Tag Archives: Suit (clothing)

I Requested That She Wear Something a Little More Modest, As My Boss Was a Religious Sister

Monster Remix 10.10.06 by Flickr user grapefruitmoon

 

 

This anonymous interview is with an Academic librarian who has been a hiring manager, a member of a hiring or search committee and is currently a Director of Library Services (two locations). This librarian works at a library with 0-10 staff members in a Urban area in the Northeastern 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: depends on the length of the skirt, the age of the wearer, and the weather

Women should wear make-up to an interview:

√ Other: it’s a grey area (and not the color of the face), and cannot be easily answered yes/no. Whatever it takes to be professional, but not dripping / gooey / street walker type

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 once interviewed a young woman (actually wearing a suit) whose blouse was cut so low it was hard to look anyplace else; this was probably 2004. When I called to confirm her interview time with my boss (a sister of Mercy), I requested that she wear something a little more modest, as my boss was a religious sister. there didn’t seem to be a problem with that, but on the day of the interview, she sent an email saying the position wasn’t really what she wanted, and she was canceling the appointment.

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

the time before last that we hired, I asked the current librarians to be the interview committee (for a new part-time position). I came in at the end, to give them all free reign and also because I had been out ill with a very bad respiratory condition). The young woman we hired (April 2011) had graduated the previous December; she wore a tweed suit, had her long hair up in a twist, wore hosiery, had smart, but sensible low heeled pumps on to match. Add to that – she was / is one savvy young woman.

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

√ No

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

√ A few simple necklaces, bracelets, and/or rings
√ Other: None

Which hair colors are acceptable for candidates:

√ Other: some ‘natural’ colors aren’t really that when dyed. It’s hard for me to overlook, but I know brains are not lacking if hair is wild

The way a candidate dresses should:

√ Be fairly neutral

How does what a candidate wears affect your hiring decision?

The last candidate (that we hired) is someone I knew when we overlapped in library school 98-99. I was amazed that she would wear such a low cut dress and would not have hired, except that the first choice decided she couldn’t live on part time, and my staff had worked with this 2nd choice in the public library arena. We are an academic, private, very small college.

What This Library Wears

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

a tad more formal than my usual khakis and short or long sleeved shirt. I don’t ever wear high heels, but would ordinarily wear hosiery and dress shoes.

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)

√ Flip flops
√ Other: here in the library we are more formal with our workstudies – no flipflops, low cut or very short skirts/shorts. they will either be sent home if practicable or asked to wear a very large t shirt we keep for the purpose. Staff (all librarians are staff) occasionally have to be reminded that low cut is not acceptable.

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

√ Other: generally casual

Do you have any other comments?

The one question you didn’t ask – what is the age range of the person filling out the survey? While I graduated from library school in September of 1999, I had had a couple of professional positions before that and raised a family of three boys and one girl. I was single from 1979 – 1986, worked full time and had two in elementary grades and two high schoolers.

Some of your answers from which to choose I discerned as being much more focused on 30-somethings than any other range. With the number of us that have NOT retired when the next generation down expected us to. . . . we have a different slant.

I do not expect everyone to wear a suit or suit and tie, but I do expect them to be clean and neat; I don’t want to see body parts from a too short shirt or too lowcut top. Hosiery – was certainly expected in the 1960s, but not today, not even in an interview. Oh, and the young woman who wore the suit was 22 and is the only one of five who handwrote a thank-you note.

I have another story, too. One of my library school friends graduated in 2000. She also was divorced, kids grown, 2nd husband divorced her less than 10 years into the marriage as she had breast cancer. She supported herself working three jobs, one of them 29 miles away. She took a job cataloging, quit all of her other ones, and then they let her go after two weeks. NY is an ’employment at will state’, so they didn’t even need a reason. This friend showed up here for a job interview looking like something that the cat dragged in. I would have much preferred her to call and say there was a family emergency, could we reschedule? But she just showed up and said “ordinarily I would never come to an interview like this, but I knew you were my friend and would understand”. No, I didn’t understand.

Similarly, one of the college’s part time financial aid persons had a sister who had graduated from the same school I did, but a few years later. I provided the ‘real world’ answers to a project she had to do. No thanks – not even by email. She applied for a job we posted internally, but not on time. She did not get an interview.

You’ve hit on a valuable service to / for hiring managers. When we did not have an HR department, I personally wrote letters to all the candidates informing them we had hired another. Now, with HR – they don’t do that. It flies in the face of all sorts of ethical behavior in my book.

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

Photo: Monster Remix 10.10.06 by Flickr user grapefruitmoon via Creative Commons License

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

All of this Depends on the Overall Culture of the Place

Jill SodtThis interview is with Jill Sodt, the Learning Resources Center Coordinator at Black Hawk College, which is in a a rural area of the Midwestern US. Ms. Sodt says of her library:

The LRC is a place where all people who walk in our door are treated equally. We strive to offer a variety of services and events for students, staff, and faculty. We’ve expanded our collection to include DVD’s and a heavily used leisure reading collection. As a result, the number of people who walk through our door and check out our materials has increased. As a department, we continually evaluate ourselves and our services in order to improve.

She is proud to work with a staff that is creative and hard-working.  In her free time, Ms. Sodt is one of those knitting librarians.  She also likes to geocache, read, and play with her dogs. She’s currently developing her skills as a fiction writer. Ms. Sodt 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?

√ Yes, absolutely! It shows respect and professionalism.

Of course, I’ll add the caveat that it depends on the position. I wouldn’t expect someone applying for a job as a library page to wear a suit. But I do think it’s appropriate for an applicant seeking a professional librarian tenure-track position to wear a suit or something similar. The rule I follow is you dress one level above the position you are applying for.

An outfit with a coordinated blazer and trousers:

√ Counts as a suit

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

√ True

…unless you end up in an extremely hot room during the interview process. Generally, follow the cues of other people at the institution.

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

√ Either pantyhose or tights. Bare legs are inappropriate.

In general, I have no problems with bare legs in the workplace, but if you are going to wear a skirt or dress to an interview, please wear hose. If you aren’t comfortable in pantyhose, consider a nice pant suit.

Women should wear make-up to an interview:

√ I don’t care, as long as it’s not over-the-top.

So many women look fine without heavy make-up. A job interview at a more conservative workplace might not be the time to pull out the Cleopatra look.

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.

There is likely to be at least one person in the room who will be easily distracted. I’m often that person. If you have odd piercings, unusual tattoos that are visible, or something else unique, I’m the person sitting there wanting to ask questions about that particular thing. While I am a professional and would not be inappropriate, I might also be missing what you are saying due to my wandering brain.

I remember an interview where the candidates clothing was extremely tight and very revealing. After her interview, the search committee ended up laughing about how difficult it was to actually look at her because you didn’t want to seem like you were staring down her shirt. All things equal, she was as qualified as another candidate. But the other candidate was selected because she was dressed more professionally.

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

I’ve interviewed candidates for para-professional positions. The last person I hired wore a nice pair of dress pants and a sweater. It was a clean look, professional and appropriate for the position she was applying for, and she got the job. Of course, she had good qualifications as well, but the other candidate showed up in jeans.

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

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?

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.

What This Library Wears

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

I usually wear dress pants, a nice blouse, and a suit jacket. If it will be a day long interview with walking for tours, I try to wear dressy, but comfortable shoes. I keep jewelry to a minimum for lack of fussiness. Make-up is tasteful and hair is tidy and usually cut within a few days of the interview.

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:

√ Visible Tattoos
√ Tank tops
√ Sneakers/trainers

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

√ Name tags

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

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Filed under Academic, Midwestern US, Original Survey, Rural area