Should I Shave For An Interview: Tips And Tricks
First impressions mean a lot in this world. If you’re one of many candidates interviewing for a job, you have a very limited amount of time to successfully convince the hiring manager that you, out of everyone, will be the best person to fill that position. Every detail of your first impression is important, because it allows you to convey a message without having to fill up your short window allotted for speaking time.
Your facial hair can play a crucial role in your first impression. If you look unkempt, your interviewer might get the impression that you don’t pay much attention to detail. If you have a lot of facial hair and you’re applying for a position around food or in a medical setting, your hair might be viewed as a liability. If you’re completely clean shaven, your interviewer might think you look too uptight for the position they’re interviewing for. It’s a lot to navigate.
Before you break out the razor, you’ll want to consider the perfect first impression. Shaving your face will often be the best solution, but in some cases, merely cleaning up and styling your facial hair is more likely to help you make the impression you desire to make.
Shaving is a Crucial Component of Hygiene and Grooming
Facial hair is just like any other hair. If you don’t wash it and groom it regularly, it will be full of bacteria and debris. There’s nothing about facial hair that is any less hygienic than the hair on your head, other than the fact that it’s more likely to come into contact with the things you eat and drink. Regularly cleaning your beard is a lot like washing your hands. It’s merely good practice.
Despite this, many people still view facial hair as being unsanitary or the result of poor grooming practices. It’s a preconceived notion that’s hard to break. You’ll have a difficult time attempting to explain the facts to your future employer if he or she holds this notion. It’s usually easier to just shave.
Younger, trendier employers might be more on board with facial hair. Before you go in for your interview, read the room a little bit. Look at photos the company has posted that contain their employees. If you see a wealth of employees with facial hair, grooming might be more important than shaving. Decisions should always be made on a case by case basis.
Some Industries Prefer Clean Shaven Employees
If you’re interviewing for a sous chef position or a medical assistant position, your employer probably doesn’t want to see a lot of facial hair. Loose hairs in those situations can become problematic. You don’t want to get hair into a patient’s wound or incision site. You don’t want to shed onto a gourmet steak that someone paid a lot of money for. You will require additional personal protective equipment, and this is something that an employer will consider.
Jobs that require employees to wear protective gear, like factories or manufacturing plants where dangerous chemicals may be present in the air, may also require you to shave. If your facial hair will interfere with the seal a protective mask needs to form to keep you safe, it simply needs to go.
High profile jobs prefer employees with little to no facial hair for purely aesthetic reasons. Your beard won’t harm anyone or interfere with your safety. They simply prefer a clean-cut professional appearance. This is especially important if you’re interviewing for a higher level position or a position in which you will be instructing people or meeting with others on the company’s behalf.
Jobs Suited to a Little Bit of Facial Hair
Most middle of the line employers won’t make a big fuss about a little facial hair. Something short and groomed at an office job, a call center, or a retail location likely won’t cause too much of a fuss. If you ordinarily keep your facial hair short and groomed, err on the side of caution and shave for the interview.
Once you’re hired, you can always ask about how the company feels about facial hair. You can see what styles your coworkers use and stick to something similar. It won’t take you very long to grow your facial hair back if you weren’t formerly sporting a massive beard or a handlebar mustache.
Positions Where Facial Hair Might Be Encouraged
Beards are generally recognized as trendy and creative. If you’re applying for a trendy or creative position, your potential employer will likely embrace the aesthetic of facial hair. Bartenders, music or musical instrument retail, trendy coffee shops, clothing stores, sporting goods stores, and jobs relating to camping or outdoor adventuring will often employ heavily bearded men to fit with the aesthetic of the brand.
Most of their clients or customers will be men with facial hair, and keeping employees casual and relatable can make for a great customer service experience. If you’re familiar with the establishment and you’ve been greeted by a sea of beards every time you’ve walked through the front door, just neaten up your beard and style it a little to give the impression that you mean business.
Getting the Perfect Pre-Interview Shave
If you’ve considered every aspect of the situation and come to the conclusion that shaving before your interview is the best decision, you want to make sure your face looks smooth and presentable. You don’t want to walk in with razor burn or bumps -- that’s counter to the entire purpose of making yourself look well-polished.
Plan to shave the night before the interview, right after you get out of the shower. If you’ve taken a warm shower, your skin will be nice and wet. Your pores will be open and your hair shafts will be swollen with warm water, making them softer and easier to cut.
You’ll get the best shave with a straight razor. If you don’t have one or you don’t want to learn to use one and risk making a mistake the night before a job interview, stick to your safety razor or your cartridge razor. Use a cartridge razor with three blades to help you get a clean, close shave in as few passes as possible.
Using hot lather helps. A hot lather machine will warm up your shaving cream. This will keep your skin and face warm as you shave, providing enough lubrication and keeping the surface of your hair nice and soft as you glide the razor over the surface of your skin. You’ll likely have a much softer, smoother face than you would if you used a normal room temperature shaving cream or gel.
Rinse off the excess shaving cream and hair, and top your face off with a soothing moisturizer or post-shave balm to reduce the risk of redness or razor bumps. You should wake up ready for your interview with the perfect hairless face.
You don’t always have to shave before an interview, but it’s best to go ahead and do it if you aren’t sure how the company might feel about facial hair and you’re really serious about getting the job. There are very few employers that encourage the look of a full beard on their employees.
Always play it safe when you don’t have all the data. You can always grow it back out, but you can’t undo a bad first impression.