I’ve Seen Cartoon Character Ties for a Law Librarian Interview

Interview outfit and desk by Flickr user TanaiseThis 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 50-100 staff members in a City/town in the Midwestern 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:

Other:Is appropriate in my academic library for women. Men should wear a suit and tie.

Bare arms are inappropriate in an interview, even in the summer.

Other:Depends on the weather.

If a woman wears a skirt to an interview, should she also wear pantyhose?

Other:Truly does not matter.

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.

I’ve seen cartoon character ties for a law librarian interview; seen a cute skirt instead of a suit; airline lost my own luggage and I had to buy an entire 2-day arsenal of off-the-rack, was probably more comfortable and got the position without the two suits and no pantyhose.

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
Multiple Ear Piercings

Which hair colors are acceptable for candidates:

All of them, even pink

The way a candidate dresses should:

Other:Reflect a professional version of themselves

How does what a candidate wears affect your hiring decision?

I think hiring decisions are often made in the first few minutes of meeting someone, even in a one or two day interview, so the clothing does matter since it is part of the initial impression. It shouldn’t be sloppy, but should be a step above our students.

What This Library Wears

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

We usually step it up a bit, to make the candidate more comfortable in their fancy pants. Dress pants and sweater, or skirt.

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:It is understood we don’t wear flip flops, but when the HVAC is broke and the building is in the 80s, we have to stick it out. So, tank tops are appropriate then.

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

Other:Some wear nametags, but it’s not required. Some library polos are encouraged on Fridays for those who bought them.

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

Photo: Interview outfit and desk by Flickr user Tanaise

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Filed under 50-100 staff members, Academic, Midwestern US, What Should Candidates Wear?

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