Etiquette Expert: ‘Should I shave my beard for a job interview?’

by Accidental Bear

How does one attain the status of etiquette expert? The term makes me want to projectile vomit a little. As far as shaving your beard for an interview, the thought process goes much deeper than your whiskers. You have to be honest with yourself and ask, “Do I want to work at an establishment where they make you curb your beard?” or think about the other list of rules that may apply if beard trimming is a concern; dress code, piercings or tattoos etc. If we are talking six figures, I say trim the bitch and after interview let it grow back little by little, but you will have to show an outstanding performance at work and then you will be good as gold even with a ZZ Top beard. ~AB

Here is what the “expert” says, via 365gay.com

Q: I usually sport a two- to three-day growth of beard as part of my personal look, and I wear an earring—kind of a hipster look, you might say. Now I’m thinking of getting a tattoo, and I was going to put it on my forearm; but my boyfriend suggested I locate it in a more private place so it won’t be visible when I’m looking for a new job. What do you suggest, Mr. Manners?

A: I wish that everyone heeded the age-old admonition not to judge a book by its cover. Alas, books and people are judged by their covers and their clothes—or, in your case, personal style decisions such as facial hair and body art. This might sound a bit stodgy, but the fact is that how you present yourself in the workplace does matter, whether you’ve just graduated from college or you’re in the middle of your career.

If you have doubts about how to dress or groom yourself, I think it’s generally best to err on the conservative side. Those of us who wouldn’t even consider wearing a suit to work often put one on when we’re interviewing for a job. The same could be said for getting a shorter-than-usual haircut. But closely consider the company in question: The look you put together when employed at a software startup or as a barista will certainly differ from the way you suit up for a bank, law firm, or CPA consultancy.

Now, sometimes companies make life easier—at least in terms of clarity—when they post an official dress code. For instance, I know of several large companies whose dress codes not only prohibit men from wearing earrings; facial hair is also verboten. As an example, one major U.S. company has only recently started allowing mustaches. The company’s policies state that mustaches must be neatly trimmed, no longer than the corners of the mouth, and grown during the employee’s vacation. As if that weren’t enough, the policies also say that sideburns cannot pass the earlobes. Got that? On the other hand, many police departments allow mustaches (no surprise there), but untrimmed beards are prohibited because they’re said to look unprofessional.
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