Beyond Appropriateness, The Personality Angle is Optional

Suit by Flickr user eat more toast

Suit by Flickr user eat more toast

This anonymous interview is with a librarian from a city/town in the Midwestern US.  This librarian has been a hiring manager and a member of a hiring or search committee at a State Library with 10-50 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:

√ Is totally different

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

√ True

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.

We usually only run into the too-casual issue when we are hiring for paraprofessional positions.

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
√ Earrings

Which hair colors are acceptable for candidates:

√ Other: Depends on the position – back office vs working with the public

The way a candidate dresses should:

√ Other: Beyond appropriateness, the personality angle is optional

How does what a candidate wears affect your hiring decision?

It gives us an impression of personality and of how they are approaching the job and the library.

What This Library Wears

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

More formal than day-to-day but less formal than I expect from the candidate.

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

√ Jeans
√ Flip flops
√ Short skirts/shorts
√ Tank tops
√ Sneakers/trainers

This survey was co-authored by Jill of Librarian Hire Fashion – submit your interview outfit to her blog!


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Filed under 10-50 staff members, City/town, Midwestern US, Other Organization or Library Type, What Should Candidates Wear?

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