This anonymous interview is with an Academic librarian who has been a hiring manager and a member of a hiring or search committee. This librarian works at a library with 50-100 staff members in a Suburban area of the Southern US
What Candidates Should Wear
Should the candidate wear a suit to the interview?
√ Probably not (but it’s ok if the candidate does wear one)
An outfit with a coordinated blazer and trousers:
√ Is totally different
Bare arms are inappropriate in an interview, even in the summer.
If a woman wears a skirt to an interview, should she also wear pantyhose?
√ Either pantyhose or tights. Bare legs are innappropriate
Women should wear make-up to an interview:
√ I don’t care, as long as it’s not over-the-top
Is there anything a candidate might wear that would cause them to be instantly out of the running? If you have any funny stories about horrifying interview outfits, we’d love to hear them.
I have seen poor personal grooming (e.g., dirt under fingernails, men with long fingernails, unkempt hair that is not stylistically so, stained clothing, etc.) count against candidates more often than choice of clothing.
Can you share any stories about how a candidate nailed the proper interview outfit, especially if your organization does not expect suits?
In many libraries, a formal suit would be out of place and may even put interviewers ill at ease. Coat, tie, and dress slacks for a man or a nice dress for a woman can be perfectly acceptable interview attire in many non-corporate libraries.
Do you expect different levels of formality of dress, depending on the position you’re hiring for?
√ Yes, the higher the position, the more formal I expect the candidate to dress
Which jewelry may candidates wear: (Please select all that are acceptable)
√ Single, simple necklace, bracelet, and/or ring
√ A few simple necklaces, bracelets, and/or rings
√ Arty or more elaborate necklaces, bracelets, or rings
Which hair colors are acceptable for candidates:
√ All of them, even pink
The way a candidate dresses should:
√ Be fairly neutral
How does what a candidate wears affect your hiring decision?
A job candidate should present themselves professionally, but if someone’s sense of personal style falls outside the mainstream, they might as well present themselves honestly to potential employers to better determine whether the candidate would be a good fit for that particular workplace. No sense hiding who you are in the interview unless you are prepared to continue to hide that side of yourself during all working hours, if hired.
What This Library Wears
How do you dress when you are going to conduct an interview?
I wear one of my nicest work outfits.
On a scale of one (too dressed up for my workplace) to five (too casual), khakis and a polo shirt are:
What’s the dress code at your library/organization?
√ Other: no formal dress code
Are there any specific items of clothing, etc. that are forbidden by your dress code? (Please check all that apply)
√ N/A: We wear what we want!
Librarians at your organization wear: (Please check all that apply)
√ Name tags
This survey was co-authored by Jill of Librarian Hire Fashion – submit your interview outfit to her blog!
Photo: Hagrid’s New Clothesby Flickr user kevynjacobs