It can be the difference particularly in a close race

Bike to Work Day 2011 Outfit by Flickr user meonkeysThis anonymous interview is with Special librarian who has been a hiring manager and a member of a hiring or search committee. This librarian works at a library with 0-10 staff members in an Urban area in the Midwestern US.

What Candidates Should Wear

Should the candidate wear a suit to the interview?

Other: It is okay to wear something else other than a suit as long as it looks dressy and/or professional. A guy should always wear a suit–no shorts and always a tie.

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?

Yes, true professionals always wear pantyhose

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.

Anything that can be construed as provocative…too short, too tight, to low, too showy, etc.

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

√  Earrings

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?

It can be the difference particularly in a close race. If there are two candidates who have great personalities and experience and credentials I would be more apt to pick the one who took the time and effort to dress up than one who dressed down. It shows to me that the person is truly interested in the job and can bend a little to dress up for something important.

What This Library Wears

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

I have always worn either a suit or a professional type dress with stockings and pumps.

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?

Flip flops
Short skirts/shorts
Tank tops
Logos/band insignia/slogans

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


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Filed under 0-10 staff members, Midwestern US, Special, Urban area, What Should Candidates Wear?

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