Consciously? As Long as Someone Looks Appropriate and Not Casual, I’m Good

Job Interview, remix by Flickr user grapefruitmoon

This anonymous interview is with a Public librarian who has been a hiring manager. This librarian works at libraries(?) with 10-50 staff members in a

County system city and rural area

in the Western US.

What Candidates Should Wear

Should the candidate wear a suit to the interview?

√ Yes, absolutely! It shows respect and professionalism

An outfit with a coordinated blazer and trousers:

√ Counts as a suit

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?

√ Either pantyhose or tights. Bare legs are inappropriate

Women should wear make-up to an interview:

√ I don’t care, as long as it’s not over-the-top

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.

We had a candidate come to the interview in capris and flipflops. This was for a management position. It didn’t put her out of the running, other things did, but it felt disrespectful.

Out of the running? Bare midriff, short shorts very low cut tops for women. Same for men. 😉 What it comes down to is that whatever outfit somebody wears should show respect of self and the institution for which application is being made.

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

I did have a candidate come in wearing a very simple, tasteful skirt and blouse with a vintage handbag (small, clean lines). Her heels were not too high. This was for an entry level position and its simplicity gave a suit-like feel and helped project confidence in herself. Very nicely done.

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
√ Arty or more elaborate necklaces, bracelets, or rings
√ Nose Ring (nostril)
√ Earrings
√ Multiple Ear Piercings
√ Other: The more the tattoos and piercings the more important to dress very professionally

Which hair colors are acceptable for candidates:

√ All of them, even pink

The way a candidate dresses should:

√ Be fairly neutral

How does what a candidate wears affect your hiring decision?

Consciously? As long as someone looks appropriate and not casual, I’m good. Unconsciously? If their dress doesn’t stand out in bad way it is probably okay.

What This Library Wears

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

I dress business casual in a dress or a nice pair of slacks.

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: There is no written dress code

Are there any specific items of clothing, etc. that are forbidden by your dress code? (Please check all that apply)

√ Other: I wish we had a dress code

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: Job Interview, remix by Flickr user grapefruitmoon via Creative Commons License


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

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