I have a form that I follow to ensure fairness to candidates by checking off various aspects

 Interior of Townsville library, ca. 1948 This anonymous interview is with a librarian who has been a hiring manager (you are hiring people that you will directly or indirectly supervise). This person works at a a school library with 0-10 staff members.
What are the top three things you look for in a candidate?
1) Positive Attitude – a candidate that will be a pleasure to work with, one that won’t spread negativity around the workplace, things happen that we can’t prevent and having a positive attitude helps everyone work together to solve it
2) Life Long Learners – I want to hire someone that I feel is going to want to be challenged and not stagnate. Today’s world is changing rapidly, new technologies are emerging, the economy is changing. Libraries are always at risk of budget cuts, therefore I want a team that is going to strive to adapt to these changes, stay current with trends and ensure the survival of our library. Working with people who do not feel the desire to learn more, in my experience can be crippling. They tend to resist change and be satisfied with the library staying the exact same for decades. This is not what I’m interested in at all. I want a team that wants challenge.
3) Experience – This may be in the form of an educational background, volunteering, working, etc. whatever the case may be I don’t automatically dismiss candidates if they do not meet the educational requirements of a job. I want to look at the whole picture, what workshops, professional developments, webinars, and experiences do they bring? There are many free options available online that can help develop library and information resource skills. Formal education is an asset and definitely is something that I would consider absolutely essential for starter positions. Candidates may be in the process of completing their degree, so I know that they will bring the newest information to the job and that they are hard-workers if they’re tackling a new job as well as formal education. This is something I would definitely consider and look for in candidates.
Do you have any instant dealbreakers, either in the application packet or the interview process?
 Late to the interview, messy and disorganized looking, poor English language skills, swearing, etc. I think all the usual warning signs that this candidate isn’t going to be a good fit for a customer oriented position. Additionally, candidates that haven’t updated any of the skills in a long time. There are so many free resources online to learn about what’s new out there, to me, it’s inexcusable to not participate in any of these learning opportunities. Libraries are constantly under threats of budget cuts, and becoming obsolete. I don’t want to hire a staff member that is going to contribute to that.
What are you tired of seeing on resumes/in cover letters?
Listing your required tasks and duties on resumes – list your achievements and highlight the unique or challenging aspects of your previous jobs and volunteer experiences
Is there anything that people don’t put on their resumes that you wish they did?
I wish people would put more information about what latest technology and software they are experienced at using i.e. library management software, newest apps, educational resources, etc.

How many pages should a cover letter be?

  • Only one!

How many pages should a resume/CV be?

  •  As many as it takes, but keep it short and sweet

Do you have a preferred format for application documents?

  • .docx

Should a resume/CV have an Objective statement?

  • Yes

If applications are emailed, how should the cover letter be submitted?

  •  I don’t care
What’s the best way to win you over in an interview?
Do your homework – know about what’s going on at our library Be personable and genuine – it’s going to lead to trouble sooner or later if a candidate is being dishonest about qualifications, skills or competencies

What are some of the most common mistakes people make in an interview?

Being dishonest – Don’t tell me about skills you have or places that you have worked that aren’t true. I network constantly with librarians and educators in my field. It doesn’t take much effort for me to pick up the phone or send off an email to verify if what a candidate is saying is true. I’ve sadly caught candidates being dishonest about work experience, and qualifications this way. This will black list candidates in my books forever, how can I ever trust that person in the future?
How has hiring changed at your organization since you’ve been in on the process?
Extensively – I am the only one who does the hiring Previously there was no formal process for making candidate selections. Now I have a form that I follow to ensure fairness to candidates by checking off various aspects that we want to have covered
Anything else you’d like to let job-seekers know?
Be on time, be professional looking (overdressing is MUCH better than underdressing), share what exciting projects or tasks you’re working on currently (even if it’s not directly related to the job). I want to see your energy, what makes you excited and want to work hard.
Are there any other questions you think we should add to this survey?
Perhaps a question about the future of the library could be added, such as: Do you ask the candidate any questions related to what they see the library achieving in the future? I just think it’s so important to hire staff members that share goals with what your library is working towards accomplishing.
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Filed under 0-10 staff members, Original Survey

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

We are a Federal government GSA Contractor.

Librarian by Flickr user Super Furry LibrarianThis anonymous interview is with a hiring manager. This person works at a Federal Government Library with 0-10 staff members.

What are the top three things you look for in a candidate?

