While the question of whether or not you should shave for an interview is nowhere near a new one, the answer may just be new to you. For the longest time, the sage wisdom of interview etiquette was that you should be clean shaven as it allows you to present yourself in the most professional way possible. However, with times and trends changing in favor of the bearded man, this may not be the case any longer.
I can tell you my opinion on the subject is that you should not shave for an interview. Others’ opinions may vary, but my reasoning may just sway you. Simply put, I’m proud of who I am and I consider my beard to be an extension of my sense of style, my character, and my personality. Without it, I would not feel like the same person. I believe that the work that you do should make you happy, and if your employer (or future employer in this case) is putting a constraint on me that would pull me out of my comfort zone to the point where I don’t even feel like I can be myself, it’s a no-brainer.
I would sooner turn down a job than force myself to become someone I’m not in exchange for a paycheck.
Now, I understand everyone isn't as hard-set on being themselves as I am, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. So let’s weigh the pros and cons for those of you who are torn between the comfort of your beard and the comfort of a steady paycheck.
How Companies View Beards
Not all companies are completely on board with the whole beard trend. The more conservative companies are typically going to require that you keep it really short or “strongly recommend” you shave it off. Those companies tend to be the larger corporations that have been around for a long time but you’ll find that some smaller companies stick to the traditional values as well. If you’re interviewing at once of these places understand that this may be one of their requirements and decide if you’re willing to trade your facial hair for the job.
Consider the Role You’re Applying For
If you are in a field where beards may interfere with how you can perform your job, or where they pose some sort of risk to your health or the health of others, you will likely need to crop it short or get rid of it entirely. Some examples include medical professionals, where your beard can pose a health risk to your patients, or firefighters, where your beard prevents your gas mask from forming a seal on your face.
If you’re applying for a customer-facing role in one of those conservative companies chances are they aren’t going to let you grow a beard, but if you’re in IT or a call center support tech, they will probably be more flexible about it.
Dress the Part
“Dress for the job you want, not the job you have”
We’ve heard it a thousand times, your dress should speak volumes about who you are and how much you care. When you have a beard, people tend to view you as more casual in particular outfits. On the other hand, a well-styled, intentional looking beard can make your outfit look much dressier than without the beard. Beards look awesome in everything from your birthday suit to your business suit, so dress the part and make sure your attire fits the occasion and fits well on your body. This will go a long way in turning your interviewers’ impression of your beard from professional bum to professional.
Trim Your Beard and the Hair On top
The one thing that instantly makes your beard look intentional is a nice haircut that matches your beard style. Find a style that suits you and your beard, and make sure you learn how to style it. Ask your barber for tips to help you dress up the style as well as give it a more relaxed look.
Make sure to give your beard a good trim as well. This doesn’t necessarily mean you need to take length off, but just make sure you’ve got it looking clean cut and intentional for the interview. Again, the last thing you want is to come across as having forgotten to shave before your interview. Clean up the lines, trim up the ‘tache, and give your beard a nice overall trim to take care of any stragglers that are making you look unkempt.
When it comes down to it, some companies just won’t be open to the idea of hiring somebody with a beard, and you’ll have to accept that if the job is important to you. If you’re applying for a company that does accept bearded men, make sure you’re coming into the interview looking as professionally as possible. That means making sure the beard fits your whole look and doesn’t stand out as unkempt or out of place. Mind your dress, carry yourself with confidence, and get your beard looking nice with a solid trim and quality products to complete the look. If done right, your beard can even make you stand out from the crowd and help you land the job of your dreams, and make you seem more confident.
Best of luck to you, bearded gents!
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