Tag Archives: GLAM careers

“‘where do you see yourself in 10 years?’ that is a very long time, how am I to know??”

Hollingsworth John and Karen, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Please note: this is an anonymous response to an online survey; I do not have any way of contacting the respondent or verifying responses. Their answers may reflect good, bad, or middling job searching practices. I invite you to take what’s useful and leave the rest.

Your Demographics and Search Parameters

How long have you been job hunting?

√ Less than six months

Why are you job hunting?  

√ I’m unemployed 

Where do you look for open positions?  

local lib and government sites, linkedin, institution specific job listings

What position level are you looking for?  

√ Entry level

√ Requiring at least two years of experience 

√ Clerk/Library Assistant 

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

√ Academic library

√ Archives 

√ Public library 

What part of the world are you in?

√ Western US (including Pacific Northwest) 

What’s your region like? 

√ Urban area

√ Suburban area 

Are you willing/able to move for employment? 

√ Yes, within my state

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

good wage, potential to branch out skills/ learn on the job, good work environment

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

2-3 (just started)

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

√ Pay well 

√ Introducing me to staff 

√ Funding professional development 

√ 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 

Other than not listing a salary range, are there other “red flags” that would prevent you from applying to a job?

expecting tons of experience/education qualifications for a job that doesn’t require it (even if you have it)

The Process

How much time do you spend preparing an application packet?

at least a few hours to make, then a day or two to review

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

research institution, tailor resume to position, produce and tailor extra written material, give to others to review, submit forms

How do you prefer to communicate with potential employers?

√ Email 

When would you like potential employers to contact you? 

√ To acknowledge my application

√ To tell me if the search is at the interview stage, even if I have not been selected

√ 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?

usually around a month, if it is an educational institution preparing for a future semester I expect a while longer 

How do you prepare for interviews?

check institution standards/mission if available, come up with answers to general interview questions, find key words/phrase to somehow include, practice with someone

What are your most hated interview questions, and why?

“where do you see yourself in 10 years?” that is a very long time, how am I to know??

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  √ Happened once 
  • Asked for an accommodation for a disability  √ Not Applicable
  • Withdrawn an application before the offer stage  √ Not Applicable
  • Turned down an offer √ Not Applicable

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

be transparent

You and Your Well-Being

How are you doing, generally?

√ I’m maintaining

√ I’m somewhat depressed

√ I’m despondent  

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“Interviews make me feel like I’m being psychoanalysed and I have to word every sentence perfectly”

Series: Reagan White House Photographs, 1/20/1981 – 1/20/1989 Collection: White House Photographic Collection, 1/20/1981 – 1/20/1989, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Please note: this is an anonymous response to an online survey; I do not have any way of contacting the respondent or verifying responses. Their answers may reflect good, bad, or middling job searching practices. I invite you to take what’s useful and leave the rest.

Your Demographics and Search Parameters

How long have you been job hunting?

√ Six months to a year 

Why are you job hunting?  

√ This is the next step after finishing library/archives/other LIS graduate degree√ I’m underemployed (not enough hours or overqualified for current position)

√ Looking for more money 

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

√ My current job is temporary

√ My current job provides insufficient or no benefits (Healthcare or beyond) 

√ Because I’m worried about a possible recession

√ Other: looking for work in a different location

Where do you look for open positions?  

any job posting website that sends email notifications 

What position level are you looking for?  

√ Entry level 

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

√ Archives 

√ Other: historical society, National Park Service, state park service, local government, records management, museums

What part of the world are you in?

√ Midwestern US 

What’s your region like? 

√ Urban area 

Are you willing/able to move for employment? 

√ Yes, to a specific list of places

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

location, pay, benefits

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

15

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 

√ Prioritizing work-life balance

√ Other: describing/showing daily duties

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

√ Only for certain kinds of employers

Other than not listing a salary range, are there other “red flags” that would prevent you from applying to a job?

application link does not go directly to an employer’s website, website looks like a scam, description is vague or does not list expectations and requirements in detail, there is no direct contact information and name for the hiring manager/person 

The Process

How much time do you spend preparing an application packet?

10 hours

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

revise CV, revise Linked In, revise online portfolio, contact references, write cover letter, fill out application materials

How do you prefer to communicate with potential employers?