Experience, experience, experience

Do you have any instant dealbreakers, either in the application packet or the interview process?

No.

What are you tired of seeing on resumes/in cover letters?

NA

Is there anything that people don’t put on their resumes that you wish they did?

NA

How many pages should a cover letter be?

√ Only one!

How many pages should a resume/CV be?

√Preferably two, but no more than three and only when absolutely necessary.

Do you have a preferred format for application documents?

√.pdf

Should a resume/CV have an Objective statement?

√I don’t care

If applications are emailed, how should the cover letter be submitted?

√I don’t care

What’s the best way to win you over in an interview?

NA

What are some of the most common mistakes people make in an interview?

NA

How has hiring changed at your organization since you’ve been in on the process?

NA

Anything else you’d like to let job-seekers know?

We are a Federal government GSA Contractor.

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

If you’re someone who has participated in hiring library workers, take this survey and share your viewpoint.

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Filed under 0-10 staff members, Original Survey

Nothing is worse than getting hired and then sitting around waiting for information about the hiring process.

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 Academic libraries, Library vendors/service providers, Public libraries, School libraries, and Special libraries, at the following levels: Entry level, Requiring at least two years of experience, Supervisory. This new grad/entry level applicant has internship/volunteering experience:

6 years public library experience (through high school, college, and post-undergrad)
Marketing & Publicity Internship
Youth Activism volunteer

This job hunter is in a city/town, in the Midwestern US, and is willing to move anywhere.

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

 1. If it’s full time and if not, does it pay enough that I could survive for a bit while I look for a second job
2. If FT, benefits/sick/vacation
3. Location. I’m honestly not too picky about location, but it’s difficult to job-search across states as I’ve learned that many employers are very leery about hiring from out of state.

Where do you look for open positions?

ALAJoblist, INALJ (spanning several states), local library websites

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?

Hours: adjusting my cover letter, making sure my resume is up-to-date, making sure I crossed all of my ‘t’s and dotted all of my ‘i’s.

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)?

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

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

Be specific in what it is that you’re looking for in a potential candidate. Yes, being broad in what your post can attract a wide pool of applicants, but what if you get someone who’s great at one thing but downright awful at another? People will pick and choose what attributes of a job application they desire and you won’t get the full package you want.
Hire from outside. OR: do internal recruiting for a week. After a week if there are no internal bites, post the job publicly. It’s incredibly frustrating to apply for a job only to discover that the employer has gone with an internal candidate, despite the job being posted publicly.
Be honest in what is required of the job. Going to require 2 nights and one weekend a month? Mention that.
If it’s part time, will the opportunity arise for it to go full-time? Mention that — especially if it’s a position that could only go full-time if the applicant gets an MLIS.

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

Communicate.
Communicate, communicate, communicate.
Communicate what is happening, where you are in the process, who you are in contact with and who, if anyone, I should be in contact with. Nothing is worse than getting hired and then sitting around waiting for information about the hiring process.

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

I wish I had a clear-cut idea. I wish I could say it’s ‘having a perfect resume!’ or ‘having a stunning cover letter!’ or ‘having TONS of experience’ but surely, it’s not just that. All I can say is be personable and passionate about your profession. Know how to market yourself. If you’re unemployed, learn a new skill, a valuable skill — web design, a programming language. These will make you more marketable and wanted in information professions.

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

Great survey. Loving reading through the responses.

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, City/town, Entry Level, Job hunter's survey, Midwestern US, MLIS Students, Public, School, Special

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 have applied for many jobs and never even gotten a phone interview

PhC42.Bx17.Hunting.F13This 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 libraries, Library vendors/service providers, Public libraries, and Special libraries, at the following levels: Requiring at least two years of experience, and Other: Anything I’m qualified for.  This job hunter is in an urban area, in the Midwestern US, and is willing to move anywhere.

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

Interesting and challenging work
To know my contributions are valued
Good pay

Where do you look for open positions?

LinkedIn
ALA Joblist
Higher Ed joblist
Library websites

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?

It depends. Sometimes hours are spent rewriting my resume and cover letter.

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
√ 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)?

√ Other:  I wouldn’t know. I have applied for many jobs and never even gotten a phone interview

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

I really don’t know anymore.

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

Contact everyone who applies with something other than a robo-email to acknowledge their application.

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

You have to know someone who works there for them to pull your application out of the pile and be your advocate

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, Job hunter's survey, Midwestern US, Special, Urban area

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