Large Job Boards and Recruitment Agencies: Some Thoughts

by Gabrielle Spiers, Senior Editor

Large Job Boards and Recruitment Agencies: Some Thoughts


IMG_5716b (2)When searching for jobs I have always looked for jobs and applied for them. I know that some industries have headhunters and I have certainly used temp agencies in my pre-library life for temporary work mostly in the non-profit world . In June I got a call from two different recruitment agencies who had found my resume on where it was searchable and fairly current. It turned out that both agencies wanted me for the same position. After choosing a recruitment firm on Monday I went for an interview on Wednesday. Usually I get very nervous before interviews but the turnaround was so fast that I didn’t have time. I prepared the best that I could in the short time I had. I was slightly concerned because I was sick that week. The interview was a blur, but I remember feeling like I had done okay.  This was right before ALA so I was able to forget about it. I never heard back from them.

After ALA and talking to Naomi about the experience I decided to conduct an experiment. I updated my resume and put it back up on The waiting game began. Initially as expected I was contacted by people doing direct sales which is not a career I am interested in pursuing.  Eventually I was contacted by three different people for archives related jobs.  I declined the one that was based at the organization I had already had an interview for.  The second and third I agreed to have my resume submitted for.  I never heard back. The point of the experiment was to see what would happen. In terms of job-hunting success it was a failure.

The six key things I learned are:

  • Don’t let this be the only way you look for a job: This is a very passive job-search technique because you are waiting for people to get back to you.
  • Location, location, location: I live in the DC area where there are a lot of recruitment agencies. This is probably true in most major metropolitan areas but perhaps less true outside of those areas.
  • It gives you access to “hidden jobs”: The job I interviewed for was not advertised anywhere else.  I would not have known about it had I not been contacted about it. This is probably the most compelling reason to have your resume on a site like
  • Keywords are crucial: Recruiters are using keyword searches to find relevant resumes. Keep that in mind while creating a resume and think about relevant keywords.
  • Companies use multiple recruitment agencies for the same jobs: Which leads to some awkward situations when you don’t realize that they have done that. The organization I interviewed for was looking to fill three positions and they used at least three different recruitment agencies.
  • The turnaround time is really fast: If you are contacted expect to go on an interview quickly.  I was fortunate to have a day to prepare. I was once sent on a 10am interview for a position I heard back from the agency about at 5pm the previous day.

In conclusion I think this could be very useful for looking for more out of the box library and archive jobs. I would create a resume heavily focused on keywords for jobs that look interesting.