Formality is about seriousness, so that should be considered in any position one is applying for.

A job interview by Flickr user Pulpolux !!!This anonymous interview is with a librarian who has been a hiring manager and a member of a hiring or search committee. This librarian works at an archives with 0-10 staff members in a Rural area in the Northeastern 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.

√ Other: For women it’s fine. For men, not.

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

√ Other: Makes no difference.

Women should wear make-up to an interview:

√ Other: They should do whatever they’re comfortable with to make sure they’re confident and prepared.

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 too revealing or distracting that would call attention away from the substance of the interview, or that would indicate to the potential employer that the candidate is not serious – even if they did not intend to convey this.

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

I got my job by nailing the interview in a suit on a 100 degree day in New Orleans when my interviewers were all in shorts and shirtsleeves. When I got there they told me that they had not expected that I would dress so formally, but I could tell that they knew I was serious and I feel like in some ways it gave me an edge in the interview. Things went very well and I was offered the job two days later.

Do you expect different levels of formality of dress, depending on the position you’re hiring for?

√ Other: Formality is about seriousness, so that should be considered in any position one is applying for.

Which jewelry may candidates wear: (Please select all that are acceptable)

√ Other: Any of these are acceptable to me, but maybe not to other people.

Which hair colors are acceptable for candidates:

√ All of them, even pink

The way a candidate dresses should:

√ Other: Tasteful and appropriate, but not devoid of personality.

How does what a candidate wears affect your hiring decision?

It is secondary to their qualifications and ability to sell themselves for the position.

What This Library Wears

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

As I would dress in the workplace – business casual to business formal.

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: Business casual most days, business formal some days, and casual on Fridays.

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

√ Flip flops
√ Tank tops

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

Photo: A job interview by Flickr user Pulpolux !!!

1 Comment

Filed under Archives, Northeastern US, Rural area, What Should Candidates Wear?

One response to “Formality is about seriousness, so that should be considered in any position one is applying for.

  1. Antonymous

    Hi, from a feminist, why bare arms not ok for men, maybe if they shave (:?


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