MIGHT Be OK for a Page or Shelver if the Applicant is Teenaged (i.e. Too Young to Know Better)

Dress For Success 3 by Flickr user pennstatenewsThis anonymous interview is with an Public 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

semi-rural college town

in the Northeastern US.

*This person also said that they would like a bio/info about his/her library included, but then didn’t leave contact info. If this is you, and that is still the case, please let me know at hiringlibrariansATgmail.

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:

√ I do not know and/or care

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?

√ Other: I don’t care

Women should wear make-up to an interview:

√ I don’t care, as long as it’s not over-the-top
√ I don’t care what’s on the face, it’s what’s in the brain that counts
√ Never
√ Other:

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.

Inappropriately casual and/or sloppy attire – sweatpants, etc. This MIGHT be okay for a page or shelver if the applicant is teenaged (i.e. too young to know better), but anyone applying for a professional or paraprofessional position should take the opportunity seriously enough to wear something that looks reasonably nice.

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

√ Other: Yes, to some extent; a director candidate should dress better than a circ sub, for instance. But this isn’t a hard and fast rule for me.

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
√ Earrings
√ Multiple Ear Piercings
√ Large gauge ear jewelry (stretched ears)
√ Other: (dependent on position to some extent; directors, for instance, should show sensitivity to the general aesthetic preferences of the community they’ll have to interact with)

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?

Very little unless it’s pretty inappropriate. Sometimes the clothes give an impression of the kind of personality the applicant has (e.g. wearing a sweater-vest and tie rather than a suit) but that only applies as far as possible “fit” with the organization goes.

What This Library Wears

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

I wear my normal library-wear, which is business casual. (I try to make sure to select one of my “nicer” outfits.)

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)

√ Other: I’m not actually sure – would have to check my handbook

Librarians at your organization wear: (Please check all that apply)

√ Name tags
√ Other: occasionally, pins as part of our word-of-mouth marketing

Do you have any other comments?

You are an Ask A Manager reader, aren’t you? (This survey bears striking resemblance to some topics discussed in a recent blog post!) 😉

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



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Filed under 10-50 staff members, Northeastern US, Public, Rural area, What Should Candidates Wear?

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