Tag Archives: library jobs

Job Hunter Follow Up: Anonymous 4

 

This person took the Job Hunter’s survey on December 28, 2012. Her responses appeared as I make sure that I qualify first and foremost.  We then followed up with her on November 26, 2014. 

Where are you now? What’s your work situation like, and what path did you take this last year?

I’m currently working full time in an archive (YEA!!), however I am currently job hunting again because the position is not really what I expected, or what I really interviewed for in fact. Not to mention it’s further away from home than I really wanted. So I’m back at it, looking for postings a little closer to the West Coast.

My work situation, while it would be great for a new grad entering the profession, is not for me because I am more experienced than this job needs, so I’m really bored. Not to mention there is a lot of issues from previous issues within the system and its really frustrating.

This past year was a huge change for me as I moved 1200 miles for a job to a new place, so a lot of growth on my part. However, it made me realize even more that I’d rather be on the West coast, so I’m looking to head back that way.

Looking at last year’s answers, have any of your attitudes changed?

I realize even more what I want in a job is about the only real change. I guess I’m more optimistic now that I’ve had the full time experience.

What’s your best advice for job hunters?

Just keep swimming! Also have your cover letters edited by someone other than yourself. I know it seems like you should be able to do it yourself but as I was reminded of at an interview this past weekend, it’s okay not to be great at everything and getting (and asking) for help is okay!

Anything else you want to share with us?

If you can, job seekers, be willing to relocate! Other than that, no.

This respondent is willing to answer any questions you might care to post in the comments section.

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Job Hunter Follow Up: Cher Armstrong

 

We last heard from Cher Armstrong on January 5, 2015.  Her post appeared as Positive environment for patrons and library employees.

Where are you now? What’s your work situation like, and what path did you take this last year?

I am the a full-time librarian in the Reference department at a library serving a diverse population of approximately 30,000 people. My official job title is the New Adult/Digital Services Librarian. My town has a very large senior population due to the many 55+ communities. We also have many special-needs patrons such as those who were recently incarcerated and the homeless population. I was part-time at the beginning of the year but got promoted to full-time in July.

Looking at last year’s answers, have any of your attitudes changed?

My attitude has translated from idealistic to far more realistic in relation to working at a library. I have discovered that while I have a plethora of ideas, librarians have to cope with and adapt to factors such as budget, understaffing and the culture of the individual library. What works for one library might not work or might even be infeasible in another library.

What’s your best advice for job hunters?

I would look for ways to get experience related to the library job you want in any way you can. Aspiring public librarians, for example, need to be able to show they will be able to interact with a wide population and help them procure what they need. Customer service skills are very useful; skills from fields such as retail can easily translate over to library service. If you have no library experience, be ready to showcase how the skillsets you’ve acquired in other places can be beneficial to a library.

Questions for Cher?  She is willing to answer them, just post in the comments.

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Job Hunter Follow Up: Elise Lafosse

 

elise lafosseWe last heard from Elise Lafosse on September 10, 2014 in the post: I have the skills to learn a new ILS very quickly.  

Where are you now? What’s your work situation like, and what path did you take this last year?

I am at Otis Library in Norwich, CT which is about an hour commute each way from my home. I only work 12 hours a week. Sometimes I step in to help a few extra hours if needed. I still keep looking for other positions as a librarian in a public library or a cataloger. So far I have not had any luck. So my current situation is not ideal. I am still looking for a position closer to home.

Looking at last year’s answers, have any of your attitudes changed?

I still love working in public libraries and still am committed to finding a position in a public library with more hours and closer to home. However it has been very discouraging recently. I applied to about three positions in the past month, none of which called me for an interview. I wonder if it is because of my age which is 54 years old.

What’s your best advice for job hunters?

Be persistent. Volunteer your skills as well as this can help you get in the door. I think I may have gotten a cataloging contract over the summer partly because I volunteer as a cataloger at the library for the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art where I also give tours.

Anything else you want to share with us?

Well currently I feel quite discouraged based on the results of my job search last month. So right now I am taking a break. Perhaps things will begin to look up in the new year.

