The Clothing Must Be Appropriate for the Specific Library Environment Where the Interview Is Taking Place

Trying too hard by Flickr user kmiller799This 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 Urban area in the Northeastern US.

What Candidates Should Wear

Should the candidate wear a suit to the interview?

√ Other:Academic/Legal/Corporate—yes. Public/K-12—no.

An outfit with a coordinated blazer and trousers:

√ Counts as a suit

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?

√ 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

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.

Strong perfume is not a deal breaker but all other things being equal it could be.

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)

√ Other:Depends on the type of library

Which hair colors are acceptable for candidates:

√ Other:Depends on the library

The way a candidate dresses should:

√ Other: Depends on the library

How does what a candidate wears affect your hiring decision?

The clothing must be appropriate for the specific library environment where the interview is taking place–no one shoe fits all. Typically, a candidate would be able to get by in conservative dress however if the opening is at an art school then a conservative dress would probably count against. I look at the person from the perspective of how they will be viewed by the patron/client. Will our patrons be comfortable asking this person questions.

What This Library Wears

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

Academic–black suit. Public–dressy skirt/top. My first interview at public I wore my “black suit” and it was overkill. The clothes always make a difference in how you feel at the interview.

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 formal

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

√ Jeans
√ Flip flops
√ Visible Tattoos
√ Short skirts/shorts
√ Tank tops
√ Logos/band insignia/slogans
√ Sneakers/trainers

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

√ Name tags
√ Badges

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

Photo: Trying too hard by Flickr user kmiller799

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

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