As long as the candidate shows they have taken care over their appearance that day … it doesn’t matter what they wear

ama interview by Flickr user MaryN1234


This anonymous interview is with an Academic librarian who has been a hiring manager and a member of a hiring or search committee. This librarian works at a library with 200+ staff members in an Urban area in the UK.

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.


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

Other: Who cares?

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.

A mask and cape… Seriously, as long as the candidate shows they have taken care over their appearance that day (showing commitment to the interview) it doesn’t matter what they wear.

Exception is higher level posts where they are expected to talk to senior staff inside and out of the service… need them to at least vaguely conform to the norm in that case.

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
All of the simple necklaces, bracelets, and rings he or she can load on
Arty or more elaborate necklaces, bracelets, or rings
Nose Ring (nostril)
Eyebrow Ring, Monroe piercing, septum piercing, or other face piercing
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

What This Library Wears

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

Smart – suit.

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: No real dress code…

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

N/A: We wear what we want!

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: ama interview by Flickr user MaryN1234 via Creative Commons License



Filed under 200+ staff members, Academic, UK, Urban area, What Should Candidates Wear?

2 responses to “As long as the candidate shows they have taken care over their appearance that day … it doesn’t matter what they wear

  1. Pingback: On What Candidates Should Wear | INALJ

  2. D.

    Nice post. Only thing I would add is that whenever possible, visit the library before the interview. Good idea for many reasons, of course, only one of which is to see what staff at the level for which you’ll be interviewing wear to work on a typical day.


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