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Job Hunter Follow Up: Amber Hawkins

Amber Hawkins took the original survey in January 2013. Her responses appeared as Be more forthcoming about requirements. We followed up with her on December 17, 2013 and again on December 11, 2014.

Your Job

What’s your current work situation? 

Full-time as a library assistant in a large law firm.

Is this job the same as you had when we followed up with you last year? If not, please describe briefly how you got this new job.

It is not. I got laid off from my previous job and one of my coworkers at that place happened to mention me to the director of research services. I went through a recruiter, but eventually got hired.

Is your job commensurate with your skills and experience?

I don’t have any legal experience, but it’s definitely allowing me to use my foundationary library skills. Though, I am learning quite a lot.

Is the pay scale higher or lower than you were looking for?

Lower.

How your job different from what you thought you might do, when you first embarked on your job hunt?

For starters, I’m working in the legal field. I had really only been applying with public and state libraries. Also, the turnaround time is a lot quicker than I was used to.

Have you had a chance to participate in hiring any LIS workers? Any lessons or observations from the experience?

I recently sat in on some informal interviews to see how well candidates would fit in with the team we have in place. That was a really interesting experience. I think it helped when the interviewee had questions for us about our job. It made me think they were interested in the position they were applying for.

Have you had a chance to negotiate a raise and/or title change? What was that like?

No, I have not.

What’s the next step for your career?

I’m hoping that I will become a research librarian here at the law firm.

Your Perspectives

Was job hunting a positive or negative experience, for the most part?

Mostly negative as I received a lot of rejections until this position came along.

Would you change your answer to “what’s the secret to getting hired”?

A little. Being in the area for which you are applying really helps, but I’d also add knowing someone who works there and can put in a good word for you.

Do you have any advice for job hunters and/or library school students?

We actually have a few library school students on our team. I would say to apply for positions even if you don’t have your degree. You never know what might happen.

Do you have any advice for hiring managers?

If you tell the interviewee that you’ll let them know within a week whether or not they have the job, stick to that time frame. Waiting a month before sending a rejection letter is unprofessional.

What’s your ideal work situation? (hours, location, library type, etc.)

A normal day shift (8-5 or 9-6), environment with a good team atmosphere, public or (now) legal library, some autonomy to do projects and be innovative.

Anything else you want to tell us?

I really enjoy my job now even though it’s not at all what I was looking for.

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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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Further Questions: Does your institution require any type of training to be part of a hiring committee?

This week we asked people who hire librarians

Does your institution require any type of training to be part of a hiring committee? If so, did you find it useful? If not, what sort of training would be beneficial (diversity, human rights, conflict of interest, etc.)? How do you think training (or its absence) affects candidates?

Laurie PhillipsI’m not sure if our institution requires it but, in the library, we require that every person go through HR’s training on appropriate/interactions with candidates. As in what is legal or not legal to ask or discuss with a candidate. If someone couldn’t be at that training, they could not be a part of the hiring process.

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

MargaretNo, the City does not. We depend heavily on our internal HR people and the City’s HR people to ensure we stick to the rules. As far as I know, the City doesn’t offer any training on hiring, so we just use the advice of our HR crew, best practices and common sense. I think its absence does impact our interviews, to a degree. We sometimes don’t know what the current policies are and I’ve sat on committees with people who don’t have a lot of experience interviewing and can be as nervous as the people sitting on the other end of the table-they can make it worse! If everyone is a ball of nerves, then the whole interview can go pear-shaped.

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

Celia Rabinowitz

All search committees must meet with a representative from Human Resources and with the chief diversity officer of the college.  The standard training is not especially exciting but includes important information about using the job ad criteria for establishing a baseline to evaluate candidates.  My current institution adheres strictly to these criteria and expects the search chair to document each candidate and the reasons why they continue on in a search or are eliminated at any stage. We also have to be sure to use the same set of questions with all candidates.  The meeting with HR give the committee time to begin that work and to review the online file review system.  The diversity officer reminds the committee about how to increase efforts to attract a diverse pool of applicants, and about those pesky questions that are off limits during an interview.

