2020 has been a . . . year. Let's leave it at that. Considering it all, there are a lot of people looking for jobs right now. Hopefully, you're trying to move up, but there are plenty who don't have enough work right now. It's always in your best interest to knock every interview out of the park, no matter your situation. We're not going to cover the entire interview process today; instead, we're going to focus on beards.
A little prep work goes a long way. Before you determine how to shave for your interview, you probably need to be able to manage your beard in the first place. You can learn more about growing a beard to improve your options. Assuming you have some facial hair to work with, this guide will discuss what you should do with it for your interview.
You might want a simple, straightforward answer, but in 2020, the rules for beards are many and varied. There is no simple answer for all places where you would want to work. In general, beards are very in fashion right now, and many employers will appreciate your glorious facial hair. That said, there are too many exceptions to that idea to even count. In the end, you're going to have to play this case by case, but we have some tips to help you make educated decisions throughout. So, let's start by talking about how you can research a company and determine if they're beard-friendly or not.
LinkedIn is easy to ridicule. The platform often feels like more of a mess than it's worth, but it has its uses. When it comes to preparing for an interview, you can look up the company in question. Your primary goal (when it comes to beards) is to examine the facial hair of as many employees as you can. If you see beards with any regularity, it's a good sign that the company doesn't have a widespread anti-beard policy or culture.
If you see many beards, it means that a bit of hair on your face might even improve your interview. That's worth remembering.
While you're checking LinkedIn, you can look into other social media platforms as well. More data is good but use caution. You don't want to leave a trace of your research online. Otherwise, you'll be walking into an interview looking like a stalker.
Check the Company Website
If you're interviewing for a smaller company and they don't have that strong social media presence, there are still resources available. Start with the company website. Smaller businesses tend to have a lot of staff photos. That's a great way to find out how they feel about beards. They might also link an Instagram account. You should already understand the value of clicking on that link.
What you want to avoid is physically stalking your prey. Don't go hang out in the parking lot just to see how many guys have beards. It won't be received well.
Even if the company is OK with beards, not all jobs are. Check on regulations for the job. You may need to mitigate your facial hair for the sake of safety. Keep in mind that the regulations won't just come from the government. The company might have a policy about beards in certain positions. You might be able to find some of that information on their website. You can probably also guess by looking up people in the same or similar roles.
Aside from hard rules, there are some soft guidelines for beards. If your job includes any type of fieldwork that would require a mask, a beard is probably a bad idea. If it involves working with people who might be sick, shaving makes hygiene easier. You definitely shouldn't have a long beard if you're going to be working with food.
The biggest one is customer-facing work. Even though beards are popular, the prevailing wisdom is that shaved faces best serve customer-facing jobs. We can't tell you why it's that way, but it's a safe bet that you should shave before an interview for one of those positions — especially if it's sales or client-related.
What Kind of Beard Is OK?
Not all beards are created equal. You might find a lot of evidence that a beard is acceptable at the new place of work. That's a great start, but you need to see what kind of styles are prevalent. Older styles are a lot less common today. While they may not be taboo, an out-of-date approach to facial hair might make it harder for you to connect with your interviewer. You don't need to copy anyone's facial hair, but you should probably try to complement what you see in your research. Research aside, a few guidelines will help you make the right choices with your beard.
Nix the Lumberjack
Unless you're going to be logging, you can assume that a mountain man beard is out. Professionalism requires certain amounts of grooming. So, your beard probably shouldn't be completely unkempt. Long, scraggly, bushy beards are typically a bad idea. There are exceptions in a few select spaces. If you're a brewmaster, you actually have to have a long beard. Only brewmasters are trusted with the ancient knowledge to tell us why it's important, but the rule seems to hold.
In general, you want to make sure your beard isn't longer than what you see in your research. That should be a good enough rule to keep you out of trouble.
You shouldn't have patches in your pants or your beard when you interview. In both cases, they make you look unkempt. If you have a beard that tends to grow some bare patches, you're going to have to address that problem. You need to find a beard style that accommodates your natural growth. Even though that might require you to step out of the most common styles you see in your research, it's better to have an uncommon beard than a patchwork of facial hair that fills people with disgust.
Spend a little time researching styles. You can probably find something that really does look good on you. Goatees aren't the thing anymore, but you've seen them work on some guys here and there.
Always Be Grooming
Even if you have the most naturally beautiful beard amongst the entirety of mankind, you need to groom. There are no exceptions to this. Your beard should be shampooed and conditioned regularly, especially before your interview. You want to keep up with your products like beard oil and any dyes some of you like to use (there's no shame here). Make sure you get rid of beard dandruff well in advance of your interview.
You need to also clean and clip your fingernails. Put lotion on your body. Get a haircut (or at least comb it). You should even consider learning how to pluck guys' eyebrows. There's no reason to look bad in any regard.
You also want to touch up any rough edges to the beard before the interview. You should have neat, straight lines, and you should hunt errant hairs on your face like an assassin. A clean, groomed, beautiful beard can help you with your interview. Anything else makes you look sloppy, and there are very few jobs where that is an advantage.
Shaving Is Allowed
It's hard to imagine that there is a workplace that requires facial hair. It would likely violate multiple discrimination rules. Because of that, you can always, always assume that a clean shave is safe. It might be less creative or stylish, but it's the most reliable fallback option that exists. If you have any doubts at all, go ahead and shave. Don't aim for an edgy five o'clock shadow. Have a smooth baby face when you walk through the door. You might find that you're fine growing your beard later, but taking a safe bet for an interview is never a bad decision.
Good Luck With Your Interview
That should be enough to get your facial hair safely through your next interview. Every advantage helps, so take the time to get your face right. Once you're in the door, you can talk to people and see how you can push the envelope with your beard — if that's what you're into. Until then, good luck with the interview!