You’re sitting in the waiting room, about to enter an interview for your dream job. You’re well-qualified, know you’d crush the work, and you have a badass beard.
The receptionist calls your name, “The interviewer will see you now.” You gather your papers, straighten your tie, and get up to go into the room.
The interviewer stands up to greet you. But when you shake her hand you notice she looks at your beard a little too long before saying “Please have a seat.” Her tone is unenthusiastic, and you can’t help but think “crap” as she stares at your beard.
This is the situation bearded men dread: being judged because of your beard. Beards give you a sense of identity, and to be judged for your beard is an attack on your self.
But you don’t need to go into an interview blind. There are several things you can do before your interview.
Research Company Culture
Photo Credit: CBC.ca
Companies today are eager to talk about their “culture.”
Most companies want to attract young talent. They know that having a fun, open environment will help get more young people to work for them.
Some companies go so far as to define their company culture online. Culture is treated like a mission or founding story--something essential to the company’s identity.
Understanding how your beard will be received may be as simple as going to the company’s website and reading about its culture.
If you’re interviewing at a young start-up with a 20-something year old CEO, chances are they’re going to be cool with your beard.
Connect with Current Employees
Current employees can tell you pretty quickly whether or not beards are regular or regulated. Yes, it’s okay to creep your future colleagues on social media.
LinkedIn, Facebook, and company websites are great ways to find current employees. Send current employees a message or email asking about beards.
Keep it short and direct: “I’m applying for X job and wondering: how are beards regarded at your company?”
This makes it super easy for them to help you out with a 30-second response.
Ask the Interviewer Directly
Photo Credit: Linkedin.com
If you can’t find a description of company culture online or a current employee to help you out, ask the interviewer.
Many interviewers will make a mental note of your beard but won’t say anything about it. So, be upfront. Ask them right away, “Is my beard an issue?”
If it is, then you can address it: “I’ll shave if I get the job” (if that’s what you want to do). And if it isn’t, then you can focus on the interview.
Be True To Yourself
Before the interview, dig deep and ask yourself: Do I want to work for an employer that judges me based on my looks? What does the company’s policy on facial hair say about their company culture? You may be better off taking your talent elsewhere.
At the end of the day, do what you’re most comfortable doing. You want to be able to relax and represent yourself in an interview. If you’re too self conscious without your beard, keep it for the interview. And vice versa: shave if you think you’ll worry about it too much.