Tag Archives: clothing

I understand that not everyone has the money to dress up, but they should do their best to appear professional

Interview Clothes by Flickr user MalkyThis anonymous interview is with an Academic librarian who has been a hiring manager and a member of a hiring or search committee. This librarian works at a library with 10-50 staff members in a Suburban area Southern US.

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: Not necessary in the south as long as the rest of the outfit is appropriate

Women should wear make-up to an interview:

√ Other: No makeup is fine, excessive makeup could be off-putting

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.

They need to look like they gave their appearance some thought – no flip flops, bare midriffs, shorts… I know I am in Florida and we are pretty informal, but there is a line. Clothes should fit without being too revealing.

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

Women have come in wearing a nice dress, jacket, appropriate heels or slacks with a really nice blouse -carrying a jacket and looked fine. Men can wear slacks, shirt and blazer. A tie at an interview is pretty much expected. Polished shoes.

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
√ Arty or more elaborate necklaces, bracelets, or rings
√ Earrings
√ Multiple Ear Piercings

Which hair colors are acceptable for candidates:

√ Natural colors (black, brown, red, blonde, gray)

The way a candidate dresses should:

√ Other: Show personality, but not be over the top. Get the job and then slide into less traditional dress once we know you.

How does what a candidate wears affect your hiring decision?

As long as they are neat and clean and appear to have paid attention to their appearance , I try not to let clothes affect me too much. I understand that not everyone has the money to dress up, but they should do their best to appear professional and businesslike.

What This Library Wears

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

I wear a dress and jacket, shirt and blazer, slacks and blazer – something quite businesslike.

On a scale of one (too dressed up for my workplace) to five (too casual), khakis and a polo shirt are:

3

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? (Please check all that apply)

√ Tank tops
√ Other: We have different levels – student workers who are casual, staff who are pretty casual, and librarians who are less casual.

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

Photo: Interview Clothes by Flickr user Malky via Creative Commons License

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Filed under 10-50 staff members, Academic, Southern US, Suburban area, What Should Candidates Wear?

I hate the idea that people judge you by the way you look, but some do.

Suiting up for interview by Flickr user Sleeteye

This anonymous interview is with an Academic librarian who has been a hiring manager and a member of a hiring or search committee. This librarian works at a library with 100-200 staff members in a Suburban area in the 

Southwestern US – Texas

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.

√ Other: I would advise against it, but I don’t think it would prevent a good candidate from being seriously considered for a job.

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

√ Other: If she is otherwise well groomed, it doesn’t matter either way.

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.

One candidate for an Associate Dean position at an ARL library where I worked interviewed in well-worn jeans and a sport shirt. He did not even mention at the time that his luggage had been lost, and he had to interview in the clothes he wore on the plane. He got the job.

Another time, a candidate for an entry level position wore a transparent white blouse with a lacy bra underneath–no slip or camisole. During her presentation to all staff, she took off her suit jacket and the overhead lighting showed off every detail of the bra, cleavage, etc. I thought that showed poor preparation for the interview. Very much a distraction from her presentation. She did not get the job.

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

For an entry level position, the candidate that I recall as having a great outfit wore a two-piece summer suit (it was hot) with a kelly green top, black skirt, and low black heels. It was not too formal or dressy, but it fit well and looked very up-to-date and professional. The outfit was not too serious — the bright green jacket was a bit livelier than the usual interview outfit. She was a great candidate–very well qualified and well prepared for the interview.

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

√ Other: I have heard a saying that you should dress for an interview as if you already have the job you’re applying for. In that case, if you are applying for a Dean’s position, yes, I would expect the person to be wearing a suit.

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)
√ Earrings
√ Multiple Ear Piercings
Other: In Texas, to be honest, I think the person would be better off interviewing without eyebrow rings or other face piercing, or large gauge ear jewelry.

Which hair colors are acceptable for candidates:

√ Natural colors (black, brown, red, blonde, gray)

The way a candidate dresses should:

√ Other: Any of the above would usually work. The main thing is that the person appears to be smart, reasonable, a good collaborator, etc.

How does what a candidate wears affect your hiring decision?

