The Way Businesses View Beardsmen
It’s one of the most fervently debated topics out there when it comes to being a beardsman: if you’re going to a job interview should you shave? Let's put this debate to an end right now. Do. Not. Shave. You worked too long and hard on that beard of yours to get rid of it because you may or may not get a job.
More importantly, the way the business worlds views beardsmen is changing, even if isn't as quick to the uptake as we'd like. Justin Nall, an urban beardsman, is also making a name for himself in the corporate business world:
“I’m now a program manager for a worldwide defense contractor, managing a multi-million dollar IT program, working with over 90 clients, managing employees, and reporting to Senior Level Managers. Over the past four years, I’ve been promoted 3 times. And I do it all with a full beard!”
Industry Barriers to Beards
Still, not every business looks favorably upon beards, which is easy to understand in a few professions. For example, firefighters can have problems with the gas mask sitting properly on their face if they have a beard, making it a safety issue. If you're a medical professional, giant beards near your patients can be a contamination issue.
If you work in the food service or hospitality industry, having a giant beard is going to be a difficult sell (but a short or medium length beard is definitely worth a shot). At the end of the day, if you're in an industry that doesn't favor a heavy beard, you can still have a great short beard or a mustache. If you're not sure, you'll want to look up your regional industry regulations and best practices, and do some investigation work yourself.
Example A: If you're new in town and looking for a serving job, scope out other servers in the parts of town you want to work in. What do you notice? If everyone's got a close-cropped beard or none at all, there's probably a reason for that. Look up your local food and beverage compliance law to see if that's the case.
Example B: If you're trying to move into a different department at a bigger corporation, you may want to swing by and introduce yourself. They'll get accustomed to your face and look ahead of time, but you'll also be able to scope out whether you're on the right track for what they're expecting.
On the other hand, there are unfortunate reasons why men aren’t allowed to grow a beard, and Beardbrand aims to do away with that. Why is it frowned upon for men in the financial industry to grow a beard? Why don’t politicians grow beards? Hell, why can’t the New York Yankees grow facial hair? The bottom line is that there is no good reason. It’s all steeped, basically, in (an antiquated) tradition that has a total misconception of what a beardsman is. That’s what our Beardbrand founder, Eric Bandholz, has been fighting ever since starting the company.
How should I dress for my interview?
First, do not go to an interview looking like you're still recovering from spending four years on a deserted island with your favorite volleyball. There are plenty of men with beards (many of them with very long beards) who also look great in a suit and tie.
You see, that’s the great thing about beards that many don’t seem to understand. A beard looks excellent dressed-down with flannel. A beard looks awesome dressed-up in a suit and tie, and a beard looks good in anything in-between. It's all about using the right products and techniques to sell your beard to the people you want to work for.
It’s critical that you dress appropriately. If you’re looking at landing a corporate-type job, it’s best not to show up in jeans and a flannel (but you already knew that). At the same time, if you’re looking to land a lumberjack job, the jeans and flannel would probably be more appropriate than a suit and tie. It's all about knowing what look is going to work best for the job you're trying to get. You want to be yourself, but you want the hiring manager to envision you in their office, working for them.
I remember going to an interview with a nicely trimmed beard, and a suit and tie. The person interviewing me told me (in so many words) that I was too dressed up. So the next opportunity I had, I changed my look. I took off my tie, unbuttoned my shirt (yes, during the middle of the interview), and BOOM! My look was a lot more casual. And yes, I ended up getting the job.
Do your research. Lots of newer companies set a precedent for how you should show up to the interview - if they mention "Business Casual" as to how you should show up, they're going to notice if you overdo it, and worry that you're not a cultural fit. If you’re not sure how to look for an interview, I would say it’s always better to overdress than under-dress.
Trim Your Beard
Finally, trim your beard. Now, I want to make this clear: there’s a huge difference between shaving and trimming. When you get a beard trim from your barber (or do it yourself) you're just cleaning it up to make it more presentable. Trimming makes the beard look uniform. It makes your face mane look neat, and gets rid of flyaway split ends.
If you do that, dress appropriately, and show up confident in yourself, you’ll have a great chance of walking away as a beardsman with a job offer.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
By day, Keith King is a news producer in Dallas; by night, he’s a freelance writer. He runs his own travel blog called KeithKingReport.com. When he is not working you’ll find Keith looking for something new to experience. As for his beard, yeah, it’s growing on him (eh?!). You can follow him (and his beard) on Twitter: @The_KeithKing, IG: KeithKingReport.
Editor's Note: This blog post was originally published in February of 2016 - it has been edited and reformatted for re-plublication by Wil Mouradian.