√ Email 

When would you like potential employers to contact you? 

√ To acknowledge my application 

√ 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?

*lmfao* This differs so widely that I have no idea. It would be nice though if employers gave an accurate estimation of the time; they usually don’t provide one, but when they do its is often weeks off. 

How do you prepare for interviews?

practice, review cv, study the institution 

What are your most hated interview questions, and why?

all: none of them are straightforward and honest questions. Interviews make me feel like I’m being psychoanalysed and I have to word every sentence perfectly. 

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

  • Submitted an application and got no response  √ Happened the majority of the time or always 
  • 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 √ Happened once 

If you’ve turned down an offer (or offers), why?

got a better part-time position 

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

be honest, provide benefits, change interviews to demonstrations of skill/knowledge and tests of team cohesion rather than psychoanalyst questions, let people know they weren’t hired, write clear job descriptions/qualifications, include expected start dates/interview process dates in the job posting 

You and Your Well-Being

How are you doing, generally?

√ I’m running out of money 

√ Other: about to start looking for work in a different field

What are your job search self-care strategies?

only apply to what matches my ‘perfect’ description: I’ll apply to anything once I’m desperate enough to start applying outside GLAMs

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?

Communication is key: when you don’t contact people to let them know about a job, you make your institution look like it sees people as resources not people. We put a lot of time into these applications, so don’t dismiss us.   

Do you have any comments for Emily (the survey author) or are there any other questions you think we should add to this survey?

Just want to note that I am focused on a very narrow location region, and very few jobs are posted for this region (I’m trying to move home to care for ailing parents), so my job search experience and strategies might be very different than others who have more flexibility in their location options. 

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?)

May 2023

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

√ More than six months before graduating with my MLIS/other LIS degree 

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

√ I was actually hired before I graduated 

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

√ Part Time 

√ Temporary/Limited Term 

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

kind of: they send out emails about positions 

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“One time someone asked me what my favorite show on Netflix was and I was confused why he asked that question.”

Hollingsworth John and Karen, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Please note: this is an anonymous response to an online survey; I do not have any way of contacting the respondent or verifying responses. Their answers may reflect good, bad, or middling job searching practices. I invite you to take what’s useful and leave the rest.

Your Demographics and Search Parameters

How long have you been job hunting?

√ More than 18 months 

Why are you job hunting?  

√ I’m underemployed (not enough hours or overqualified for current position) 

√ Looking for more money

√ Looking for a promotion/more responsibility 

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

√ Looking for remote/virtual work (or at least hybrid) 

√ I need more flexibility in my schedule (to care for dependents or otherwise) 

Where do you look for open positions?  

INALJ, LinkedIn, Flexjobs, Simply Hired, Archives List

What position level are you looking for?  

√ Requiring at least two years of experience

√ Supervisory 

√ Senior Librarian 

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

√ Archives 

√ Special library 

What part of the world are you in?

√ Midwestern US 

What’s your region like? 

√ Urban area

√ Suburban area 

Are you willing/able to move for employment? 

√ Other: I am not allowed to move

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

flexibility, salary, experience

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

30

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 work-life balance

√ Other: Plenty of vacation and sick time

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

√ No (even if I might think it *should* be) 

Other than not listing a salary range, are there other “red flags” that would prevent you from applying to a job?

can’t think of any right now

The Process

How much time do you spend preparing an application packet?

5 hours

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

read the job description, highlight my skills, prepare resume and cover letter

How do you prefer to communicate with potential employers?

√ Phone for good news, email for bad news 

When would you like potential employers to contact you? 

√ To acknowledge my application

√ To tell me if the search is at the interview stage, even if I have not been selected

√ 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?

One month

How do you prepare for interviews?

I take deep breaths.  I have the resume, cover letter and job description in front of me.

What are your most hated interview questions, and why?

One time someone asked me what my favorite show on Netflix was and I was confused why he asked that question.  I don’t like any questions that deal with my personal life because I don’t want to talk about it and it created biases.

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

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

If you’ve turned down an offer (or offers), why?

The jobs were out of state and my parents did not want me to move out of state.  I was crushed.

