This anonymous interview is with a public 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 City/town in the Midwestern 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:
√ I do not know and/or care
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?
√ No, but it’s not a dealbreaker
Women should wear make-up to an interview:
√ Other: I think putting their best face forward is always a good thing. If they need a little makeup, then do it!
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.
Too MUCH Cleavage! One young, new librarian showed up at an interview with about 5″ of cleavage hanging out…I mean it was horrifying as I kept waiting for one to pop out of her too tight shirt.
Open toe sandals are a deal breaker for me as are flip flops and goes without saying jeans (though I’ve seen them worn). And anything showing off the candidates tattoos – these are too distracting during an interview.
Can you share any stories about how a candidate nailed the proper interview outfit, especially if your organization does not expect suits?
Nice black/dark gray slacks are always acceptable. A professional looking blouse or shirt, PRESSED, works with the slacks and professional, closed toed shoes! I don’t expect suits out of candidates but I do expect some professionalism and respect for the hiring process.
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
√ Arty or more elaborate necklaces, bracelets, or rings
√ Multiple Ear Piercings
Which hair colors are acceptable for candidates:
√ Natural colors (black, brown, red, blonde, gray)
The way a candidate dresses should:
√ Show personality
How does what a candidate wears affect your hiring decision?
If a candidate is sloppy, unkempt looking, or too casual, I will automatically move them toward the bottom on the applicants. If a person will show up that way for an interview, I can only imagine what a nightmare they would be to keep on them to dress appropriately for work.
What This Library Wears
How do you dress when you are going to conduct an interview?
Slacks, blouse, blazer (if below 90 outside)…closed toe shoes.
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: business casual for management, business formal for executive level and casual for lower level staff
Are there any specific items of clothing, etc. that are forbidden by your dress code? (Please check all that apply)
√ Flip flops
√ Short skirts/shorts
√ Tank tops
Librarians at your organization wear: (Please check all that apply)
√ Name tags
Do you have any other comments?
I think that appropriate dress should be discussed in Library Schools. I know we assume that people working on graduate degrees would know the proper way to dress, but it seems to be a lost art!
This survey was co-authored by Jill of Librarian Hire Fashion – submit your interview outfit to her blog!