That’s Too Sensitive an Issue. Allergies, etc. are Key Here.

Full Length of Business Woman

This anonymous interview is with a Public Librarian who has been a a hiring manager and a member of a hiring or search committee at a library with 10-50 staff members in a rural part of the Southern US.

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.

√ Other: How bare? Some sleeves are appropriate, no sleeves are not.

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:

√ Other: That’s too sensitive an issue. Allergies, etc. are key here.

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.

Candidate came in wearing a suit & tie. Took off the jacket, loosened the tie, rolled up the sleeves, and then sat down for the interview!

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
√ Earrings

Which hair colors are acceptable for candidates:

√ All of them, even pink

The way a candidate dresses should:

√ Show personality

What This Library Wears

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

I dress up as respect — I wear what I would consider appropropriate dress if I were being interviewed.

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
√ Tank tops
√  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!

Photo: Stockimages on


1 Comment

Filed under 10-50 staff members, Public, Rural area, Southern US, What Should Candidates Wear?

One response to “That’s Too Sensitive an Issue. Allergies, etc. are Key Here.

  1. Dan Robinson

    I love the story. I knew people at work who did this…. They came in impeccably dressed, then looked like a slob all day, and reversed the process before leaving.


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