If you want to share a great, inspirational, funny,  horrific or other story about an experience you have had at any stage in the hiring process, please do so here:

Last summer I had an interview with Ohio State for their audiovisual position.  Originally it was going to be a virtual interview.  So I turn on my computer and logged into the Zoom room and waited.  After 10 minutes I contacted the HR rep and asked what was going on.  Without warning the HR rep said that the interviewer changed her mind and wanted to do a phone interview instead and tried to call me.  So I went upstairs, grabbed my phone and called the interviewer.  What was suppose to be a 20 minute interview turned into a 45 minute interview because the calls kept dropping on her end; it was also hard to hear.  Then after 4 weeks I contacted the HR rep to ask for an update and the HR rep said they already hired someone and that I should interview for a lesser audiovisual position.  Reluctantly I agreed and that was also a disaster.  The Zoom connection was bad and I never heard from Ohio State.  My experience with Ohio State was so bad that I urge people not to apply there.

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

Not ghost job applicants

You and Your Well-Being

How are you doing, generally?

√ I’m maintaining

√ I’m somewhat depressed  

√ Other: I’m burnt out from job searching and I feel hopeless that I will be stuck in my current job forever making $14.98 an hour for the rest of my working life.

What are your job search self-care strategies?

Breaks

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?

Job hunting truly is a full-time job.  

Do you have any comments for Emily (the survey author) or are there any other questions you think we should add to this survey?

Thank you for allowing me to share by Ohio State horror story.

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?)

2013

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?

√ Six months to a year after graduating 

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

√ Temporary/Limited Term 

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

Hell no

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

Since I didn’t have previous library experience it was hard to get in.  I felt that it was used against me.

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“If i’m not getting interviewed or being considered, I don’t want to hear from them”

Richey, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Please note: this is an anonymous response to an online survey; I do not have any way of contacting the respondent or verifying responses. Their answers may reflect good, bad, or middling job searching practices. I invite you to take what’s useful and leave the rest.

Your Demographics and Search Parameters

How long have you been job hunting?

√ A year to 18 months 

Why are you job hunting?  

√ This is the next step after finishing library/archives/other LIS graduate degree 

√ Looking for more money

√ Looking for a promotion/more responsibility 

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

√ I want to work with a different type of collection 

Where do you look for open positions?  

Archives Gig, Indeed

What position level are you looking for?  

√ Entry level

√ Requiring at least two years of experience 

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

√ Academic library

√ Archives 

√ Special library 

What part of the world are you in?

√ Northeastern US 

What’s your region like? 

√ Suburban area 

Are you willing/able to move for employment? 

√ Yes, anywhere 

√ Yes, as long as at least some of my moving costs are covered 

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

Interesting collection to work with, good pay/benefits and positive work environment

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

10-15

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 

√ 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 

Other than not listing a salary range, are there other “red flags” that would prevent you from applying to a job?

“we’re like a family”, requiring odd hours or overtime

The Process

How much time do you spend preparing an application packet?

1-2 hours

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

gather all my documents, read through them and compile as I go

How do you prefer to communicate with potential employers?

√ Phone for good news, email for bad news 

When would you like potential employers to contact you? 

√ Other: If i’m not getting interviewed or being considered, I don’t want to hear from them

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?

2 months max

How do you prepare for interviews?

meditate

What are your most hated interview questions, and why?

Questions about weaknesses. You either lie and say something that is really a strength, or you have to reveal a weakness to your potential employer.

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

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

If you have ever withdrawn an application, why?

Got a full-time job and the other was only part-time  

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

Transparency. And don’t waste peoples time by asking them to submit the same info over and over again in different forms.

You and Your Well-Being

How are you doing, generally?

√ I’m maintaining 

What are your job search self-care strategies?

Remind myself that rejection is part of the process and natural.

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?)

Graduating this year (2023)

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

√ More than six months before graduating with my MLIS/other LIS degree 

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

√ I was actually hired before I graduated 

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

√ Part Time 

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

Yes! SJSU 

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“no boss-nanny software, no micromanaging”

Walton LaVonda, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Please note: this is an anonymous response to an online survey; I do not have any way of contacting the respondent or verifying responses. Their answers may reflect good, bad, or middling job searching practices. I invite you to take what’s useful and leave the rest.

Your Demographics and Search Parameters

How long have you been job hunting?

√ Less than six months

Why are you job hunting?  