If someone doesn’t dress professionally for an interview, I would wonder if they have a clue about campus expectations for professional positions. There is so much info out there about how to interview to the best advantage. The interview only lasts for a few hours–why not give it your best shot?

What This Library Wears

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

I wear a suit, either with a skirt or slacks. I am an assistant dean, so I feel I need to dress as an administrator for interviews. In a way, I consider it a responsibility– a mark of respect for the effort the candidate has gone through to prepare for the interview, travel to a new city, etc.

On a scale of one (too dressed up for my workplace) to five (too casual), khakis and a polo shirt are:

3

What’s the dress code at your library/organization?

√ Other: Any of the above are OK, depending upon the person’s position

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

√ Other: Tank tops, slogans, and flip flops are not worn by librarians or full time staff, but they are not forbidden

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

√ Name tags
√ Badges
√ Uniforms
√ Shirt, waistcoat/vest, or other single piece of clothing issued by the library
√ Other:

Do you have any other comments?

I think the best advice I have heard is to learn about the library where you are applying for a job, and try to dress one level up from the job you are interviewing for. I hate the idea that people judge you by the way you look, but some do. Once you have the job and people know you, what you wear is less of an issue.

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

Photo: Suiting up for interview by Flickr user Sleeteye

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Filed under 100-200 staff members, Academic, Suburban area, What Should Candidates Wear?

Knives in Belt Pouches

Shopping for the big day by Flickr user Loving EarthThis anonymous interview is with a Public librarian who has been a hiring manager and a member of a hiring or search committee. This librarian works at a library with 10-50 staff members in a City/town in the Western US.

What Candidates Should Wear

Should the candidate wear a suit to the interview?

√ Probably not (but it’s ok if the candidate does wear one)

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: who is looking at someone’s legs?

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.

knives in belt pouches

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)

√ Other: don’t care

Which hair colors are acceptable for candidates:

√ All of them, even pink

The way a candidate dresses should:

√ Other: Show respect for the job

How does what a candidate wears affect your hiring decision?

it doesn’t unless the candidate is wearing super casual attire – jeans, shorts, teeshirts.

What This Library Wears

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

Business

On a scale of one (too dressed up for my workplace) to five (too casual), khakis and a polo shirt are:

3

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? (Please check all that apply)

√ Jeans

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

√ Name tags

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

Photo: Shopping for the big day by Flickr user Loving Earth via Creative Commons License

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Filed under 10-50 staff members, City/town, Public, Western US, What Should Candidates Wear?

A Blouse Decorated with Bells!

dress for success 2 by Flickr user pennstatenews

This anonymous interview is with a public librarian who has been a hiring manager and a member of a hiring or search committee. This librarian works at a library with 50-100 staff members in a City/town in the Western US.

What Candidates Should Wear

Should the candidate wear a suit to the interview?

√ Other: depends – management positions, yes. Librarian positions, maybe (depending on the organization’s formality). Paraprofessionals, probably not.

An outfit with a coordinated blazer and trousers:

√ Is totally different

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

√ Other: ABSOLUTELY

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

√ Either pantyhose or tights. Bare legs are inappropriate

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.

I have interviewed people wearing extremely low-cut blouses, see-through blouses, jewelry that makes noise (and once, a blouse decorated with bells!), jeans and casual T-shirts, tights with Birkenstocks, very short skirts … all very distracting, and it tells me that the person either doesn’t know what “professional” attire is or doesn’t care. Even someone on a low budget can find clothes that are appropriate for interviews. Suits are probably overkill for most library positions, but get a pair of nice pants and a simple, modest blouse or shirt and tie. And never wear anything to an interview that you would wear to the beach (flip-flops, I’m looking at you!).

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

I only remember the inappropriate outfits!

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: 

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

Which hair colors are acceptable for candidates:

√ Other: Depends on the position. I would be distracted by pink hair if I was interviewing a candidate for library director.

The way a candidate dresses should:

√ Be fairly neutral

How does what a candidate wears affect your hiring decision?

