The Workplace is Not “School” For You, Even if You Work in One

Work Interview Outfit in Buenos Aires by Flickr user Iluminado y Eterno MartinThis anonymous interview is with an Academic librarian who has been a hiring manager, human resources, and a member of a hiring or search committee. This librarian works at a library with 10-50 staff members in a Rural area in the Mid-Atlantic US.

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: If she wants to (these options are really poorly constructed)

Women should wear make-up to an interview:

Other: I don’t care

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.

Flip flops. Overly causal (jeans, baggy t-shirts, baggy pants, product logos.) Evening or party clothes. People who can’t be bothered to know what business casual is and dress like they are going to the mall or clubbing.

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)
Multiple Ear Piercings
Other: Candidates should remove any facial piecings and multiple ear piercings – even if it is obvious they have them – interview etiquites is to tone done your appearance

How does what a candidate wears affect your hiring decision?

It reflects how seriously they take the interview, the job and what it means to be a professional. Flip flops at an interview says that you don’t know that the workplace is not an extension of her personal life. That you don’t know how to present yourself to people who are NOT your friends. That the workplace is not “school” for you, even if you work in one.

What This Library Wears

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

The same I would dress on days there wasn’t an interview. This is a great opportunity to show the candidate what the dress culture is at our institution. The candidate should always be better dressed than the interviewers, because they don’t know what the dress culture is at a particular place.

What’s the dress code at your library/organization?

Other: it varies

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

Other: it’s seasonal

Do you have any other comments?

You should have someone vet this survey. The response are poorly articulated and are biased by the overly casual and poor attempts at humor. Survey response should not be jokey. I feel like you were wearing flip flops when you wrote it.

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

Photo: Work Interview Outfit in Buenos Aires by Flickr user Iluminado y Eterno Martin


Filed under 10-50 staff members, Academic, Rural area, What Should Candidates Wear?

2 responses to “The Workplace is Not “School” For You, Even if You Work in One

  1. rachael

    I don’t think the survey responses are jokey or poor attempts at humor. I think it reflects the wide variety of responses that might occur due to the wide variety of types of libraries. I appreciate realistic surveys like this and realistic survey responders like this. And as an aside – can tell I wouldn’t want to work with or for this responder!!


  2. Pingback: The Pantyhose Standard, and Related Sunday Ranting | Hiring Librarians

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