√ Looking for more money 

√ Looking for remote/virtual work (or at least hybrid) 

√ Other: current job NEVER gives raises, even COLA is rare, and we’re facing big budget cuts which will significantly change the nature of my work in ways I do not want

Where do you look for open positions? (e.g. INALJ, ALA JobLIST, professional listserv, LinkedIn)  

all of the above, plus Indeed and a Discord I’m part of

What position level are you looking for?  

√ Other: expert in grant writing, maybe something like project manager? feeling necessary to look outside libraries

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

√ Academic library 

√ Library vendor/service provider

√ Public library 

√ Special library

√ Other: outside of libraries but still in information-based roles

What part of the world are you in?

√ Midwestern US 

What’s your region like? 

√ Rural area 

Are you willing/able to move for employment? 

√ No 

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

100% remote, relative autonomy (no boss-nanny software, no micromanaging), pays decent with benefits for me + spouse

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

0 yet

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 

√ Having a good reputation 

√ Prioritizing EDI work

√ Prioritizing work-life balance

√ Other: assurance of relative autonomy to do my job without being babysat

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

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

Other than not listing a salary range, are there other “red flags” that would prevent you from applying to a job?

bro-speak

The Process

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 

You and Your Well-Being

How are you doing, generally?

√ I’m optimistic  

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?)

2001 

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

√ I was actually hired before I graduated 

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

√ Full Time 

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“when the description sounds suspiciously like a facilities management job”

Hollingsworth John and Karen, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Please note: this is an anonymous response to an online survey; I do not have any way of contacting the respondent or verifying responses. Their answers may reflect good, bad, or middling job searching practices. I invite you to take what’s useful and leave the rest.

Your Demographics and Search Parameters

How long have you been job hunting?

√ Less than six months 

Why are you job hunting?  

√ This is the next step after finishing library/archives/other LIS graduate degree 

√ Looking for more money 

√ My current job is temporary 

Where do you look for open positions?  

LinkedIn, ArchivesGig

What position level are you looking for?  

√ Entry level

√ Requiring at least two years of experience 

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

√ Academic library

√ Archives 

√ Special library 

What part of the world are you in?

√ Southeastern US 

What’s your region like? 

√ Suburban area 

Are you willing/able to move for employment? 

√ Yes, to a specific list of places 

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

A collection that’s interesting to me, fair pay, good colleagues

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

5

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

√ Pay well 

√ Introducing me to staff 

√ Taking me out for a meal

√ Funding professional development 

√ 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 

Other than not listing a salary range, are there other “red flags” that would prevent you from applying to a job?

When an entry-level job requires “five years of experience”; when the pay range is very low; when the description sounds suspiciously like a facilities management job; when the responsibilities sound like the job of 2-3 people, not 1, and the pay is not commensurate.

The Process

How much time do you spend preparing an application packet?

30-45 minutes

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

Read the job description thoroughly. Do basic research on company/organization, including Glassdoor search. Revise/update my resume to ensure the vocabulary reflects the vocabulary in the job description. Draft a cover letter. Make sure the formatting requirements are met. Complete application steps as laid out on job/HR portal.

How do you prefer to communicate with potential employers?

√ No preference 

When would you like potential employers to contact you? 

√ To acknowledge my application

√ To tell me if the search is at the interview stage, even if I have not been selected

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

√ Other: To provide feedback on interview.

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?

2 to 5 months.

How do you prepare for interviews?

Company/organization research, a good night’s sleep, plenty of coffee and water.

What are your most hated interview questions, and why?

When employers ask you to describe scenarios you’ve experienced to address a particular problem. Seems they’re fishing for something very specific and they’re never terribly satisfied with the answer.

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

  • Submitted an application and got no response  √ Happened more than once 
  • 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?

Yes, in my previous career. I had a request for an interview but upon researching the company further I felt it was not a good fit for me.

If you’ve turned down an offer (or offers), why?

Low pay and other red flags regarding quality of life, responsibilities, team members.

If you want to share a great, inspirational, funny,  horrific or other story about an experience you have had at any stage in the hiring process, please do so here:

I was turned down for an internship with a well-known organization, but the HR representative was so kind, communicative and positive that I couldn’t feel too badly about the experience. Interactions like these really stand out and give me encouragement not to give up in general or rule out the specific organization in the future.

