Drawing a clear line between the candidate and the casual wear of students

Job interview by Flickr user mhartfordThis anonymous interview is with an Academic librarian who has been a hiring manager and a member of a hiring or search committee. This librarian works at a library with 50-100 staff members in an Urban area in the Southwestern 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.

√ False

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

√ Other: Who cares? A non-issue

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.

Shorts, blue jeans, clothing with messages on them, anything that draws attention to the body in a sexual way, e.g. bare midriff or backless dress, bicycle shorts for men. I would raise an eyebrow at running shoes.

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

No; the ideal is not to draw my attention to the clothing, which should be professional, appropriate for faculty while drawing a clear line between the candidate and the casual wear of students.

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

Which hair colors are acceptable for candidates:

√ All of them, even pink

The way a candidate dresses should:

√ Be fairly neutral

How does what a candidate wears affect your hiring decision?

Unless an outfit is genuinely inappropriate, the clothing does not affect the hiring decision. We are hiring a faculty member, not a fashion plate.

What This Library Wears

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

my daily outfit, solid color oxford cloth short sleeve shirt and slacks (this is the southwest).

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?

√ Casual

Are there any specific items of clothing, etc. that are forbidden by your dress code? (Please check all that apply)

√ Other: Common sense and decency

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

√ Other: None of the above

Do you have any other comments?

Should men wear a tie? My experience is that managers wore it in the urban eastern research university, but not here in the southwest.

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

Photo: Job interview by Flickr user mhartford

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Filed under 50-100 staff members, Academic, Southern US, Urban area, What Should Candidates Wear?

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