It’s a tale as old as hipster culture: to beard, or not to beard for job interviews? Actually, it’s probably an older question than that, but hipsters have made the glorious bushranger beard sexy again. But when is a beard unprofessional to the point of hurting your job prospects?
SEEK’s resident psychologist, Sabina Read, reckons there are four main points to consider before turning up to an interview with a glorious face full of hair.
1. What does your hair say about you?
Whether or not your beard is ok can really depend on the type of facial hair you’re rocking and what you need it to say about you as a candidate.
“Consider what your beard is saying to prospective employers,” suggests Sabina. “A scholarly full beard may convey wisdom and a handlebar moustache can point to a creative and whimsical personality”.
“On the flipside, a wizardly beard might suggest you lack pragmatism, while a trendy, stubble beard can express a lack of care if not well maintained.”
2. Always keep it well-groomed
“Whatever manner of beard you’re boasting, it’s important to ensure your whiskers are well-groomed,” Sabina says, and I’d have to agree. There’s a huge difference between the scraggy, uneven bear, and this guy:
“Do keep your beard trimmed and styled, and pay your barber a visit the day before your interview if you want to feel extra dapper. Cleanliness extends to your facial hair as much as your interview attire, so check your beard for crumbs or coffee remnants before announcing yourself at reception.”
3. Don’t let the beard be the most memorable thing
Let’s just say you’re one of those people with a glorious, meticulously groomed, hearty beard. Is that going to end up being the main thing interviewers remember about you?
“No matter how majestic your beard, you want your skills and experience to be the ultimate focus of your interview,” Sabina explains. “Drawing too much attention to a glorious beard could be distracting to prospective employers. Don’t stroke it during your interview, no matter how intelligent it makes you feel”.
4. Make sure you seem like a match
As with a lot of your presentation, what’s acceptable can really depend on your industry. A creative office is far more likely to embrace a lush beard than, say, a law firm. You want to make sure you’re giving off ‘I will fit right into your office culture’ vibes.
“Prospective employers want to be able to imagine you slotting nicely into their team, so make it easy for them by assessing the likelihood of your beard’s acceptance,” advises Sabina.
“Yes, your splendid beard is destined to stand out, not blend in, but like other aspects of how you present yourself, it’s important to get a feel for the corporate culture of the organisation and decide if your beard will fit in around other beards in the office. It’s easy to check out the photos of current team members online if you need help identifying this.”
So yes, you can have a beard – under the right circumstances. And just to be clear, those mangy un-kept beards are pretty much never a good idea so don’t do that even with no job interview in sight. Just one person’s strong opinion.