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

More courtesy, more transparency, and more feedback.

You and Your Well-Being

How are you doing, generally?

√ I’m optimistic 

√ I’m frustrated

√ I’m energized 

√ Not out of money yet, but worried 

√ Other: I feel somewhat supported, but support often takes the form of generalized borderline cliches vs. specific constructive action.

What are your job search self-care strategies?

I don’t know what job search self-care would look like.

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 know my situation is not unique, but job searching can be very lonely and frustrating. Even up to and beyond the point of job offers, employers often come across as playing hardball vs. investing in a person they feel will contribute something of value to their organization. I know very well that HR exists to represent company interests and not individual contributors’ interests, but there needs to be some serious reform in how organizations deal with people, both prospective hires and employees of all levels.

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?)

Spring 2023

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

√ Six months before graduating with my MLIS/other LIS degree

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

√ Hasn’t happened yet – I’m still looking 

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

√ N/A – hasn’t happened yet 

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

The career counseling in my program is very much geared toward young professionals who have never done a formal job search in any profession. I don’t find their services helpful. 

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Filed under 2023 Job Hunter's Survey

“currently employed in the LIS field, but have been applying to jobs sporadically if they interest me.”

Hillebrand Steve, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Please note: this is an anonymous response to an online survey; I do not have any way of contacting the respondent or verifying responses. Their answers may reflect good, bad, or middling job searching practices. I invite you to take what’s useful and leave the rest.

Your Demographics and Search Parameters

How long have you been job hunting?

√ Other: currently employed in the LIS field, but have been applying to jobs sporadically if they interest me.

Why are you job hunting?  

√ I’m underemployed (not enough hours or overqualified for current position) 

√ Looking for more money 

Where do you look for open positions?  

Indeed, ArchivesGig, Museum Savvy

What position level are you looking for?  

√ Requiring at least two years of experience 

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

√ Archives 

What part of the world are you in?

√ Northeastern US 

What’s your region like? 

√ Urban area 

Are you willing/able to move for employment? 

√ Yes, anywhere 

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

sufficient pay, interesting to me, and varied responsibilities

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

about 10

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 

√ 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 

Other than not listing a salary range, are there other “red flags” that would prevent you from applying to a job?

hiring several positions at once (unless they are new positions)

The Process

How much time do you spend preparing an application packet?

30 minutes to an hour (depending on application requirements)

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

update resume, write a cover letter, research institution

How do you prefer to communicate with potential employers?

√ Email 

When would you like potential employers to contact you? 

√ To acknowledge my application

√ To tell me if the search is at the interview stage, even if I have not been selected

√ 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?

One to two months

How do you prepare for interviews?

research the institution and re-read the job description

What are your most hated interview questions, and why?

“Tell me about yourself” because it seems like the interviewer did not read my resume or cover letter.

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

  • Submitted an application and got no response  √ Happened the majority of the time or always 
  • Had an interview and never heard back √ Not Applicable
  • Interviewed for a job where an internal candidate was eventually chosen  √ I don’t know 
  • Asked for an accommodation for a disability √ Not Applicable
  • Withdrawn an application before the offer stage √ Not Applicable
  • Turned down an offer √ Not Applicable

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

Keep in better contact with those applying for positions, even if they are not considered for an interview. This will keep job hunters from wasting their time waiting for an institution to contact them.

You and Your Well-Being

How are you doing, generally?

√ I’m optimistic

√ I’m maintaining 

What are your job search self-care strategies?

n/a

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?

Have a cover letter and resume “template” that you can easily adjust to fit various job descriptions.

Do you have any comments for Emily (the survey author) or are there any other questions you think we should add to this survey?

Could include a question regarding compensation of jobs individuals are applying for. For example, “What is your desired salary for a new position?” or “What is the typical pay range for positions you’ve applied to?”

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?)

2021

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

√ Less than six months before graduating with my MLIS/other LIS degree, but still before I graduated 

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

√ I was actually hired before I graduated

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

√ Full Time 

√ Contract

√ Temporary/Limited Term 

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

No

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

I interned at the institution prior to being hired by them. Also, I was kept on after my six-month term/contract and am now permanent staff.

