This anonymous interview is with someone who has been a member of a hiring or search committee at an Academic library with 10-50 staff members in an Urban area in the Southern US. When asked, “Are you a librarian?” this respondent chose the “It’s complicated” option.
What Candidates Should Wear
Should the candidate wear a suit to the interview?
√ I don’t care
An outfit with a coordinated blazer and trousers:
√ Counts as a suit
Bare arms are inappropriate in an interview, even in the summer.
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.
Blue jeans, torn clothing, baggy rapper pants, mini skirts, any top that exposes the midriff, flip flops, pj bottoms,
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
√ Multiple Ear Piercings
Which hair colors are acceptable for candidates:
√ All of them, even pink
The way a candidate dresses should:
√ I don’t really care how a candidate dresses
How does what a candidate wears affect your hiring decision?
I don’t care about the dress, except that it should be neat and clean, and not be gym or beach wear. We interviewed and hired one female librarian who only wears pants (khakis, etc.) and tailored shirts, but she is always neat, clean and her clothes well pressed. There was nothing about her outfit that turned me off. She is a wonderful librarian and always looks good.
The most important thing is that the candidate feel comfortable in his/her own clothes, because that builds confidence and gives the person the attitude he/she needs in an interview.
All that being said, I still think “Dress for the job you want, not for the job you have” is good advice. Thus, it is always better to err on the side of formality, rather than casualness.
What This Library Wears
How do you dress when you are going to conduct an interview?
I wear more professional clothes than I do on a day-to-day basis. Either nice slacks or skirt, nice top and jacket or a dress. I happen to be a person who does not wear hose, so it is either bare legs, tights, or slacks. I also dress like this for professional meetings.
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?
√ Business casual
Are there any specific items of clothing, etc. that are forbidden by your dress code? (Please check all that apply)
√ Short skirts/shorts
Librarians at your organization wear: (Please check all that apply)
Do you have any other comments?
As time passes, I believe dress for the office is getting more casual. Even though I am a senior citizen, since I am a casual type of person, I like this trend. But I still think that sloppiness is not appropriate in any business/academic/work environment.
This survey was co-authored by Jill of Librarian Hire Fashion – submit your interview outfit to her blog!
Photo: Interview Time! (P365-191) by Flickr user wizzer2801