There’s a trick to everything when it comes to interviews. The perfect handshake. Appropriate yet amusing anecdotes. The right outfit. The smiling sweet-spot in between the Grim Reaper and a walking ad for Botox treatment. And now it seems, there is even a trick for facial hair.
Beards are the new black
Even just a few years ago, it was unthinkable for a man to turn up to an interview with anything but a clean, freshly shaved face. Beards had a bad reputation in the corporate world with unfavourable links to being shady and untrustworthy. But times have changed since then. Beards are in vogue again. If you’re a bearded candidate, it’s very likely you won’t be the only one at your interview. Where a few years ago your beard may have stood out in the waiting room like a fried chicken stand at a vegan convention, now it’s simply the norm. Employers should never judge you by how you look. But they are perfectly entitled to take into account how you choose to present yourself. It is a vital difference.
Despite facial hair being in fashion, some companies are still hesitant to accept it. Longstanding conservative styles in sectors like finance and law mean facial hair just isn’t the done thing. This can be an awkward topic, especially in Facilities Management. Each sector has their own views on this, and you could find yourself working for any one of them.
As with the clothes you choose to wear to your interview, your look is all about letting the interviewer know that you would fit right in at the company if you got the job.
Try checking the employer’s website for pictures of staff before your interview. It’ll give you a chance to figure out the culture and judge how well your facial hair might be received. If in doubt, it may be best to go clean shaven. You can always grow your beard back once you know your company’s opinion, and there is no chance of it getting in your way in your interview.
Research into relationships has found that beards give off an air of reliability, and what more could a future employer ask for? Other studies have shown that having a beard can make you appear more intelligent. With greats like Galileo, Freud, and Robbie Savage rocking them, it’s easy to see why.
So if you choose to keep your favourite facial accessory throughout the interview process, there are a few things you can do to make sure you avoid any fatal faux pas.
The main reason an interviewer could be turned off by your beard will be that it seems scruffy or unprofessional. The key to this is to keep your facial hair trimmed and well-groomed.
Since the rise of the hipsters, beards have become acceptable in all walks of life. But head of HR for fitness giant Equinox, Greg Hill, says “trimmed is the new shaven” in the business world. Keeping your appearance neat, no matter what your style, is the sure-fire way to look professional in your interview.
Just like wearing bright colours or excessive jewellery, you should avoid anything that distracts from yourself in your interviews. Your incredible skills and experience should be the interviewer’s sole focus. No matter how majestic your beard, don’t let anything draw their attention away from you.
If you’re a bearded individual, you’ve no doubt heard people say that beards are unhygienic. Whilst studies have proven this to be untrue, it’s important you portray this in your interview. Many sectors will have specific regulations on hygiene on the job, but you should always check your beard is up to scratch before you sign in at reception.
The last thing you want is to find half a sandwich was stuck on it half an hour after you’ve left your interview.
Like it or not, some companies still aren’t going to be overly happy with your facial hair choices. But it’s your skill set and experience that will win them over at the end of the day. Just be sure to keep yourself looking tidy, dress appropriately and be confident in your interview.