A Librarian is Considered Smart — Act and Dress Like It

job interview by flickr user Kino Praxis




This anonymous interview is with an Academic librarian who has been a member of a hiring or search committee.  This librarian works in a city/town in the Western US, at a library with 10-50 staff members.

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?

√  No, but it’s not a dealbreaker

Women should wear make-up to an interview:

√  Always

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.

showing tats, inappropriate outfits suited to leisure @ home or weekend picnics. Professional and business professional is the rule for interviews, always!

we interviewed a man for the job – he wore casual clothing, wrinkled shirt and unpolished shoes — not good.

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

Which hair colors are acceptable for candidates:

√  Natural colors (black, brown, red, blonde, gray)

The way a candidate dresses should:

√  Show personality

How does what a candidate wears affect your hiring decision?

It matters – candidate should care about appearing professional – a librarian is considered smart — act and dress like it during an interview.

What This Library Wears

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

suit or business casual – always a jacket

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

√  Short skirts/shorts
√  Tank tops
√  Other: revealing clothing on women

Librarians at your organization wear: Please check all that apply

√  Name tags
√  Shirt, waistcoat/vest, or other single piece of clothing issued by the library

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

Photo: job interview by flickr user Kino Praxis

1 Comment

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

One response to “A Librarian is Considered Smart — Act and Dress Like It

  1. Shanna

    I find it incredibly sexist when I see people insist that women need to wear makeup. I never have, and I likely never will. What is so wrong with a woman’s natural face? Why is makeup never recommended or required for men? I’m working in a library, not at a Clinique counter. So long as I look clean and neat, this shouldn’t be an issue.


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