This anonymous interview is with an 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 City/town in the Midwestern US
What Candidates Should Wear
Should the candidate wear a suit to the interview?
√ Probably not (but it’s ok if the candidate does wear one)
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?
√ 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.
Dirty, stained clothes would be a deal breaker. Also, anything too odd or unusual. I once interviewed a woman who wore a hat with a fake bird nest (complete with rumpled bird) on it. I couldn’t hear a thing she said because the hat distracted me so much! On the other hand, one of the best teen services librarians I ever hired came complete with a nose ring and an “I ❤ the Dewey Decimal System” tattoo. Personality makes all the difference!
Can you share any stories about how a candidate nailed the proper interview outfit, especially if your organization does not expect suits?
My tattooed teen services librarian really nailed the interview. He came full of enthusiasm and ideas about ways to interest teens in the library. It was clear he had thought about the job and really wanted to reach teens. He was respectful but energetic at the same time. Just a dynamo!
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
√ I don’t care
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)
√ Eyebrow Ring, Monroe piercing, septum piercing, or other face piercing
√ Multiple Ear Piercings
√ Large gauge ear jewelry (stretched ears)
√ Other: Whatever they like
Which hair colors are acceptable for candidates:
√ All of them, even pink
The way a candidate dresses should:
√ Other: show personality but not be dirty
How does what a candidate wears affect your hiring decision?
It doesn’t really. I’m looking for personality and enthusiasm. I don’t want to hire someone who looks like a homeless person but other than that, anything goes.
What This Library Wears
How do you dress when you are going to conduct an interview?
As the library director, I wear a skirt and sweater or a basic sheath 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?
√ Other: No sweat pants and no showing your navel
Are there any specific items of clothing, etc. that are forbidden by your dress code? (Please check all that apply)
√ Other: Anything within reason
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: Suit by Flickr User Corin (G.I. Folk)