Thursday, July 03, 2008

LigGig vs. LisJobs....My opinion

Although I've seen job ads floating around for Library Associates, I've never actually known anyone who has gotten a job through them, so I can't speak for the value the recruiters offer. I sat down with one in New York about four years ago but she didn't really seem to have a solid feel for the library field, which didn't inspire a lot of confidence on the part of me the job seeker. They are generally focused around major metropolitan areas: Washington DC, some areas of California, and a few New York jobs.

I still get their monthly newsletter, good to skim and find out what's going on even if one isn't actually job hunting, and so I heard the initial announcements a couple of weeks ago that their "career community" site LibGig was going up.

My initial reaction was one of skepticism. How very LisJobs of them, I thought. But I took a quick look to see: I'm as nosy as the next hedgehog. And below, for your edification, my comparison to LisJobs.*

Homepage:

LisJobs: The homepage is clean and straightforward. A sidebar clearly leads one to the sections of the site one may be seeking, with information in the center on blogs/newsletter/site ownership. The side bar remains for most of the sites (job search/posting pages excepted).

LibGig: The homepage is incredibly cluttered--to the point my eye didn't know where to look. The WIDE variety of font types and sizes is confusing. Menu bar across the top allows for navigation but one is not drawn to it because of the other visual stimulus.

For Employers:

LisJobs: Employers can submit jobs on a pre-publish-reviewed form for posting. There is not a charge for this and employers can choose how long the job should appear on the site. The form is pretty straightforward and do-it-yourself. Employers can also choose to review hosted resumes to find a match for their position.

LibGig: After a promotional period that was supposed to end on July 1 (but may still be active), job posting rates are rather pricey!! One hundred dollars for the first position--for a month of posting. While costs do go down for multiple positions, do they really expect a library to be posting 25-100 jobs regularly? My whole library only has a staff of about 100 and that's covering three locations. Again, it's a "submit your own on a form" but this one has billing information.


For Want-to-Be-Employees

LisJobs: The combined job posting site. It's one of the most comprehensive out there, employers actively post there. I've applied for a number of jobs found via LisJobs and their very very accessible RSS feed--which can be customized to a specific search. On top of that, there are links to other job boards and resources by state. So if you find out tomorrow your significant other just got dream job in South Carolina (and you're in Washington state), you've got some places to start hunting. Other useful sections are more nationwide job sites and international (non-US) jobs AND--resume posting. There is a cost for this but it's a very reasonable $10/six months and allows you to update during that time. So if you finish a course, publish an article, etc, you can get the most accurate information in front of employers.

LibGig: While outside postings are accepted, the majority of the jobs posted are coming from Library Associates. As this is their host, this makes sense, but it means there aren't a lot of jobs available for job searchers to review. No outside tools are readily given.

Forums:

LisJobs: The forums went live earlier this year and are broken into groupings: Administrivia, Job Hunting, Professional Success and Education. Under each of these are further subject divisions that have many conversations going--with the most popular sub-grouping "Resumes and Interviews" having 58 discussions going on. This wide variety of subject material allows for discussions not only for immediate job hunters but those who are looking to add to their long term career progress or are considering applying for scholarships etc. While some of the threads appear more active than others, the majority of the sub-groupings appear to have been active within the past six weeks.

LisGig: There are only two sections to the forums: Ask the Recruiter and General. I'm not sure what all is supposed to fall under General but it doesn't inspire me to start chatting. These forums haven't taken off, with many of them without any responses. And the "Ask the Recruiter" starts off with a "READ THIS FIRST" sticky--which is private. So, if I wanted to ask, it's unclear how I could find out what they wanted me to read first. The conversation topics introduced look forced.

Blogs:

LisJobs: There are two primary blogs affiliated with LisJobs and two other useful feeds. Rachel Singer Gordon's blog, the Liminal Librarian, and a professional development blog, Beyond the Job. The latter is a wealth of information on publishing/contributing/conferencing and can offer ideas beyond the walls/cube/limits that you work in day to day. Other feeds from the site include the newsletter Info Career Trends and the Library Career People Q and A Blog. All have feeds readily apparent. As far as I know Liminal and Library Career People have comment active, but the others are more in the nature of announcement and less in the nature of conversation--so not having comments makes sense.

LibGig: The site promotes itself as being "all about community"--and then has an anonymous blogger. While I understand various and sundry reasons for blogging anonynmously, that made me suspicious. Couldn't they find someone willing to blog for them publicly? They have two other bloggers, a student and a government info specialist who is also currently an MLS student, and a third anonymous blogger. The blogs can be pulled into readers (at least, I got one into Google Reader for purposes of finding out it worked) but not obvious subscription links. One must register on the site to comment, which seems rather limiting if one is trying to create or promote community.

Random

LibGig:
The site is priding itself on having the "most up-to-date list of library schools." It says it's an exclusive directory--and I can't figure out what makes it exclusive. Doesn't ALA maintain the official list? They're the ones doing the accreditation. The use of the word "exclusive" causes for a raised eyebrow. It seems like most good librarians could track down what programs are available and accredited-perhaps here.

Overall:

LisJobs: is a free or extremely low cost site that has been built with job seeking and those working on professional development in mind. A wide variety of resources are available in an easily navigated structure--the majority of which can be fed into your reader of choice.

LibGig: is a promotional site to try and improve the image of Library Associates. While there may be some added value in talking specifically with recruiters, the majority of the information is available elsewhere without all of the attempted flash.


*Full Disclosure: I have written for Info Career Trends in the past, detailing my work in publishing and my return to traditional library work. This review is strictly my opinion and was not at the behest of anyone connected to LisJobs or LibGig.

1 comment:

Deb Schwarz said...

Full disclosure: I am the president of Library Associates and one of the forces (obviously) behind the creation of LibGig. Now that we got that out of the way, I appreciate your comments - and the critique. We have a lot of plans for LibGig - including expanding the Forums (watch for that by Friday of this week), and also greatly expanding the Schools page. That is a major project involving a small team of folks and all I can say at this point is it will be much more than a mere directory of links. The work going on behind it is pretty extensive and it is our first focus of attention. Yes, we are a jobs site- and we are a recruiting firm - the first jobs up there were all ours, as to be expected, but every day we are getting new and more postings from others. As for the pricing--your library may have a few jobs, but other organizations we are talking to have upwards of 100 jobs at any given time. And if the pricing model doesn't work, then we will change it. We are working on a posting that summarizes and responds to the comments - good, bad & indifferent (we've had all 3 as you can imagine) - we have had since our launch- a mere 2 weeks ago, and we will discuss yours and link to your posting. Thanks for taking the time to talk about LibGig and present a thorough analysis. I appreciate it! (and I would love to know which recruiter you spoke with way back when - sorry you didn't have a good experience). And finally- we love LisJobs too and think Rachel does an amazing job. We've been online now going on 3 weeks - I wish we could move faster and get our new stuff up there sooner, but as they say, Rome wasn't built in a day, so it would be great if you could stay tuned and maybe review us again at the end of the summer when we've gotten a bit more traction.