She Popped the Blazer off When Meeting with More Casually-Dressed People

Interview Suit by Flickr user Angie Andriot



This anonymous interview is with a librarian who has been a hiring manager and a member of a hiring or search committee. This librarian works at a special library and archive with 0-10 staff members in an urban area of the Western 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.

√ True

If a woman wears a skirt to an interview, should she also wear pantyhose?

√ Either pantyhose or tights. Bare legs are inappropriate

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.

Honestly, if your outfit is overly revealing, unpressed, or terribly ill-fitting I’m going to assume that you are not an adult who can put yourself together every day. Our dress code is pretty casual, but if you can’t put yourself together appropriately for an interview, you have problems reading a room and behaving appropriately for the situation at hand.

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

I recently had a candidate wear a tweed suit (pants and blazer), very natty, but not exactly your buttoned-up navy pinstripe (+1: suited but not stuffy). Underneath, she wore a pretty patterned blouse (+1: personality) and a cardigan sweater. It was cold, and looked very lovely all layered. As a bonus, since she met with a variety of people and committees, I noticed she popped the blazer off when meeting with more casually-dressed people, and put it on in the more formal situations. Very smart. I’m stealing this trick for my next 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)

√ Other: I don’t care. Others on the committee might, but jewelry doesn’t phase me

Which hair colors are acceptable for candidates:

√ Other: Again, I don’t care, but others might

The way a candidate dresses should:

√ Show personality

How does what a candidate wears affect your hiring decision?

If a person dresses well in a interview and is comfortable, I can reasonably extrapolate that this person will bring such poise and judgement to the job. If you’re clearly wearing your only suit and it doesn’t fit, I might wonder how you normally dress or how seriously you take the interview.

What This Library Wears

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

Usually a skirt and blazer. Even our higher-ups in the administration rarely wear conservative suits.

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


This survey was co-authored by Jill of Librarian Hire Fashion – submit your interview outfit to her blog!
Photo: Interview Suit by Flickr user Angie Andriot



Leave a comment

Filed under 0-10 staff members, Archives, Special, Urban area, Western US, What Should Candidates Wear?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.