No Skirts

Business Woman by a Window by Flickr user Victor1558

Business Woman by a Window by Flickr user Victor1558



This anonymous interview is with an Academic librarian at an institution with over 200 staff members in a suburban area of the Western US.  This librarian has been a hiring manager and a member of a hiring or search committee.

What Candidates Should Wear

Should the candidate wear a suit to the interview?

√ Yes, absolutely! It shows respect and professionalism

An outfit with a coordinated blazer and trousers:

√ Counts as a suit

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?

 √ Other: no skirts

Women should wear make-up to an interview:

√ Always

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)

√ Other: Use your best judgement as long as you wear a suit

Which hair colors are acceptable for candidates:

√ Other:  Use your best judgement as long as you wear a suit

The way a candidate dresses should:

√ Be fairly neutral

What This Library Wears

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


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
√ Logos/band insignia/slogans

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!



Filed under 200+ staff members, Academic, Suburban area, Western US, What Should Candidates Wear?

11 responses to “No Skirts

  1. Jessica

    No…skirts? Really? I’d love to hear the reasoning behind that.


  2. Elizabeth

    I would too. I prefer to wear a skirt suit to an interview. And I always wear pantyhose and closed-toed, not too high, heels.


  3. I’ve actually been told by someone who works as a corporate image consultant that women should wear a skirt-suit to the first interview and a pants suit to the second interview. I would definitely like to understand the reasoning here.


  4. Aimee

    I’ve been told that too, Alys, so I’d love to hear the reasoning against skirts / dresses. Some women must wear them for religious reasons.


  5. s

    No skirts??? As a lady who finds skirts to be more comfortable than pants, I hope I never have to interview at this institution!


  6. mt

    So actually, I am beginning to feel like a lot of these responses are borderline sexist. And the fact that there is even a question about pantyhose is ridiculous. Essentially, they are an undergarment. (Tights are different, as they are meant to be seen). Who wears them and why they choose to do so is personal. Would you ask boxers or briefs? Bra or none? Didn’t think so.


    • Here’s why the pantyhose question: These surveys are meant to help librarians decide what they want to wear to interviews (not tell them what they should wear, just give them some information about various people’s various expectations). “Should I wear pantyhose?” is a question people ask themselves. In some regions, and in some workplace cultures, professionalism dictates pantyhose. It’s also a changing norm – it’s something my grandmother’s generation always wore, but not so much anymore. If not wearing a bra was something that was similarly changing in our society, we’d ask that question. But for the most part, it’s not. This question is less about what interviewers want, and more about what job hunters worry about.
      As for why questions about boxers or briefs don’t appear (yes, I realize it was more of a rhetorical device), this is something that hopefully the interviewer won’t see. Boxers and briefs are truly undergarments. Pantyhose are seen just as tights are – they are both an under and an outer garment.


  7. Liz

    I also find it odd that this institution always want a woman to wear makeup to an interview in addition to no skirts.


  8. Becky

    No skirts? Really? So you discriminate against women from faith traditions that require skirts/dresses? Good to know.


  9. Pauline

    Really wish hiring librarians would come back to clarify/explain their comments. No skirts? Why ever not? What about a skirt and matching jacket? That’s a suit too, no?

    You are going to lose out on good hires if “no skirts” is an actual thing you insist on.


    • I wish that too! However, I think most respondents just take the survey and forget about it. It also takes a while to get all of the responses posted (one a day, when there are a couple hundred responses), so it may show up months or even a year after the hiring librarian originally takes the survey. One thing you *can* do is suggest a question for Further Questions. Just email Sarah at hiringlibrariansquestions AT gmail.


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