The sessions are useful, especially if you are at a new library or institution.  And committees are different each time and the training sessions or meetings are a good opportunity to be sure everyone is working together from a common set of expectations.

– Celia Rabinowitz,  Dean of Mason Library at Keene State College in Keene, NH

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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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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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

Further Questions: How do you cope with hiring decisions you might not agree with?

This week we asked people who hire librarians

How do you cope with hiring decisions you might not agree with? How might this affect working relationships later on, either with current colleagues or the new hire? If a candidate you think was amazing was not hired, do you have the ability to reach out afterwards to connect them with other libraries/later openings in your organization? Feel free to answer either personally or “for a friend/colleague.”

Paula HammettOver the years of being on many hiring committees, I can say there will be hiring decisions you may not agree with or were not your first choice.

First rule is be gracious and accept the decision (unless you really feel an egregious and/or illegal error has been made). Don’t undermine the committee’s decision. Keep the best interest of the library in mind.

If you were on the committee, respect the confidential nature of the hiring process and don’t engage in backbiting. If it turns out that it was indeed a bad hire, learn from the mistakes to make the next hiring process better.

If you were not on the committee, realize that you might not know all the details and try not to second-guess. For example, I’ve seen awesome candidates really botch their interview or teaching demonstration. I’ve also seen amazing candidates that simply weren’t the right fit for the job that was currently available.

Welcome the person hired with open arms and do what you can to help them succeed.

If you want to reach out to the amazing candidate that wasn’t hired, do so privately. Don’t try to second guess the committee’s decision, simply assure the person of their awesomeness and perhaps look for ways to work with them in other venues, such as conference planning or joint research opportunities. If another job opens up that might be a better fit, let the person know. Simply reaching out can be appreciated.

If you were the amazing candidate that wasn’t hired, don’t give up. Don’t let it destroy your self-esteem. It can be devastating to not get the job you really wanted and felt you were perfect for (or the one you had been doing in a temporary capacity but weren’t hired for when a permanent position came open). Your particular set of talents might not have matched the skill set needed for the position. Don’t let the rejection weigh you down. Keep looking for other opportunities and refocus as needed.

If you were an internal candidate who didn’t get the job, be kind to yourself and recognize that there may be awkward moments with the new hire. Try to be as gracious as possible. It’s not the new person’s fault that you weren’t hired.

It’s a small world and you may well run into the amazing person at conferences or other settings. Greet them warmly and compliment them on their work. I regularly see people we haven’t hired doing fabulous work in other libraries. In the back of my mind I might think, “I wonder how things might have been different if we’d hired so and so?” But for whatever reason, we didn’t, so move on.

– Paula Hammett, Sonoma State University Library

MargaretWell, let’s see. Twice at a previous library I worked at, I had strong objections to candidates who were hired. The main issue was that the candidate pools both times were poor and none of the people interviewed were really very good. I wanted to go back out and re-advertise and extend our reach (publish on listservs nationally, etc.), but both times I was overridden by my superiors who just wanted the positions filled. So, we were saddled with two librarians who were in no way prepared for the job. Both of whom, I might add, left within a year or so of their hiring-one was fired, the other was given a choice of quitting or being fired and chose to resign. I didn’t have much contact with them in the position I was in at the time, but I did try and help when I could-giving them guidance and information. I didn’t blame them, I was more annoyed at the penny-wise, pound-foolish approach management took at the time. They were more concerned with having a warm body in a seat than waiting for the right person to come along.

 

In my current position, I’ve been very lucky. There was one hire that I wanted, but my superiors didn’t, we talked it over and ultimately went with the hire. That person went on to be fabulous at their job, so it worked out well for the library.

 

As for great candidates who don’t get hired, we sometimes do internal promotions and we interview a lot of really good in-house people. It’s really difficult to pick one out a strong field of candidates, so usually what ends up happening is that we hire the best one for that position and we try to further nurture and encourage the unsuccessful internal candidates so that they can grow in our organization in positions best suited to them and their skills.

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

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