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Filed under 2023 Job Hunter's Survey

Free Hiring Librarians Webinar for Folks Who Hire and More News

Hello Friends and Colleagues!

Free Hiring Librarians Webinar Next Week

Folks who hire LIS workers, please join me next Wednesday at 10 AM Eastern for a free webinar hosted by the Indiana State Library. I’ll be using results from the job hunters survey as well as current research and my own thoughts and ideas to talk about how YOU can improve your recruitment strategies. The goal is a better understanding of how to get clear on your needs, communicate effectively with candidates, and above all center kindness in an arduous process. You will leave with a practical guide to revamping your announcements and reaching great candidates.

Learn more/sign up here

This is hosted by the Indiana State Library’s Office of Professional Development, which supports library staff with tons of free webinars each month. Just as an aside, did you know Indiana requires that many public library staff be certified? With continuing education requirements for some? Interesting, huh? This means that they have A LOT of free professional development content, and you don’t have to be a Hoosier to access it.

and More News: No Ads!

For the last year or so I have been (fairly halfheartedly) experimenting with ways to make Hiring Librarians pay for itself and maybe even recompense me for my time. If you want to read more about the costs and strategies, I break them down on the Participate page. I also have a link there for Paypal donations.

My new strategy is to stop running ads and see if folks are interested in being Patreon supporters. If you’d like to help fund the blog for the low low cost of $3, $8, or $12 per month (cancel anytime!) please navigate to: https://www.patreon.com/hiringlibrarians and thank you!

Your Pal,

Emily

A drawing of a man with a bugle, with a banner that says ads. A circle with a slash is superimposed on it.
Northeast Texas Digital Collections: 1920 Locust yearbook, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

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Filed under News and Administration

“Being too rule oriented”

Mitchell LIbrarian, Mitchell Building. Photo by Flickr user State Library of New South Wales

Please note: this is an anonymous response to an online survey; I do not have any way of contacting the respondent or verifying responses. Their answers may reflect good, bad, or middling hiring practices. I invite you to take what’s useful and leave the rest.  

This person hires for a:

√ Public Library 

Title: Assistant Director

Titles hired include: Library Assistant, library page, maintenance worker, courier

Who makes hiring decisions at your organization:

√ The position’s supervisor 

Which of the following does your organization regularly require of candidates?

√ References 

Does your organization use automated application screening? 

√ No 

Briefly describe the hiring process at your organization and your role in it:

Vet application, in person interview I do both

Think about the last candidate who really wowed you, on paper, in an interview, or otherwise. Why were they so impressive?

Had a good idea of what the job required

Do you have any instant dealbreakers?

Discriminatory attitudes, thinking the job is easy

What do you wish you could know about candidates that isn’t generally revealed in the hiring process?

Discriminatory attitudes

How many pages should each of these documents be?

Cover Letter: √ We don’t ask for this  

Resume: √ We don’t ask for this 

CV: √ We don’t ask for this 

What is the most common mistake that people make in an interview?

Being too rule oriented

Do you conduct virtual interviews? What do job hunters need to know about shining in this setting?

No

How can candidates looking to transition from paraprofessional work, from non-library work, or between library types convince you that their experience is relevant? Or do you have other advice for folks in this kind of situation?

Show they have a good idea of the depth of skills the job requires

When does your organization *first* mention salary information?

√ It’s part of the job ad 

What does your organization do to reduce bias in hiring? What are the contexts in which discrimination still exists in this process?

We haven’t focused on this.

What questions should candidates ask you? What is important for them to know about your organization and the position you are hiring for?

What do you like best about working here? Is there training?

Additional Demographics

What part of the world are you in?

√ Midwestern US 

What’s your region like?

√ Suburban 

Is your workplace remote/virtual?

√ Some of the time and/or in some positions 

How many staff members are at your organization?

√ 51-100

 Author’s note: Hey, thanks for reading! If you like reading, why not try commenting or sharing? Or are you somebody who hires Library, Archives or other LIS workers? Please consider giving your own opinion by filling out the survey here.

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Filed under 1 A Return to Hiring Librarians Survey, 50-100 staff members, Midwestern US, Suburban area

“You can train a lot of things, but it’s nearly impossible to make someone care”

Two men in suits are behind a circulation desk
Ignore the camera, pretend to be working! By Flickr user National Library of Ireland on The Commons

Please note: this is an anonymous response to an online survey; I do not have any way of contacting the respondent or verifying responses. Their answers may reflect good, bad, or middling hiring practices. I invite you to take what’s useful and leave the rest.  