I want to know that the person understands professionalism. That means dressing differently (yes, more formally) than you would dress to go to the movies, the grocery store or the gym. Don’t distract from your WORK qualifications by insisting on expressing your PERSONAL style. Wait until you’re hired, and even then, recognize that you are at WORK.

What This Library Wears

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

Pretty much the same as I dress on any other day … nice pants, blouse or dressy sweater. I don’t wear suits to work so I don’t wear them to conduct interviews, but if I were on the interview team for a new director (which may happen in the next few years) I would wear more formal attire. I don’t want the candidate to be distracted by MY clothing!

On a scale of one (too dressed up for my workplace) to five (too casual), khakis and a polo shirt are:

3

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? (Please check all that apply)

√ Other: We don’t have a written dress code. Jeans are only allowed on weekends and must be worn with a library shirt. Shelvers and maintenance can wear jeans any time. I discourage flip-flops – too casual, too noisy, provide no protection for feet.

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

√ Name tags

Do you have any other comments?

I am 41. In terms of style, I’m less formal than my director/asst director (who are 62 and 56) but I am more formal than my employees (ranging from 26-49) in the reference department. I adhere to the adages “dress one level higher than your public” and “dress for the job you want, not the one you have”.

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

Photo: dress for success 2 by Flickr user pennstatenews

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Filed under 50-100 staff members, Academic, City/town, Western US, What Should Candidates Wear?

If the Problem the Search Committee Has is with Your Clothing, Maybe You Don’t Want to Work There

Job Interview by Flickr user dichromatic winsonThis anonymous interview is with an Academic librarian who has been a hiring manager. This librarian works at a library with 50-100 staff members in an Urban area in the Southern US.

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.

I don’t care

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

Other: This might be handled differently depending on where the interview is located. In the south, in the summer (and many of the other seasons), bare legs are fine.

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.

shorts or jeans wouldn’t be appropriate and would probably make a search committee think twice about hiring someone.

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
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
Earrings
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?

If the candidate seems uncomfortable in their clothing, that might show. I suppose it’s really about the candidate being himself/herself versus who they think the search committee wants to see. If a candidate wears a suit, has no piercings and natural hair color during the interview but shows up on the first day of work wearing cutoffs and has purple hair and piercings, that would be jarring for the people who just hired the candidate. It’s best to stay close to your personality when dressing for an interview.

If the problem the search committee has is with your clothing, maybe you don’t want to work there.

What This Library Wears

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

i dress a bit more formally than i typically do. i’ll wear a dress or a blazer for sure.

On a scale of one (too dressed up for my workplace) to five (too casual), khakis and a polo shirt are:

1 2 3 4 5

What’s the dress code at your library/organization?

Other: i’m not sure we have a dress code.

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

Other: while there’s not a written dress code, per se, men have been asked to wear shirts with collars. shorts are frowned upon except on very hot summer days.

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

Name tags

Do you have any other comments?

Can you work some Tim Gunn into the survey?? 🙂

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

Photo: Job Interview by Flickr user dichromatic winson

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Filed under 50-100 staff members, Academic, Southern US, Urban area, What Should Candidates Wear?

If They are Dirty, Then I Would Show Concern

Day 262 - 9-18-12 Why is it... by Flickr user IslesPunkFanThis anonymous interview is with an Academic 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 a Rural area in the Midwestern US.

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.

√ Other: It depends on the climate and what the facilities are like

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.

Bra straps showing. See through clothing. Too much cleavage. Clothes that are too tight. Dirty clothes.

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

n/a

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: 

√ 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
√ Earrings
√ Multiple Ear Piercings
√ Large gauge ear jewelry (stretched ears)

Which hair colors are acceptable for candidates:

√ All of them, even pink
√ Natural colors (black, brown, red, blonde, gray)
√ Other:

The way a candidate dresses should:

√ Be fairly neutral

How does what a candidate wears affect your hiring decision?

If a candidate is neat and clean then I do not worry about what they are wearing. If they are dirty, then I would show concern.

