This anonymous interview is with someone who, when asked “are you a librarian?” chose the “It’s complicated” response. This person has been a hiring manager and a member of a hiring or search committee. This person works at a semi-private museum library and archives with 0-10 staff members in a Suburban area in the mid-Atlantic.
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:
√ I do not know and/or care
Bare arms are inappropriate in an interview, even in the summer.
√ I don’t care
If a woman wears a skirt to an interview, should she also wear pantyhose?
√ Other: It shouldn’t matter
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.
Clothing that poses a physical hazard to the work performed, torn or dirty clothing, clothing that is highly sexual, too tight or too revealing, or clothing that is advertising a brand or a political position.
Do you expect different levels of formality of dress, depending on the position you’re hiring for?
√ 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)
Which hair colors are acceptable for candidates:
√ All of them, even pink
The way a candidate dresses should:
√ I don’t really care how a candidate dresses
How does what a candidate wears affect your hiring decision?
Interviewees should dress for the position they are seeking. If that job involves dirty, back-breaking labor, then I wouldn’t expect female candidates to show up in dresses any more than I would male candidates to show up in 3-piece suits.
Personally, I judge candidates based on their knowledge, skills, experiences, and their passion for the work, not on their personal appearance. Some individuals dress according to their religion, some might dress to reflect an artistic personality, while others will dress according to their income. If we are truly going to encourage a diverse, non-discriminatory workplace, then we have to make allowances for personal expression with dress, including for hairstyles, make-up, accessories or garb that may be out of the norm, especially if the dress code is listed as “casual”.
What This Library Wears
How do you dress when you are going to conduct an interview?
Neutral colors, usually all black, dress shirt and slacks, with a nice shoe. I have a nose ring, an eyebrow ring, gauged ears and tattoos in visible places, which I do not hide during the interview. I’ve learned the hard way that if someone is going to judge me based on my appearance, rather than on my work experience, talents, passions, and performance, then I’d rather not work for those kinds of people/ organizations anyway.
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?
Are there any specific items of clothing, etc. that are forbidden by your dress code? (Please check all that apply)
√ N/A: We wear what we want!
Librarians at your organization wear: (Please check all that apply)
√ Other: Whatever they want & a key card
Do you have any other comments?
The questions seem more geared toward what women and alternative-type people would wear.
Is there the same concern over someone showing up to an interview wearing the traditional garb of a hasidic jew, the headdress of a hindi sikh, the muslim woman’s hijab, a male’s sarong, dhoti, chola, caftan, kanga or lungi skirt, the traditional facial piercings still found in India, Persia and Thailand, the traditional ritual facial scarification patterns or tooth modifications of sub-Saharan African cultures, or the traditional tribal face tattoos of Polynesian islanders, as there is towards westerners with tattoos, body piercings, unusual hair styles or dress? If not, our attitudes about dress and appearance are very likely discriminatory.
This survey was co-authored by Jill of Librarian Hire Fashion – submit your interview outfit to her blog!
Photo: Job interview by Flickr user ShaolinWorldwide