A Librarian Needs to CARE about the Signals They are Sending out These Days

Time to try on interview clothes by Flickr user Irregular ShedThis 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 an Urban area in the Northeastern 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.

√ I don’t care

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 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.

Jeans, anything skimpy, plunging necklines (men or women!).

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: 

√ Single, simple necklace, bracelet, and/or ring
√ A few simple necklaces, bracelets, and/or rings
√ Arty or more elaborate necklaces, bracelets, or rings
√ Earrings
√ Multiple Ear Piercings

Which hair colors are acceptable for candidates:

√ All of them, even pink

The way a candidate dresses should:

√ Other: …show they care!

How does what a candidate wears affect your hiring decision?

Did they pick their clothes consciously? Were they trying to say something? WHAT were they trying to say? Were they trying merely to impress, or were they making a statement? DO THEY CARE? A librarian needs to CARE about the signals they are sending out these days.

What This Library Wears

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

Pretty neutrally. Plain dress or plain shirt and trousers with a blazer depending on the season. A little bit of jewelry.

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: The dress code is unstated. I don’t think anyone in my memory with this place (however short) has crossed the line.

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

√ Badges

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

Photo: Time to try on interview clothes by Flickr user Irregular Shed via Creative Commons License

1 Comment

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

One response to “A Librarian Needs to CARE about the Signals They are Sending out These Days

  1. Pingback: 5 Things: Get a Job, DAM, Subject Headings | MOD LIBRARIAN

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