Surviving and thriving and getting that professional archives position.

Welcome. If you're here, you're probably wondering how to get some job--maybe the perfect professional archives position or maybe just something you can use as a springboard--and you're seeking advice on how to do that. From searching for advertisements to writing a resume or cover letter to making it through the interview. And hopefully even beyond.

No guarantees, you probably already know a lot of this, but maybe some help from a lot of people who want to make sure that good candidates get good jobs. If you've got better advice? or need further explanation? Please share in the comments.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

BTP: the costs of a recruitment

BTP=Between The Posts. I'd actually plotted out the posts I wanted to do at the beginning (which will shock any teacher I've ever had--they know for a fact I don't outline anything ahead of time). But I was also aware that along the way topics might come up in comment discussions or other recruiters might want to say their piece, so if you see a blog posting labeled and tagged with BTP, that's what's going on. Since Jamie commented about my estimate of $15K for the cost of a recruitment to an institution and I suddenly got worried that my vague and guesstimated math I'd done a couple of years ago could have been really wrong, I sat down this morning and recreated it as best I could. The following is that calculation. I'll admit, this probably won't really affect anything in your searching. It shouldn't. What it should do--if I've aimed correctly here--is remind you that no matter how frustrated you are with your jobsearching and how expensive it can be for you in terms of time and money, you're not the only one feeling some pain here. The recruiters have it as well, albeit with some differences. You're not in this alone.

Any average search committee member’s hourly cost (including benefits) is going to be between $25 and $60, skewing heavily to the upper end of that range since many professional archivist search committees tend to be more heavily laden with faculty or long-time professional staff rather than technical staff. We’re going to take $40/hr as our average per person per hour of work. Again, that includes benefits. I agree that might be high for non-profits or local government, but I suspect it's not far off for govt, academic or larger corporate. And although I’m basing the numbers of candidates and search committee members below on our most recent search, the hour estimates and other payroll type costs should not be assumed to be from that search and as such, this should not be taken as an exact replica of what my institution is doing. For one, we were able to take some of the work from a similar search done two years previously and re-use or adapt that, which reduced some of these time frames considerably. (Have I made it clear yet that I’m not speaking on behalf of my institution here?) This is an estimate--an educated estimate--as to how much could be spent on a recruitment from start to finish. Obviously different institutions, with different procedures and different costs, will vary.

I also should state that I will go more in depth into the structure of a search as we pass through the entries in this blog. I promise I’ll talk more later about some of the specifics—like the various screenings—and what they are and how they might affect you.

Here we go, ready for this?

Preliminary work: developing job description and ads, creating screening documents, developing interview and reference questions, working with HR, sending out postings, getting admin permissions, etc: est 16 hrs work. ($640).

Last search, we received 75 applications. The first screening was done by a single member of the search committee with an average of 15 minutes spent with each application: est. 18.75 hrs work, let’s round that up to 19. ($760 for a running total of $1400). In some places the whole committee (up to 5 people) does this step thus taking $760 up to $3800.

The first screening left us with 30 applicants for the second screening/ranking. This is more intensive work, average of about 1/2 hour per applicant per search committee member (total 5 people): est. 15 hrs X 5 committee members for a total of 75 hrs. ($3000 for a running total of $4400).

Data entry on a spreadsheet and calculations to rank all the remaining applicants and create an ordered list by average score, assuming no negotiations to fix scoring that had gone astray on the part of any one search committee member, oh and getting notices out to candidates who were screened out on the first level. 1 person: est 3 hrs work ($120 for a running total of $4520).

Search committee meeting to determine the cutoffs for phone interviews and develop a schedule for the interviews: 1 hr X 5 committee members for a total of 5 hrs. ($200 for a running total of $4720).

* note additional time spent here playing email and phone tag with candidates to schedule said interviews plus getting notices out to the candidates screened out on the second level.

8 phone interviews at 1 hour each: 8 hrs X 5 committee members for a total of 40 hrs. ($1600 for a running total of $6320).

Search committee meeting to determine the finalists to bring in individuals for an in-person interview and to pick potential dates: 1 hr X 5 committee members for a total of 5 hrs. ($200 for a running total of $6520).

Reference checks on (in this case) 2 candidates. 3 references per person, average of 20 minutes per check. 1 hr X 2 search committee members X 2 candidates for a total of 4 hrs. ($160 for a running total of $6640).

Paperwork time. Writing justifications for interviews, justifications for non-interviews, getting permissions from HR to interview, arranging travel, arranging dates with candidates, getting notices out to candidates screened out by the phone interviews, done by several different individuals but at least 4 hrs work: 4 hrs. ($160 for a running total of $6800).

In-person interviews, personnel time. Chair of committee has a full 8 hrs committed. The rest of the search committee is probably putting in about 4 hrs each, for a total of 16 hrs. Over the course of the day, about 40 hrs worth (minimum) of other library employees’ time including departmental meetings, meals, open presentations and open meetings: est. 64 hrs X 2 candidates ($5120 for a running total of $11920).

In-person interviews, other costs. Airfare for 2 candidates, approximately $600 each, $1200. Hotel: $75 each, $150. Taxi from airport to hotel: $20 each, $40. Lunch and dinner sponsored by the Library for 4 people (3 employees, 1 candidate or 2 employees and candidate and significant other): $150 (this is really a low estimate) each: $300. ($1690 for a running total of $13610).

Search committee meeting to determine the finalist: 1 hr X 5 committee members for a total of 5 hrs. ($200 for a running total of $13810).

Paperwork: writing justifications, negotiations with candidate, permissions obtained from HR and other admin types, creation of contract, getting letters/calls out to the non-successful in-person candidate, done by several different individuals but an est. 8 hrs work. ($320 for a running total of $14130).

So that’s $14K. A 3rd in-person candidate would add another $3405 for that interview day. And don’t forget all the copy costs, long-distance phone calls, the HR hours that are done outside of our field of vision, the prep times for meetings, and so forth. All of those add to the total. Plus my current institution often pays relocation costs which can run upwards of $8000 (though usually not).

Having said all this: this is part of the price of doing business. At some academic institutions, since most of the search committee is faculty and salaried, a lot of them are still putting in nearly full hours on their jobs alongside this, so some of the time is more or less a freebie. Some of it is repetitive: if the institution hires regularly or has a stringent job hierarchy, they're probably spending fewer hours on the development of job descriptions, interview questions, so forth. It's all dependent on the type of job too: when I hired a contract archivist a couple of years ago, the cost was significantly less because we didn’t go beyond phone interviews, didn’t offer moving allowances, much of the paperwork was simplified. Other places aren't going to have the air fare costs that Alaska or Hawaii does.

Okay, so that's the first BTP entry. Again, this probably won't make much difference to you as an applicant and I'm pretty sure there's a few recruiters out there reading this and laughing hysterically at how much some places spend on recruitments (I hope a few are nodding in agreement). At any rate, I thought you might find it interesting--oh, and it's entirely possibly that I've gone completely astray in some of the math above. I'm usually good with basic addition and multiplication, but story problems really nail me. Feel free to correct my math. Back to our regularly scheduled postings now.

No comments:

Post a Comment