The Only Horrifying Accessory I’ve Seen Was When a Candidate Lit a Cigarette

Matt in a suit by Flickr User soapbeard

Matt in a suit by Flickr User soapbeard

This anonymous interview is with an Academic librarian from a library with 10-50 people in a suburban area of the Southern 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?

√ 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.

√ True

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

√ Other: I have no idea.

Women should wear make-up to an interview:

√ I don’t care what’s on the face, it’s what’s in the brain that counts

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.

No t-shirts or jeans. Anything nicer than that wouldn’t be a deal breaker. The only horrifying accessory I’ve seen was when a candidate lit a cigarette while walking across campus with the search committee, had smoke blowing in our faces, and he never asked or even mentioned the fact that he was smoking. Years later, that’s the only thing I remember about him.

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)

√ All of the simple necklaces, bracelets, and rings he or she can load on
√ Arty or more elaborate necklaces, bracelets, or rings
√ Nose Ring (nostril)
√ Eyebrow Ring, Monroe piercing, septum piercing, or other face piercing
√ Earrings
√ Multiple Ear Piercings
√ Large gauge ear jewelry (stretched ears)

Which hair colors are acceptable for candidates:

√ All of them, even pink

The way a candidate dresses should:

√ Other: Be respectable

How does what a candidate wears affect your hiring decision?

As long as they dress and behave in a respectable manner, it doesn’t affect my decision in the least.

What This Library Wears

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

Long-sleeve dress shirt, often with cufflinks, tie, and/or blazer. Casual pants, no suit, no jeans.

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?

√ Casual

Are there any specific items of clothing, etc. that are forbidden by your dress code? Please check all that apply

√ Other: I’ve heard mention of a dress code, but I have no idea what it is.

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 10-50 staff members, Academic, Southern US, Suburban area, What Should Candidates Wear?

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