Tag Archives: library interview

A workplace where I can learn but also have my ideas be heard

ThisConDev5378A Hunting Dog, 1945, Washington County, NC 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 libraries, Public libraries, at the following levels: Entry level, Requiring at least two years of experience. This job hunter is in a suburban area, in the Western US, and is willing to move anywhere.

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

A sense of fulfillment, or somewhere where I feel like I am able to help people or make a difference

A salary I can live on

Where do you look for open positions?

INALJ
ALA Joblist
State professional association joblists
Government joblists
Websites for specific cities or counties

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?

I have a “default” cover letter and resume that I update to highlight qualifications and skills mentioned in the job ad. 1/2-2 hours depending on the job.

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 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)?

√ 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 very clear about your expectations and needs, if a skill is needed don’t put __ preferred. I don’t want to waste your time or mine if my not having that skill is going to rule me out.

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

Keep applicants informed during the selection process

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

Either knowing someone on the selection committee or having something unique in your application to make you stand out

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

No, this was great

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, Entry Level, Job hunter's survey, Public, Suburban area, Western US

I’ve had senior colleagues at a former place of employment take credit for my projects and accomplishments

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, Non-library academic and campus units, at the following levels: entry level. Here is this person’s experience with internships/volunteering:

3 years of academic library and research experience. Additional experience in public and special libraries.

This job hunter is in a Urban area in the Northeastern US and is willing to move  It depends on the institution and the job.

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

Responsibilities that aligns with my interests and skills. Colleagues that will motivate, support, and challenge me to grow. Healthy organizational culture.

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 tailor my CV to highlight my most salient experience, research, service, and honors, which can take an hour or two. Cover letters can take anywhere from an hour (if I’ve applied to a similar position before) to four hours. I also spend some time reviewing the library’s and university’s website to determine whether the particular institution would be a good fit for me.

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

√ Other: It depends on whose truth we’re referring to. I’ve had senior colleagues at a former place of employment take credit for my projects and accomplishments. I am truthful, but I recognize that librarianship is a small pond and people talk, so I’m prepared to substantiate the truth through evidence of my accomplishments and experience if needed. Not an ideal situation, but it’s one of the outcomes of working (and leaving) an unhealthy organizational culture.

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?

√ 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
√ Other: I prefer self-directed tours of the library and campus.

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

I’m wary of a minimal list of responsibilities that end with “other duties as assigned,” as well as laundry lists of 20+ responsibilities if a percentage break-down of time isn’t included. Be thorough in defining the position, but don’t expect one person to accomplish anything of substance with so many competing responsibilities. Incentivizing your staff to be active in the professional community is helpful. It increases the visibility of your library and could encourage job seekers to apply. I would like prospective employers to provide some support my research-related activities, so having a professionally active staff is an implicit affirmation that I may receive the same level of support. I also find it useful when background information on the institution and library is included in job postings.

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

I have mixed feelings about full-day interviews. They’re a great way to determine whether you’d enjoy working with your future colleagues and learn more about the library and campus culture. However, most entry-level academic librarian positions would not qualify for a faculty appointment using standard assessment metrics (e.g. instructor of record, scholarly impact), so full-day interviews seem to appeal more to academic tradition than is worth the time and expense.

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

Low standards and expectations? I know that sounds harsh, but most of the positions that align with my interests and skills are very traditional and, quite frankly, boring. I would not be content with a full-time job that consists of standard one-shot instruction sessions, general reference work, and limited engagement with students and faculty.

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

Thank you for creating and overseeing this website! It’s an invaluable resource.

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, Entry Level, Job hunter's survey, Northeastern US, 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

Don’t insist on a single “right” way to process every applicant

Goose hunting in Klamath County, Oregon, OSU Special Collections 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 A year to 18 months. This person is looking in Academic library, Archives, Library vendor/service provider, Public library, School library, Special library at the Entry level and for positions Requiring at least two years of experience. This job hunter is in a City/Town in the Western US and is willing to move To a specific area.

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

I’m looking within a geographically-targeted area for paraprofessional library openings that I feel match my qualifications. I want to be physically active on the job (i.e. shelving returns) and be able to walk or bike to work. In my ideal job, supervisors and colleagues would have collaborative relationships, and expectations would be communicated explicitly.

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

Potential employers’ websites, professional listservs, ALA Joblist, LinkedIn

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

√ Yes

What’s your routine for preparing an application packet? How much time do you spend on it?

I compose a cover letter for each position I apply to. I incorporate the job description’s language when describing my qualifications and addressing ways that I will contribute to the employer’s diverse workplace.

The application process for many library jobs is through a shared portal (i.e. NeoGov), which streamlines attaching certain files that are associated with my profile – letters of reference, degree and certificate, unofficial transcripts.

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

√ Other: Invite me for an interview and offer me the job

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
√ The interview itself–how it’s conducted, the people i meet, etc.

√ Clear understanding of responsibilities

√ Potential relationship with supervisor and colleagues

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

Look at barriers to hiring and employment and be open to solutions that eliminate those barriers. For example, to attract long-distance applicants, consider video interviews. Don’t insist on a single “right” way to process every applicant, or assume that everyone will perform essential functions in exactly the same way.

