Even Though I Think it’s Inappropriate I Wouldn’t Hold it Against Them

A Job Interview... by Flickr user  mrbill78636This anonymous interview is with a public librarian who has been a hiring manager, a human resources professional, and 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 Western US.

What Candidates Should Wear

Should the candidate wear a suit to the interview?

I don’t care

An outfit with a coordinated blazer and trousers:

Counts as a suit

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

Other: OK for women, not for men

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

Other: I’ve noticed younger women don’t wear hose very much anymore, so even though I think it’s inappropriate I wouldn’t hold it against them.

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.

Tank tops
Flip flops
A hat unless for religious reasons
Shirts with messages on them or pictures
Showing cleavage
Saggy pants

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

Which hair colors are acceptable for candidates:

Natural colors (black, brown, red, blonde, gray)

The way a candidate dresses should:

Be fairly neutral

How does what a candidate wears affect your hiring decision?

I cannot stand looking at people with piercings anywhere other than small earpiercings (no gauges). I would never hire someone with a nose ring, eyebrow ring, and especially not a pierced tongue. I am also very turned off by tattoos although I know a lot of professionals have them. I hope they have the sense to cover them up for interviews, though.

What This Library Wears

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

Like I do every other day. We are a fairly casual organization so I may be wearing a t shirt dress. It is unfair but we are generally dressed more casually than we would expect the candidate to dress.

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?

N/A: We wear what we want!

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

Name tags

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

Photo: A Job Interview… by Flickr user  mrbill78636


Filed under 50-100 staff members, City/town, Public, Western US, What Should Candidates Wear?

2 responses to “Even Though I Think it’s Inappropriate I Wouldn’t Hold it Against Them

  1. Really discouraging to read about hiring librarians who dislike tattoos and piercings. Especially since roughly half of the people in my MLIS program have them. I think that attitude is slowly fading, though.

    • Denise

      Judging from the comment on pantyhose, in combination with the tattoos/nose-rings, I’m guessing this person is pretty old. My 60 year old mother has stopped wearing pantyhose!

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