I Can Only Remember One Out of Four Interviewees’ Outfits

Wardrobe Remix by Flickr user Mike_flemingThis anonymous interview is with an Academic librarian who has been a member of a hiring or search committee. This librarian works at a library with 10-50 staff members in a Suburban area in the Southern US.

What Candidates Should Wear

Should the candidate wear a suit to the interview?

√ I don’t care

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.

√ False

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, as long as it’s not over-the-top

Do you expect different levels of formality of dress, depending on the position you’re hiring for?

√ I don’t care

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
√ Arty or more elaborate necklaces, bracelets, or rings
√ Nose Ring (nostril)
√ 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?

I was on a hiring committee about 6 months ago, and I can only remember one out of 4 interviewees’ outfits, only because I thought it was a little frumpy. I think keeping your outfit fairly neutral will ensure that people don’t remember you for what you wore, but how you interviewed or presented. Also, I would hope that a candidate dresses the way they expect to dress when they come to work. In that sense, I think it is unrealistic to expect that either men or women will wear a suit to work everyday here at my library, therefore I don’t expect that they must wear one to an interview.

What This Library Wears

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

I may wear a dress (even a bright pink one) or a nice button-down shirt with trousers. I just wear what I usually wear to work, but make sure it is one of my nicer outfits (i.e., not 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)

√ N/A: We wear what we want!

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

Photo: Wardrobe Remix by Flickr user Mike_fleming , under creative commons license

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

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