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

Look beyond superficial impressions that an applicant might present, recognizing that the job-application structure does not duplicate the work environment.

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

I hope the most significant factor is possessing the desired skills. A successful interview should establish the abilities of the job applicant. Beyond that, I think a lot depends upon the mindset and attitudes that have been brought together. Work and management styles, values held, even the other person’s “likability.”

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, City/town, Entry Level, Job hunter's survey, Public, School, Special, Western US

Networking and knowing the right people is the secret of getting the job

Brian Hunter, 1984, Asst Librarian, Slavonic Collections, London School of Economics This anonymous interview is with a job hunter who is not currently employed (even if part-time or in an unrelated field), has been hired within the last two months, and has been looking for a new position for more than 18 months . This person is looking in Academic libraries, Archives, Public library, Special library at the following levels: Entry level . This new grad/entry level applicant has internship/volunteering experience:

I had a nearly three-month internship for my MLS at a community college library and I currently volunteer in circulation at a public library coming close to one year.

This job hunter is in an Rural area, in the Southern US, and is not willing to move.

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

1-) A kind and collaborative environment.

2-) The ability to learn new skills and grow professionally.

3-) A living wage with benefits.

Where do you look for open positions?

Local and state government job sites, Indeed.com, state library job sites

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?

I usually use a recent cover letter and resume as a template, change the contact information, and address some of the job’s qualifications in the cover letter and resume.

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

√ I do my best to tell the truth. I feel though that I may be exaggerating at times.

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
√ 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?

I think being open and honest about the position, what it entails, and its salary and benefits is important to get the best job candidates. The less you say about the position, such as wage/salary, the more suspicious I am going to be about it.

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

Employers need to have a more humane application process. This means letting people know where their application is in the process. I want to know as early in the process as possible if I have a chance or if I need to move on. Hiring managers need to be clear exactly what information/documents/whatever they want submitted, particularly if applicants have to deal with clunky application tracking systems.

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

Networking and knowing the right people is the secret of getting the job. Volunteering is a particularly good strategy as you can gain skills and keep in touch with the profession while also developing a network that can inform you of upcoming or hidden jobs.

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, MLIS Students, Public, Rural area, Southern US, Special

Communicate with your local library school

photo State Librarian James Stapleton and guests at the Book Week launch, Brisbane, ca. 1948 This 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 Six months to a year. This person is looking in Academic libraries, Public libraries, Special libraries, at the following levels: Entry level, Requiring at least two years of experience, Supervisory, Senior Librarian. This new grad/entry level applicant has internship/volunteering experience:

I had a very positive internship experience at Johnson & Wales before I graduated. My supervisors allowed me to attend meetings with other libraries, and experiment with instructional tools and chat reference. Soon I will be volunteering at a local historical society for archiving and historical library experience.

This job hunter is in a suburban area in the Northeastern US and is Hoping to stay in S. New England.

Where do you look for open positions?

OLIS Jobline, Massachusetts Board of Library Commisioners, Connecticut Library Jobs, HigherEd Jobs

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?

I have a resume that is pre-designed, which I customize for certain positions, same with a cover letter. I usually spend no more than an hour preparing an application

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
√ 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?

Communicate with your local library school to set up PFE programs and set up a relationship with interns who might want to apply for jobs at your library

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, Job hunter's survey, Northeastern US, Public, Special, Suburban area

Objectives. Please…no more.

Librarian working at the Pointe Coupee Parish Parish library in New Roads Louisiana in 1936This anonymous interview is with a librarian who has been a hiring manager and a member of a hiring committee. This person works at a a public library with 200+ staff members.

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

Customer service skills (soft skills are a lot harder to teach!), an eagerness to learn, and fit.

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

I had an interviewee come in wearing jeans. While that’s okay on a day-to-day basis, it was an instant turnoff for me in the interview. Otherwise, she would have been one of the top candidates!

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

Objectives. Please…no more.

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

I did like that one candidate explained her employment gap in her cover letter. Honestly, I didn’t notice until she pointed it out, but I appreciated the effort.

How many pages should a cover letter be?

√ As many as it takes, but shorter is better

How many pages should a resume/CV be?

√ Two is ok, but no more

Do you have a preferred format for application documents?

√.pdf

Should a resume/CV have an Objective statement?

√No

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

√As an attachment only

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

Complete answers with relevant examples. Elaborate, please! It’s okay to use an example from a non-library experience. We’re trying to get to know you to see if you would be a good fit.

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

An interview is a sales pitch for yourself. Why should we hire YOU? Every single person I interviewed for our last position would have been hireable. Convince me that you’re the best fit. Notice how I keep mentioning “fit”.

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

HR is much more involved. They make all the phone calls and do all the legwork. We just review the applications and participate in the interviews. That being said, make sure you get past HR so I can see your application! Make sure your application reflects the required experience.

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

Writing skills matter. And please make sure you change your cover letter from job to job. I know you’re applying to other organizations, but it’s a major turn off to see that you didn’t care to change that information in your cover letter. One more thing – we can tell when you’re throwing your resume at everything just to see what sticks. If you apply to a job posting that closely matches what you have to offer, you’ll have a much greater chance of snagging an interview.

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 200+ staff members, Original Survey, Public