What This Library Wears

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

A suit

On a scale of one (too dressed up for my workplace) to five (too casual), khakis and a polo shirt are:

3

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? (Please check all that apply)

√ Logos/band insignia/slogans

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

√ Name tags
√ Badges

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

Photo: Day 262 – 9-18-12 Why is it… by Flickr user IslesPunkFan

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

Stats and Graphs: The Tattooed Librarian Part II

It’s Staturday!

Today I’m continuing our discussion on Interviewing While Tattooed.

Of 237 responses to the What to Wear survey, 27 indicated that their library (or organization’s) dress code specifically forbade Visible Tattoos.  These respondents included people from all response categories for library type, region, and area type. 20 of the free responses specifically mentioned tattoos, most either to explain that they did not matter as long as the candidate was neat, clean, and professional, or to say that they were a negative.  Only 4 of those 20 mentions also had a dress code that forbade visible tattoos.

So 43, or 18.14% of responses, mentioned tattoos, either by ticking the box indicating their library forbade it’s employees to have visible tattoos, or by discussing them in a free response.

I’m going to quote below all of the free responses that include a mention of tattoos.  The ellipse indicates that the following is the same subject’s response to a different question.

I don’t think professionals (or people who wish to be taken seriously in a job interview) wear nose rings or other facial piercings, visible tattoos, large gauge ear jewelry, crazy hair colors, etc.  If you’re applying for a job at Hot Topic or your local tattoo place – any of those would be acceptable; but they are not appropriate for a library (or most other jobs).

Unless it’s completely, insanely over the top, I don’t judge much on fashion. Some of the most brilliant people I know are the worst dressers or have large tattoos or multiple earrings, etc.. While I don’t expect people to cover all that up, I do expect that when they come to a job interview, they are well-groomed and their clothes are neat, and I do expect that they dress, at a minimum, business casual. I don’t think it’s too much to ask for someone to thrown on a pair of khakis and iron their shirt. They can be a slob once they get the job.

Given the fact that we’re an academic library at a fairly conservative university, obvious tattoos and body piercings would most likely be an issue.  Professional attire would be expected.

The biggest thing is that it would be an indicator of how much homework they’ve done to see who we are.  I don’t think any of the items listed in this survey would be an indicator of ability to do a job or not do a job, neither do I think they indicate quality of character.  In our particular library, though, showing up with super casual dress and tats and piercings would show me that they hadn’t been interested enough in the position to learn about their potential place of employment.  Though some of us are personally much more liberal than our environment, when we’re here we respect the tone of the university overall.

[listing dealbreakers] Visible tattoos of any type.  Piercings of any type.  Really low scoop neck top.  A t-shirt.  Flip flops.  Most show disregard or disrespect.

Clothing can be a distraction and candidates should be aware of that. While the ideal is a place that looks beyond clothing and hair, this is often the first thing people will notice and candidates need to be aware of how they present themselves. Sometimes a less-than-ideal appearance isn’t important when a candidate has other excellent points for them such as a stellar presentation. Also, in some places, a candidate with wildly colored hair, tattoos, and facial piercings may fit right in with the culture. All of this depends on the overall culture of the place where the candidate is interviewing.

Depends on the position and branch location.  Someone with multicolored hair, and lots of tatts and piercings may not be a good fit for a rural branch, but would be unnoticed at our main urban branch.

no no no stilettos – heels are great but not stripper or clubbing shoes please!
take out facial piercings (nose, lips, eyebrows) for an interview.
lowcut or unbuttoned shirts that reveal tattoos are not for interviews. If you have ink on your legs wear opaque tights.

It really depends on the workplace – if you have time, check out the library and see what staff are wearing, and aim for a step or two above that level or formality. When in doubt, go more formal – you can always ditch the jacket/cardigan/ironic pearls once you’re there.

Don’t assume that because you’re interviewing for a children’s or a teen position you can throw formality out the window – yes, there is more latitude, but that’s not without limits.

Visible tattoos, facial piercings, etc., are not dealbreakers, but the interview is your chance to show folks (some of whom are going to be uncomfortable with such things) how “normal” you can present, and you should treat it as such.

I dont’ really care what people wear, but I want people to meet a minimum standard of cleanliness and neatness–plenty of people can do this with multiple piercings. And tattoos–you didn’t ask about those.

