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« Victorian religious novel liveblogging: Truth without Fiction, and Religion without Disguise | Main | Victorian religious novel liveblogging, JFK layover edition: Truth without Fiction, and Religion without Disguise »

January 03, 2011


Nancee Reeves

Thanks so much for this! I go on the job market next year and was very much not looking forward to having to wear a suit. I was told the less feminine I look the better. Blah! I was not planning on wearing pink bunnies on my blouse, but what's wrong with a bit of style?


I've been on several search committees and I don't care whether a candidate, male or female, is wearing a suit as long as they're dressed professionally. And I find Prof. Nichols's insistence on wearing a suit particularly odd given how informally most academics dress when performing their actual jobs. I wear a jacket and tie when teaching undergrad classes, and I'm usually the most formally dressed person in my department of 29, other than the chair and the office staff.


Mmm... depends on what you're interviewing for. I'd hire a casually dressed and unkempt applicant who had the smarts, experience and attitude way faster than a suit-wearing but all-round less awesome candidate. IN FACT... I'd probably be prejudiced in favor of the casual him or her, because clearly that person is more concerned with substance over appearance and has the hutzpah to carry it off.

Once hired I might have a word about more formal attire if the occasion arises. But to pass over a great applicant for the 'crime' of being suit-less or some such dress offence could be self-defeating.


I think I had two suits when I was interviewing (I sewed one myself out of Liberty remnants I'd scored during a UK research trip) but I also wore jackets with dresses, had a nice blazer that could coordinate with various skirts and so on.

Dress professionally. Behave professionally. Even then, you don't know if you'll be in a situation where someone on the committee has an irrational dislike of women with nail polish or men with facial hair or something else equally irrelevant.


I find the sensitivities about dress and overall appearance in interview settings as expressed by some of the commentators on this thread a tad odd to be honest.

Interviewers with "an irrational dislike of women with nail polish" don't have their institution's best interests in mind if they give themselves permission to bring such infantile prejudices into the the interviewing process. In my experience most employers are looking for the best... not the right wrapping or cover.

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