As a Dean, I Can Wear Jeans if I Like

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



This anonymous interview is with an Academic librarian from a city/town in the Southern US. This librarian works at a library with 10-50 staff members and 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 not (but it’s ok if the candidate does wear one)

An outfit with a coordinated blazer and trousers:

√ I do not know and/or care

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?

√ No, but it’s not a dealbreaker

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.

I try not to judge people on appearance– it’s bitten me too many times. We are a faith-based institution, so something that showed disregard/ignorance of that would be a no-no (hooker-wear, some t-shirt slogans). Ratty clothes wouldn’t impress me much.

Can you share any stories about how a candidate nailed the proper interview outfit, especially if your organization does not expect suits?

I hardly pay attention if their outfit isn’t calling attention to itself.

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
√ A few simple necklaces, bracelets, and/or rings
√ 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:

√ I don’t really care how a candidate dresses

How does what a candidate wears affect your hiring decision?

As I said, I try not to let it. We have a conversation after hire about how to dress on the job.

What This Library Wears

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

We have a fairly casual workplace (as a Dean, I can wear jeans if I like). I usually wouldn’t wear jeans, but I’ll bet I’ve done at least one interview in 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: not forbidden by dress code, but we try not to wear shorts/tank tops.

Librarians at your organization wear: Please check all that apply

√ Other: we have library polos, but they are not required wear. We have name tags and wear them if we will be presenting to a class or working extensively with the public.

Do you have any other comments?

Florida tends to be more informal because of the heat (no pantyhose are expected; suits/ties are rarer) and we are informal even for Florida. I like that 🙂

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

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


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Filed under 10-50 staff members, Academic, Southern US, What Should Candidates Wear?

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