks, months, or never before we hear anything back. It’s exhausting, and anything employers can do to make that easier is appreciated, even if it’s just touching base to let us know we’re still in consideration for the job.

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

Honestly, I think it has a lot to do with luck. Judging from the number of library people I know who are currently jobhunting right now, there seem to be no shortage of qualified candidates for jobs, so I think there’s probably an element of being the one who says/does the right thing at the right time to catch and hold the employer’s interest.

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 Job hunter's survey, Midwestern US, Urban area

try volunteer work to pad your resume and show you’re serious

Astor Market - Demonstrating CoffeeThis 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:

Reference and public service librarians, branch managers, technical service and collection development librarians, archivists

This librarian works at a library with 10-50 staff members in an urban area in the Western 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?

√ 26-50 %

And how would you define “hirable”?

Has that difficult to describe mix of experience, knowledge, personality and practicality.

How are applications evaluated, and by whom?

HR weeds out people who don’t meet the minimum criteria. Once those applicants are pulled, the hiring committee gets the applications and resumes and each person chooses 5 candidates. Then we all get together, see who we chose (usually it’s a mix of the same people) and choose 5 final candidates to interview.

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: Upon request

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

Apply for jobs you are qualified for. If you don’t have experience in an area, then try volunteer work to pad your resume and show you’re serious. I have hired people who didn’t have paid work experience, but had volunteer experience, so it does work.

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?

√ 2

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?

√ Yes

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

No, just an MLS, although when we look at resumes, we do tend to interview people who have had some experience in public libraries-even if it’s volunteer.

Is librarianship a dying profession?

√ No

Why or why not?

It’s changing, not dying.

 

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, Public, State of the Job Market 2015, Urban area, Western US

Creative, easy to work with, a self-starter/proactive, and tech savvy.

Market scene in Paramaribo 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:

Reference Librarians

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

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

√ 75-100

How are applications evaluated, and by whom?

Applications are screened by the interview committee which consists of librarians, staff, an equity officer and administrators.

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

Lack of appropriate 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?

Get relevant experience.

I want to hire someone who is

Creative, easy to work with, a self-starter/proactive, and tech savvy.

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?

√ 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

Is librarianship a dying profession?

√ No

Why or why not?

Libraries are changing, but they are still relevant.

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, Midwestern US, State of the Job Market 2015, Urban area

had experience with technology and people of all ages & ethnicities

Pike Place Market looking north, Seattle, Washington 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:

catalogers, selectors, reference, children’s, managers, web content

This librarian works at a library with 200+ staff members in an urban area city/town suburban area rural area in the Midwestern US.

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

√ more than 200

Approximately what percentage of those would you say were hirable?

√ 25% or less

And how would you define “hirable”?

Had current degree, had experience with technology and people of all ages & ethnicities, had customer service experience, performed well in interview, had professional cover letter resume.

How are applications evaluated, and by whom?

Evaluated for education, appropriate answers for supplemental questions, professionalism.

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

Answered no to a supplemental question which means they either don’t have experience working with people of all ages & ethnicities or they don’t have experience with technology.

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

√ Yes

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

Have customer service experience, enthusiasm for technology, and be approachable, professional and outgoing.

I want to hire someone who is

friendly.

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?

√ 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?

They do not need to have professional experience but they should have some work history.

Is librarianship a dying profession?

√ No

Why or why not?

It’s evolving. We need librarians to lead services and staff, not to staff reference desks.

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, Public, Rural area, State of the Job Market 2015, Suburban area, Urban area

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.

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

regardless of what all the tattooed spunky hipster librarians think.

Push cart market -- New York (LOC)This anonymous interview is with an academic librarian who has been a hiring manager, a member of a hiring or search committee, and a human resources professional. This person hires the following types of LIS professionals:

ALA accredited only cataloguers, instruction & reference librarians, subject liaisons

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

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?

√ 26-50 %

And how would you define “hirable”?

Meets or exceeds the skill sets and qualifications posted. Will fit into our work culture.

How are applications evaluated, and by whom?

Our software weeds the applications that meet the % of keywords we set. Then I pour through the applications. Then I send a copy to each person on the hiring team with a rubric. We meet once to compare rubrics and make the final determination on the tops candidates to invite for interviews.

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

Does not meet the lowest qualifications. No cover letter. Spelling and grammar mistakes. Arrogance and exuding an unearned “I am awesome! entitlement attitude, while not mentioning why they are a good fit for us. Ultimately, that is what we care about- do you understand where you are applying and what position you are applying for AND what do you bring to our already stellar workplace.

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

√ Other: If asked I will give feedback informally and only verbally. Never written and never unsolicited. Ok- I have given gentle unsolicited advice to really newly librarians who were earnest and I knew it would be well received.

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

Besides the obvious: read the position description. Apply to THAT job. Follow the directions. Proofread.
And most importantly, work on their emotional intelligence and politeness. You may have all the mad skills in the world, but if you are rude to our secretary while being an ass kisser to me- I will never hire you.
I need to know you can pick up on social cues, that you can be professional to people you may not like, that you can handle yourself. I can teach you how to do the technical reference interview- I cannot teach you how to handle a grieving parent looking for headstones, or a mentally ill person looking for the nearest homeless shelter.

I want to hire someone who is

astute

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?

√ 2

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, but it happens in practice.

Is librarianship a dying profession?

√ Yes

Why or why not?

The actual “work’ of librarians is being done by techs. Ref desk, cataloguers, systems librarians: all of these positions can be filled by people with BA’s in computer science, communications, and even English degrees.
Librarians without a subject specialty MA- even in public libraries will go by the wayside. You have to specialize to be recognized and even then the admin will expect you to be able to run the circ desk, hold story time, man the ref hours, and do online assistance.
I have no belief that Librarianship as a profession will be able to hold on. regardless of what all the tattooed spunky hipster librarians think.
We are all replaceable because we have no identity and once the ALA accepts the ridiculous Threshold Concepts- we won’t even be able to hold a conversation in academia without looking like the morons we allowed ourselves to become.

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