While I don’t care, I DO appreciate an outfit that isn’t over the top but that does show personality. There are people who manage to convey something about themselves without demanding that all of the attention be on them.

 The more the tattoos and piercings the more important to dress very professionally.

I cannot stand looking at people with piercings anywhere other than small earpiercings (no gauges).  I would never hire someone with a nose ring, eyebrow ring, and especially not a pierced tongue.   I am also very turned off by tattoos although I know a lot of professionals have them.  I hope they have the sense to cover them up for interviews, though.

I work in a corporate environment with a pretty formal dress code. If a candidate wears something too informal, it signals to me that he or she doesn’t understand the nuances of corporate versus nonprofit culture.

However, at my company we value a diverse workforce. This means I am not picky about people who may have piercings, dyed hair, tattoos, etc. Dressing formally is not at odds with this, in my opinion.

It’s not so much what they wear as how they present themselves. If you wear a suit but it’s rather sloppy, I’d rather see you in something a little less formal that you can pull off and feel confident wearing. I work at a state university but in a liberal town, so we’re more accepting of colored hair, piercings, and tattoos BUT, in general, it’s a good idea to tone it down just a little when interviewing.

I like to see someone who is dressed like they’re ready to work. Look clean, neat and show some of your personality. While I personally, don’t mind pink hair, piercings and tattoos, I have to think of our library user base who just might have an issue with trying to interact with a staff member who may seem “distracting” or “unprofessional.” I myself have 5 tattoos, none of which were seen my first few years at my current library. Over time, once people grew to know me and learned about my skills and professionalism, some of the tattoos started to be shown. Now, as Head Librarian, they will all be shown on an unusually hot day. BUT, they will still never appear in front of Trustees, Donors, etc…Be yourself, but you have to be realistic too!

Too MUCH Cleavage! One young, new librarian showed up at an interview with about 5″ of cleavage hanging out…I mean it was horrifying as I kept waiting for one to pop out of her too tight shirt.

Open toe sandals are a deal breaker for me as are flip flops and goes without saying jeans (though I’ve seen them worn). And anything showing off the candidates tattoos – these are too distracting during an interview.

Too casual – t-shirt and shorts. I would perceive a woman wearing a low cut blouse as trying to use sex appeal to get the job (I’m female, by the way).  Anything that is distracting around the face – noticeable tattoos, big, noisy, earrings, facial jewelry, such as tongue or cheek piercings would negatively influence my perception of them, even if they interviewed well. But it might be my age (47) and general conservative attitude towards dress.

Dirty, stained clothes would be a deal breaker.  Also, anything too odd or unusual.  I once interviewed a woman who wore a hat with a fake bird nest (complete with rumpled bird) on it.  I couldn’t hear a thing she said because the hat distracted me so much!  On the other hand, one of the best teen services librarians I ever hired came complete with a nose ring and  an “I ❤ the Dewey Decimal System” tattoo.  Personality makes all the difference!

My tattooed teen services librarian really nailed the interview.  He came full of enthusiasm and ideas about ways to interest teens in the library. It was clear he had thought about the job and really wanted to reach teens. He was respectful but energetic at the same time.  Just a dynamo!

Prefer that job candidates don’t have visible tattoos or piercings other than for earrings.
Too short skirts or too much cleavage revealed is a no-no. No flip flops or short shorts.
For men–no sandals.
Something dressier than jeans or t-shirts for both sexes.
No hats or caps during the interview.

extreme piercings or tattoos put me off

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.

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.

Since only a few select candidates are ever invited to an in-person interview, we expect them to be professionally dressed. I doubt anyone would be eliminated from the pool based on outfit alone, but t-shirts, jeans, visible tattoos, multiple piercings, etc would not go over well.

showing tats, inappropriate outfits suited to leisure @ home or weekend picnics. Professional and business professional is the rule for interviews, always!

Tune in tomorrow, when I’ll be polling YOU the reader about your tattoos and tattoo behavior.

The other two posts in this series are here and here.  One of those links will not be live until 06/23/2013 at 8AM.

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