I’m Distracted a Bit by Multiple and Unusual Piercings

Business Woman with Tablet

This anonymous interview is with an Academic librarian who has been a hiring manager and a member of a hiring or search committee at a library with 100-200 staff members in an urban area of the Southern US.

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:

√ 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?

√ Other: It depends upon the season. Fall/winter? Yes. Spring/summer – maybe. It depends upon your legs/the weather. Mostly I won’t notice though.

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.

For women:

No tube tops that look like they’re about to fall down and expose your boobs to me. Not too much cleavage/boob (it’s distracting. Do you want me to remember you for YOU or because your boobs were in my face? Only one answer to that is right, by the way. )

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: I don’t really care – though I admit I’m distracted a bit by multiple and unusual piercings that have large jewelry in them. I’d suggest smaller, simpler jewelry in those piercings where possible.

Which hair colors are acceptable for candidates:

√ Other: It depends upon what they’re interviewing for.

The way a candidate dresses should:

√ Be fairly neutral

How does what a candidate wears affect your hiring decision?

Look, while they can show up wearing what they want, we are a place of work. Yes, we’re academic and there is a good bit of flexibility in how people dress here, but we also deal with donors and deans, some of whom are very conservative. I need to know that you are flexible enough to dress appropriately in a wide variety of situations. The interview is one example of that.

What This Library Wears

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

I wear a suit when I’m interviewing people.

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?

√ Other: No real dress code. Most people dress business casual

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

√ N/A: We wear what we want!

Librarians at your organization wear: Please check all that apply

√ Other: We have name tags, but are not required to wear them at all times.

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

Photo: Stockimages on FreeDigitalPhotos.net


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Filed under 100-200 staff members, Academic, Southern US, Urban area, What Should Candidates Wear?

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