This person hires for a:

√ Public Library 

Title: Head of Information Services

Titles hired include: Adult Services Librarian, Youth Services Librarian, Technical Services Assistant

Who makes hiring decisions at your organization:

√ Library Administration

√ The position’s supervisor 

Which of the following does your organization regularly require of candidates?

√ Online application

√ Cover letter

√ Resume

√ References 

√ Supplemental Questions 

√ Demonstration (teaching, storytime, etc) 

Does your organization use automated application screening? 

√ No 

Briefly describe the hiring process at your organization and your role in it:

Supervisor and Assistant Director review JD/Job Narrative, agree on posting timeline and posting locations. Admin Assistant posts. Supervisor reviews applications and narrows to a reasonable number. Supervisor and two peers review chosen applications and interview. After all interviews are conducted, the supervisor and two peers compare results. Supervisor checks references, and uses references and interview feedback to make a decision. Assistant Director approves suggested salary. Director signs off on hire. Supervisor calls candidate and extends offer. If a candidate accepts, the first day is agreed upon. Offer letter is emailed and orientation scheduled. 

Think about the last candidate who really wowed you, on paper, in an interview, or otherwise. Why were they so impressive?

Their attitude and values aligned perfectly with the job description. They were professional but enthusiastic, on time to the interview and asked good, relevant questions that showcased their interest. 

What are your instant dealbreakers?

We cannot interview candidates for librarian jobs without an MLIS/MSI. The job also requires evening and weekend work, and we cannot hire if none of their references responds to inquiries.  Otherwise, instant dealbreakers would be hateful language or inappropriate jokes or conduct. Smaller red flags are tardiness or failure to follow instructions; inappropriately criticizing their current employer during the interview; failure to fully answer questions; questions that only focus on pto/time off/vacations (this question is fine, but not if it’s their only question); candidates who express distaste for working with people, running events, or making decisions in lieu of a manager. 

What do you wish you could know about candidates that isn’t generally revealed in the hiring process?

Their true work ethic and reliability (or lack thereof). You can train a lot of things, but it’s nearly impossible to make someone care. People can fake it for the interview, and it’s generally easy to find a reference or two to vouch for you, so it’s only until after hire that you’ll see if someone is only there to do the bare minimum. 

How many pages should each of these documents be?

Cover Letter: √ Two is ok, but no more  

Resume: √ As many as it takes, but keep it reasonable and relevant 

CV: √ We don’t ask for this  

What is the most common mistake that people make in an interview?

Interviewing for a job you don’t really want. If you’re just using us as a stepping stone, it will usually show. 

Do you conduct virtual interviews? What do job hunters need to know about shining in this setting?

I have not yet, but certainly could. I’d expect good wifi and all equipment to work (camera, mic, etc.) test beforehand! 

How can candidates looking to transition from paraprofessional work, from non-library work, or between library types convince you that their experience is relevant? Or do you have other advice for folks in this kind of situation?

A library degree is the most obvious. Other coursework in lieu, volunteer work, sub work, etc. 

When does your organization *first* mention salary information?

√ It’s part of the job ad 

What does your organization do to reduce bias in hiring? What are the contexts in which discrimination still exists in this process?

Multiple people involved in the hiring process to reduce bias. 

What questions should candidates ask you? What is important for them to know about your organization and the position you are hiring for?

Ask for elaboration of the job responsibilities. Make sure you can work the required hours and that the nature of the work is what you want. 

Additional Demographics

What part of the world are you in?

√ Midwestern US 

What’s your region like?

√ Suburban

√ Rural 

Is your workplace remote/virtual?

√ Some of the time and/or in some positions 

How many staff members are at your organization?

√ 11-50 

Author’s note: Hey, thanks for reading! If you like reading, why not try commenting or sharing? Or are you somebody who hires Library, Archives or other LIS workers? Please consider giving your own opinion by filling out the survey here.

Leave a comment

Filed under 1 A Return to Hiring Librarians Survey, 10-50 staff members, Midwestern US, Public, Rural area, Suburban area