Hair combed and doesn’t smell funny

This anonymous interview is with someone who has been a hiring manager and a member of a hiring or search committee. When asked, “Are you a librarian?”  This person chose the response, “it’s complicated.” This person works at an archives with 10-50 staff members in a Rural area in the Western US.

What Candidates Should Wear

Should the candidate wear a suit to the interview?

Yes, absolutely! It shows respect and professionalism

An outfit with a coordinated blazer and trousers:

Counts as a suit

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

√ Inappropriate during the day, but I would say fine for dinner-especially 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, as long as it’s not over-the-top

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:

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?

My personal opinion is that suits are always a safe bet in this profession. However, it isn’t a deal breaker as long as the candidate looks professional and has a good overall personal hygiene (i.e. hair combed and doesn’t smell funny) 🙂

What This Library Wears

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

Typically business casual. This is the accepted dress in my institution and so I’m hoping the candidate realizes this should they get the job.

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?

√ Short skirts/shorts, no open toed shoes in the stacks and no jeans on the reference desk

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

Name tags, Name tags are not required but some people wear them:

Do you have any other comments?

Love the survey and the concept. This is one of those issues that never gets discussed but I personally find it very interesting- probably because I’m a clothes horse and interested in fashion.

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


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Filed under 10-50 staff members, What Should Candidates Wear?

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