Back in 2012, Steve Tobak wrote in an article for CBS: “Want a great job? Then shave.” However, a lot has happened in the facial hair universe since 2012, with the popularity of beards skyrocketing among men of all ages and professions.
With that in mind, how important is shaving for work today? And will not shaving hinder your career opportunities?
Jim Edwards of Business Insider, still lists forgetting to shave as a notable pre-interview mistake. However, he also advises: “If you’re rocking facial hair, make sure it is impeccably groomed” – perhaps a sign that workplace attitudes towards shaving are beginning to soften.
Use the company’s culture as a guide
A survey by Deloitte says 52% of millennials consider workplace culture to be very important when finding a new job, with value placed on diverse and flexible organisations.
This means that companies are having to work harder on their culture to attract the right talent. If you’re a great fit for the job, a lot of interviewers will be happy to have you aboard, whatever you choose to do with your facial hair.
However, this doesn’t mean that all employers are equally open-minded about facial hair. Professional recruitment specialists HRC Recruitment say that facial hair should be “avoided altogether,” adding that a “fresh shave look inspires the most professionalism.”
Despite this view, even the strictest employers can often make exceptions. In the British Army, where protocol is to be clean-shaven when dressing in Army uniform, commanding officers can grant written permission allowing facial hair.
Do some research and trust your judgement
One thing you can do is browse a company’s website and social channels. Rip Bains from Lovely Beards recommends “[running] a quick search for the company name on LinkedIn and [doing] a quick scan of their current employees’ photos. See any beards? If so, you’re probably good to keep yours, too.”
While most companies probably won’t expect employees to shave, even for those that do, there is likely to be leeway if you choose not to shave for a specific reason. Don’t be afraid to open dialogue with the company inviting you for interview – they may respect the fact you raised the subject in a professional manner.
At the end of the day, it’s your choice. Niall Sullivan of Blades Magazine believes suitability for the role should take priority: “As long as you prove that you’re the best candidate for the job, what does it matter whether you have facial hair or not?”
A boost in confidence
Regardless of the employer’s stance, shaving might give you a much-needed boost. Interviews can be nerve-wracking, no matter how experienced you are. Looking your sharpest could be just what you need to stride into the interview with confidence.