It Shouldn’t Scream “Everyone Notice Me!”

Selah by Flickr user AmankyThis anonymous interview is with a Public librarian who has been a hiring manager and a member of a hiring or search committee. This librarian works at a library with 10-50 staff members in a Suburban area in the Western 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: depends on the rest of the outfit

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.

Anything too casual, ill-fitting, or not totally clean and in good repair. And yes, I’ve seen all of the above.

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

For an entry-level job for a woman: nice-quality coordinating slacks and jacket in neutral colors, eye-catching but tasteful jewelry, subdued makeup in neutral colors.

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
All of the simple necklaces, bracelets, and rings he or she can load on
Arty or more elaborate necklaces, bracelets, or rings
Nose Ring (nostril)
Multiple Ear Piercings
Other: pins or brooches

Which hair colors are acceptable for candidates:

All of them, even pink

The way a candidate dresses should:

Other: Neutral is safest. Showing personality is ok, up to a point — it shouldn’t scream “everyone notice me!”

How does what a candidate wears affect your hiring decision?

–Anything inappropriate makes me question their judgement in other areas, or their sincerity in wanting this position.
–Appropriate, clean apparel in “safe” colors makes me think this is a person who understands how the system works and wants this job. The ability to inject a little creativity into such an interview ensemble makes me think this is a person who can show initiative and innovation while following the rules.

What This Library Wears

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

Business casual, same as a normal work day.

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: Depends on the position

Are there any specific items of clothing, etc. that are forbidden by your dress code?

Logos/band insignia/slogans

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

Name tags

Do you have any other comments?

Nail polish — what colors are appropriate for interviewing?

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

Photo: Selah by Flickr user Amanky

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Filed under Academic, What Should Candidates Wear?

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