I Helped Her Dress from my Closet (I Have a Lot of Eileen Fisher…)

job interview by flickr user evamaria N




This anonymous interview is with an Academic librarian from a city/town in the Southern US.  This librarian works at a library with 50-100 staff members and has been a member of a hiring or search committee.

What Candidates Should Wear

Should the candidate wear a suit to the interview?

√ Other: depends on the setting. For academic libraries, yes, if possible.

An outfit with a coordinated blazer and trousers:

√ Counts as a suit

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?

√ Other: depends on the setting. I would, but I might wear slacks to get around the problem.

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.

We had one candidate whose luggage went missing. I helped her dress from my closet (I have a lot of Eileen Fisher, which is very flexible in size) and the big box store, but I don’t think she felt comfortable.

We had a candidate for a different job who wore a very short skirt, great shoes, and bare legs. She had the legs for it, but it caused a lot of comment. I think it was a test (of us, by her). She didn’t take the job.

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: There aren’t any rules about this, but I think elaborate piercings would push some buttons.

Which hair colors are acceptable for candidates:

√ All of them, even pink

The way a candidate dresses should:

√ Other: My opinion is that they should be neutral, so we don’t get distracted at the outset by the outfit, but it’s their choice.

How does what a candidate wears affect your hiring decision?

Only to the extent that I feel that they are taking us and the position seriously. If it feels like we’re being disrespected, that’s a problem. But I don’t insist on anything over clean and neat, myself.

What This Library Wears

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

Normal work clothes– a dress or nice slacks and a blouse, but not too formal.

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: we don’t have an official code, but it’s higher de facto than khakis and a polo shirt for professionals, most of the time.

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

√ Logos/band insignia/slogans
√ Other: nothing too low cut, no skin showing at the waist, no logos on tees for staff, except U. related. No profanities, no nude pictures, etc.

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: job interview by flickr user evamaria N

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Filed under 50-100 staff members, Academic, Southern US, What Should Candidates Wear?

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