If–and Only If–He or She Feels Most Comfortable, Authentic, and “In Control” in a Suit

Day 15 - Self-Contemplation by Flickr user Dyvo


This 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 50-100 staff members in a City/town in the Southeastern US.

What Candidates Should Wear

Should the candidate wear a suit to the interview?

Other: I truly feel that the candidate should wear a suit if–and only if–he or she feels most comfortable, authentic, and “in control” in a suit. It isn’t necessarily about my institution (we have suite wearers and non-suit wearers at all levels of librarian, from the ref desk to the dean’s office), but more about personal preference/comfort level for me.

An outfit with a coordinated blazer and trousers:

Other: Still on the same level of professionalism as a suite, but slightly more relaxed.

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: This question makes me think we are seriously crazy. Bare legs are fine. Pantyhose is fine. Tights are fine.

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.

Just try to be clean and neat.

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


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)
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:

Show personality

How does what a candidate wears affect your hiring decision?

It doesn’t, and it shouldn’t. I more concerned about (a) can he/she do the job? and (b) will he/she “fit” the organization/team, complementing and enhancing it? Perhaps I’m too laid back.

What This Library Wears

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

Dress slacks, dressy blouse. Maybe a cardigan and/or more casual (i.e. not matching) blazer.

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 a true, set-in-stone dress code, but the majority of the organization tends to be a bit business casual. That said, I do wear jeans (dark, no holes) to work from time to time. I don’t tend to wear t-shirts (unless it’s a university/mascot t-shirt, maybe during big games).

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)

Other: We have name tags, but are not required to wear them.

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


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

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