Tag Archives: academic library interview

There’s a Dress Code at this University so They Can’t Expect to Show Up in Anything Other Than “Business” or “Business Casual”

and this is what I wore by Flickr user kristykay22


This anonymous interview is with an Academic librarian from an urban area of the Northeastern US.  This librarian works at a library with 0-10 staff members and has been a hiring manager and a member of a hiring or search committee.

What Candidates Should Wear

Should the candidate wear a suit to the interview?

√ Probably, yes (but it’s ok if the candidate wears something a little less formal)

An outfit with a coordinated blazer and trousers:

√ Counts as a suit

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

√ True

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

√ Other: Depends on the skirt length

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.

Spandex [if it still exists], spaghetti strap anything, thigh high boots, cut-offs, T-shirts, jeans, gym gear Anything too tight or revealing. Males should have their lower garb hiked up at least to their hips, save the baggy street look for your time off. It’s an interview, not a luau or bar hopping time. Sat through the open house for a VPAA and the one candidate was wearing a very tight, short skirt – part of her bright pink suit – and a very low cut top. She didn’t get the job. Candidates should wear an outfit that doesn’t scream, “Look at me.” People were so mesmerized by the outfit that they didn’t pay attention to her responses to the questions.

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
√ A few simple necklaces, bracelets, and/or rings
√ Earrings

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?

There’s a dress code at this university so they can’t expect to show up in anything other than “business” or “business casual”, depending on what’s on the calendar. Candidates should be aware that they need to look as if they are interviewing for a top level job even though the actual position may be in the trenches. They can always dress down once they gauge the day to day acceptable garb.

What This Library Wears

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

Suit or dress with jacket.

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: University code is business formal and casual depending on what is on the calendar.

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

√ Jeans
√ Flip flops
√ Short skirts/shorts
√ Tank tops
√ Sneakers/trainers
√ Other: Allowed to wear denim one Friday a month

Librarians at your organization wear: Please check all that apply

√ Other: Business casual or formal

Do you have any other comments?

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

Photo: and this is what I wore by Flickr user kristykay22


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