As Much as We Hate to Admit it, We Do Rely Partially on Clothing for First Impressions

Suit by Flickr User Corin (G.I. Folk)

Suit by Flickr User Corin (G.I. Folk)


I’m very excited to post the first of the individual interviews from the new survey!  If you are someone who hires librarians and would like to take it, please follow the link on the participate page.

This anonymous interview is with an Academic librarian from a city/town in the Western US who has been a hiring manager and a member of a hiring or search committee at a library with 0-10 staff members.

What Candidates Should Wear

Should the candidate wear a suit to the interview?

√ Probably, yes (but it’s ok if the candidate wears something a little less formal)

An outfit with a coordinated blazer and trousers:

√ Counts as a suit

Bare arms are inappropriate in an interview, even in the summer.

√ I don’t care

If a woman wears a skirt to an interview, should she also wear pantyhose?

√ Other: I don’t care either way

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.

Anything too casual, or not typically considered to be office appropriate.

Do you expect different levels of formality of dress, depending on the position you’re hiring for?

√ No

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
√ Earrings
√ Multiple Ear Piercings

Which hair colors are acceptable for candidates:

√ Natural colors (black, brown, red, blonde, gray)

The way a candidate dresses should:

√ Other: I don’t care as long as the outfit is office appropriate

How does what a candidate wears affect your hiring decision?

It gives me a sense of how much they care about getting the position. As much as we hate to admit it, we do rely partially on clothing for first impressions, and if someone does not appear to have made an effort to dress properly, than that would affect my decision to hire them.

What This Library Wears

How do you dress when you are going to conduct an interview?

Blouse and pants or skirt…occasionally a suit.

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

√ Flip flops
√ Short skirts/shorts
√ Tank tops
√ Other: While business casual is preferred in general, sometimes we’ll wear items such as sneakers to work if we’re moving a lot of books around.

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!


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Filed under 0-10 staff members, Academic, City/town, Western US, What Should Candidates Wear?

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