A Hairy Situation

by Evil HR Lady on June 17, 2008

Help evil HR lady!! The tables have been turned!

I’ve just recently been told my HR Manager position has been eliminated (darn those salespeople, why couldn’t they sell more!!). But hey, I’m an evil HR person; I know the tricks to make this work.

Now that my colleagues know I’m being let go, they are all commenting that I need to get rid of my goatee (yes, I am an evil HR guy). Here is my (admittedly unusual) question – do employers really care about applicants with facial hair anymore? It’s not for religious reasons, and I keep it well trimmed. What’s the deal? I’d love to hear what your readers think!

Anonymous (but hairy) HR Guy

My personal opinion? As long as you are dressed properly and your facial hair is neat, it won’t matter. If you have the facial hair and it’s sloppy and has your lunch in it, then no. But, I don’t hire, so I’ve created a poll:

{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

Anonymous June 17, 2008 at 7:21 pm

not to mention, goatees kinda say “douchebag”…at least to my early 20s demographic. Your blog rox my sox evil HR lady.

Regards,

new and somewhat evil (P)HR lady.

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Wally Bock June 17, 2008 at 8:21 pm

We don’t know some important things about Evil Goatee (and ex HR) Guy. We don’t know age or what industry he’s seeking work in. I’d suggest pondering whether any of the people who will interview you are likely to have goatees or have bosses with goatees.

If you decide that the goatee is a negative, you have to decide if that negative outweighs any “value” that it has for you.

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Rodolphe Mortreuil June 17, 2008 at 8:26 pm

As long as your overall appearance is neat and tidy, I really don’t think it makes any difference.

However, if you have any doubt, why not consider shaving it, getting the job and growing a new one afterwards?

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HR Godess June 17, 2008 at 9:03 pm

I disagree with anonymous, I’m a sucker for facial hair!

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Totally Consumed June 17, 2008 at 9:16 pm

“When in doubt, go without”

If you’re concerned, shave it. You don’t want it to distract you or cause you to worry and walk into an interview with less confidence. You can always grow it back after you get the job.

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williamthecoroner June 17, 2008 at 10:32 pm

I was told to get rid of my beard because it does put off some older people. I was also told to take up golf if I wanted to work in sales, and to join the right church and the Masons to make good business contacts.

Yeah, I file that under life’s too short.

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Rachel - Employment File June 17, 2008 at 11:19 pm

I like the HR Wench answer since I never give a thought to men’s facial hair unless I’m dating them.

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Anonymous June 17, 2008 at 11:20 pm

Are you serious about this question?? It really depends on the interviewer…some people have biases for/against facial hair. At least you have a choice of whether to keep it or not vs. people with unalterable characteristics.

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Ibn Tumart June 18, 2008 at 2:35 am

For what it’s worth, I’ve sported a goatee for years. It didn’t stop my getting a government agency internship during law school and it hasn’t made any noticeable impact on my current career as a contract attorney.

The bottom line is that some people will care, but most probably won’t. Goatees are pretty common now, so wildly judgmental viewpoints like the first anonymous commenter’s are probably going to be rare.

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class factotum June 18, 2008 at 2:47 am

At my previous job (big paper company), the only two men in my dept with beards were so widely known (for being good) not just at the company but in the industry that they could pretty much do whatever the heck they wanted.

Everyone else conformed.

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jaded hr rep June 18, 2008 at 1:23 pm

Well-trimmed facial hair in general is not a problem, but I emphasize well-trimmed and maintained (no goatees in a little ponytail, please). All goes with the whole professional presentation package. But ultimately a yay or nay all depends on industry and company culture.

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Anonymous June 18, 2008 at 2:06 pm

I agree that neat and tidy is the key! I was hired as the evil HR person in a conservative organization, even though I have a full beard. It has not been an issue.

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HR Pain June 18, 2008 at 2:46 pm

If you are applying with a more liberal company (Web Design for instance) keep the goatee. But if you don’t know the culture or know they are conservative (Big 4 accounting firm)I’d lose the facial hair.

I think it’s more about your confidence though. The company may think about how your appearance portrays what the company wants its employees to see when they walk in to HR.

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Scott Jenkins June 18, 2008 at 2:48 pm

I err on the side of caution and go to interviews clean shaven. Why risk that your interviewer associates goatees with anything other than professionalism.

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Anonymous June 18, 2008 at 3:10 pm

More interesting then the debate of “if he should/if he shouldn’t” is the advice from his colleagues …”they are all commeting that I need to get rid of my goatee.”

These are people who have worked with you, know your work ethic, know your personal habits ..and they are all saying get rid of it. If you value their opinon – shave. If not …ask hundreds of HR folks to justify your actions.

Recruitment !!!! It’s so much fun!

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HR Wench June 18, 2008 at 9:37 pm

I’m not a fan of facial hair when it comes to dating. If a guy starts to sport facial hair after we’ve gone out a few times, it’s not a big deal (unless it looks REALLY bad). When it comes to scanning through match.com pictures, however, I am more drawn to those with a clean shave. The WORST for me is bald guys who sport facial hair. Bald can be totally HOT, don’t ruin it with growing facial hair!!! 🙂

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Tracy June 19, 2008 at 2:06 am

I can handle neatly trimmed beards, mustaches or goatees although I prefer clean shaven. However, what I cannot abide are those patches of hair some guys have right under the center of their lower lip. I looked it up and they’re called soul patches. I call them stupid looking.

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Just another HR lady... June 19, 2008 at 1:15 pm

EHRL, are you finding dates for everyone, or just HR Wench? LOL!

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Evil HR Lady June 19, 2008 at 1:37 pm

Just another hr lady–you want me to set you up? Excellent. I’ll open the EHRL dating service.

Goatees or no goatees?

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Just another HR lady... June 19, 2008 at 7:29 pm

Do you have anyone in your dating database with no goatee? Sorry Evil HR guy, just a personal preference. I’d still hire you though. LOL

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Wayne June 19, 2008 at 9:04 pm

As the proud sporter of a beard (it used to be red, now it’s red and white…kinda looks like the flag of Canada) I have two thoughts:
1) It should always be trimmed and professional
2) If that’s the only thing between you and the job, do you REALLY want to work there?

Easy for me to say now, I run my own company and wake up conforming to my dress code.

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Anonymous June 20, 2008 at 8:58 pm

I convinced my bald boyfriend to shave his goatee — I thought it made him look like a bouncer. He noted that people he works with suddenly found him more cooperative, knowledgeable, compassionate, wise, and competent. People base their expectations of you and your abilities on appearance. Sad but true.

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Dave Ferguson June 24, 2008 at 10:31 pm

A lot of good advice here. Some of it comes down to, what matters to you? I’ve had a full beard most of my adult life. I shaved it off once, early in my career, and kept it off four four years.

But I’ve had it more than half my life, and because I’m not (yet) desperate for clients, if my appearance puts off a prospect so much that he doesn’t want to talk about what I might contribute to the situation he’s facing, then not talking to me saves time for both of us.

You can’t stop people from reacting to your appearance, whatever that appearance is. I remember a cigarette ad with a burly biker glaring, arms crossed. It said:

Judge me all you want.
Keep the verdict to yourself.

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