Tag Archives: etiquette

Further Questions: What value do you place on the post-interview email or mailed thank you note?

This week we asked people who hire librarians

What value do you place on the post-interview email or mailed thank you note? What advice do you have for individuals interviewing with large committees–do they contact everyone they meet? Or what about other libraries that may not make email addresses easily accessible online–should candidates call and ask for an email address? In short, does sending a note (or not sending one) make or break a candidate’s chances?

In my 10+ years of hiring, I’ve only received thank you notes twice and they didn’t have any bearing on my decision-mostly because the decision was already made by the time I got the note. When we interview here, we usually interview all the candidates on the same day and make the decision quickly. For me, the deciding factor is the interview. A note is nice, but not as nice as a good, solid interview. Say thank you and shake hands at the end, that’s sufficient for me. I think I’m detecting a theme in all my replies to these Hiring Librarian questions: interview well. It’s not an easy skill to acquire, especially if you get nervous or flustered easily, but I can’t stress it enough.

– Margaret Neill, Regional Library Branch Manager, Main Library, El Paso Public Library

Laurie Phillips

If you don’t catch all of the names, it’s perfectly okay to email the chair of the committee – especially if the chair is the one with whom you’ve been communicating. I personally prefer email, but if you don’t have an email address, it’s fine to mail. Keep in mind, though, depending on where you are in the process, we might have already made a decision about your candidacy before we get a mailed thank you note. I like getting follow-up notes from candidates myself. That said, I had one candidate who shot himself in the foot in his thank you note to me. He was fairly aggressive in recommending a course of action with a project we identified for the position and he continued to make recommendations in his thank you note. He knew very little about our situation and, honestly, it wasn’t that we didn’t know how to handle the project. We just needed someone to do it. So I would say, yes, send one, but don’t be obnoxious in your note.

– Laurie Phillips, Associate Dean for Technical Services, J. Edgar & Louise S. Monroe Library, Loyola University New Orleans

angelynn kingA thank-you note is good business etiquette. One copy is sufficient — the committee members should be able to pass it around. If no e-mail address is available, write a paper letter.

It’s not make or break, but it will be noticed. It’s one of those things you should do regardless of whether or not it “gets you the job.”

 

-Angelynn King, Head Librarian, Delaware Technical Community College, Owens Campus

Marleah AugustineI think sending a note (whether by mail or email) is thoughtful and a nice gesture, but it in no way makes or breaks a candidate’s chances. Usually I’ve made a decision based on the content of the interview, application, and information from references.

 

– Marleah Augustine, Adult Department Librarian at Hays Public Library

Samantha Thompson-FranklinI think that it’s important for a candidate to send a thank you note to the members of a search committee after their interview, but whether it’s sent by email or regular mail does not matter. I’ve been on committees where I have received both and either has been fine with me. If you are interviewing with a large committee, I think that it would be appropriate to send one note to the search committee chair and extend it to the other members of the search committee. If email addresses are not readily available, then I would advise to call and ask for the email address of the search committee chair and send a note to that person. They could then forward that email on to the other committee members. Sending a note or not sending a note does not make or break a candidate’s chances at a job but it shows respect and appreciation to the committee for taking the time to meet with you.

– Samantha Thompson-Franklin, Associate Professor/Collections & Acquisitions Librarian, Lewis-Clark State College Library

Thank you as always to our contributors for their time and insight.  If you’re someone who hires librarians and are interested in participating in this feature, please email us at hiringlibrariansquestionsATgmail.com.

Thank YOU for reading!  If you liked reading, you’re going to really love COMMENTING.

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Further Questions: What advice do you have for job seekers, particularly those new to librarianship, looking to build professional networks?

This week we asked people who hire librarians

What advice do you have for job seekers, particularly those new to librarianship, looking to build professional networks? What are some appropriate ways that networking can be used in the job seeking process? Please share your best tips for networking and professional etiquette.

Definitely get involved in your state library association (or if you are wanting to move to another state, get involved with that state library association) as well as the American Library Association. If you have a specialized area of expertise, such as genealogy, there are groups within both that you should consider joining. If you do not know how to get involved or feel like you cannot get your “foot in the door” by all means, just show up to a meeting of your round table and let them know you are interested and that you would like to be involved in a committee, these round tables are always looking for help! This will help you build up your professional networks and you may meet future employers, coworkers or job references in those meetings. In addition, make sure you have a 30 second elevator speech prepared so you can make a good first impression, tell everyone who will listen what your career goals are, if people know what you are looking for they are more likely to help you by introducing you to people that may be hiring.

– Julie Leuzinger, Department Head, Eagle Commons Library, University of North Texas

Cathi AllowayOver 4 decades as a librarian, I have built my network slowly but surely through professional library organizations and, particularly, NON-library groups and organizations.
My launch into public library administration was totally due to networking. I was an officer in the local Special Libraries Association chapter and got recruited and offered a job because of it.  It was a career-changing moment for me.  Ironically, I was in SLA to make friends and get some professional support when times got tough.    SLA was my social life as a young mother and full-time working librarian in a city where I had no family and few acquaintances.  Hint:  if you join an organization simply to get job leads – it tends to show and can be a turn-off to other members. Make sure you have some real passion and alignment for the group’s activities.  Networks help you solve work problems, not just the unemployment problem.  I have many contacts who can help me with personnel, strategy, IT and other issues, and when that happens, you become a valuable asset to an employer.
I have made great community contacts through two different metropolitan community “Leadership” programs.  The training and networking and friends were priceless and gave me skills and contacts that were long-lasting and beneficial.  I continue to volunteer for the one in my community.
In one of my previous library director positions, the library was building a controversial new building.  By joining the local and influential Rotary club, I was able to get to know many community leaders and slowly but surely change their impression of the project and libraries.  Rotary is a huge commitment – weekly meetings – and by rotating around to different tables at each meeting I learned how to introduce myself, converse, convince…and even offend….some people.  It was a great learning lab for professional etiquette.
I recently heard a talk by Renee DiPilato, who is Deputy Director at Alexandria (VA) Public Library.  She is doing a dissertation on library leaders and has found that most of them belong to Rotary clubs and have utilized NON-library networks and conferences to advance their skills and networks.
Catherine Alloway, Director, Schlow Centre Region Library
Thank you as always to our contributors for their time and insight.  If you’re someone who hires librarians and are interested in participating in this feature, please email us at hiringlibrariansquestionsATgmail.com.

Thank YOU for reading!  If you liked reading, you’re going to really love COMMENTING.

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