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Old 12-11-2013, 03:17 PM
538 posts, read 1,136,264 times
Reputation: 627


Whether or not your hair is a problem depends on your industry and what kind of people are making the hiring decisions. I have friends who are business majors who think that you can't land a job in a black suit; it has to be either navy or light grey because everybody knows those are the acceptable interview suit colors and anyone who wears something different must be an idiot for not knowing that. I, on the other hand, am an engineer and interview other engineers and technical people. We are generally aware that the interviewee is wearing clothes, but I honestly couldn't tell you what color a particular candidate's suit was. There is not a business degree in the bunch when we interview, and we once gave an offer to a guy who interviewed in a t-shirt that said "I believe in the right to arm bears" with a cartoon picture of a bear with a rifle on it. Also hired a 50+ y/o woman who interviewed in a low cut sleeveless blouse and sneakers. We've hired a couple young folks with unnatural hair colors (I'm talking purple and blue here, not a bad dye job). Nobody gives a crap what you wear or how you look when you spend all day in a factory. I'm sure all of those people would have been laughed out of an interview down the hall in the finance department.

So, are technical writers generally conservative? Judgemental? Are they usually "by the book" type of people? And what industry are you interviewing in? Are the people you talk to usually other writers and english majors, or are they usually some sort of business person? If it's a creative work environment that you're interviewing in I wouldn't give long hair a second thought.

Also, being good looking will only ever help you when job hunting, and I think long hair looks very good on you.
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Old 12-11-2013, 03:19 PM
Location: Virginia Beach, VA
13 posts, read 91,496 times
Reputation: 69
So just to let any others who might be having the same problem as me know, I contacted one of the companies I applied to, and they told me that my appearance was indeed one of the deciding factors in their decision not to hire me. The fellow was very candid with me and simply told me that, while I had a great interview, I simply looked like an unsafe hire--I was a wild card, he said. He told me that people with unorthodox appearances are generally less predictable in their personalities and tastes, and that it's simply safer to hire someone who already displays the ability to conform to a set of standards.

But, you know? I'm starting to get the feeling that I wouldn't enjoy working in a place like that. The company that employed me as a tech writer had no qualms with my appearance, and I had a great time working there. So I'm starting to feel like that's an indicator for me. My appearance isn't me, but it is an expression of me, and so if a hiring manager takes a look at me and turns me away because I look as I do, then I, in all honestly, would likely not have been a good fit anyway. So I'm going to keep looking out for something that suits me while still keeping in mind that I can change my appearance if I absolutely need to. Thanks for helping me internally sort this out, guys. It was bothering me.
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Old 12-11-2013, 03:37 PM
16,611 posts, read 14,091,160 times
Reputation: 20572
Originally Posted by Edmond_Dantes View Post
I've been working as a technical writer for the past few years after graduating with a degree in English literature, but have recently been laid off when the company I worked for began to have financial troubles. Now, for the entire duration of my college and writing careers, I've had shoulder-length hair. I've been applying for jobs for nearly two months now with very little success; I always get to the interview, but I haven't been getting the jobs. I am a very qualified technical or copy writer with numerous completed projects in my portfolio, as well as a published academic journal article, and so I'm beginning to become a bit puzzled. What I want to know is if my longer hair is possibly turning employers off, despite the fact that I always dress well for the specific job I'm going after. I've been mostly applying to tech writer positions at medium and large sized companies. I would be grateful for any input, but responses from hiring authorities would also be greatly appreciated.

Here's a recent picture of me. My hair is usually a bit neater, but this is fairly representative of how I normally look.
Did you see any other men in the office with hair that was longer than collar length? If not, get it cut. If you really like it grow it back after you get the job.

Just because it shouldn't matter, doesn't mean it actually doesn't matter.
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Old 12-11-2013, 03:41 PM
Location: Ayrsley
4,714 posts, read 8,481,911 times
Reputation: 3814
Its like tattoos or anything else.

Some employers may have a bias against certain aspects of one's appearance.

Some may be fine with it, but know that some of their clients might have an issue with it, and factor that into their decisions accordingly.

Right or wrong...discriminatory or not...there are certain expectations around what consitutes proper, professional attire and apprearance in a given workplace environment and sometimes, you just have to play ball. I used to have hair down past my shoulders (I'm a guy) and at one other point in my life my hair was short, but it was spiked and dyed black with blue tips. At a certain point, in order to move into a certain corporate environment, I had to go with a more conservative haircut. Much like I would never get a tattoo that couldn't be fully covered in business casual attire. I can still wear a Ramones T-shirt to a business function, I just wear it under my suit.

Originally Posted by Edmond_Dantes View Post
mostly just want to know if anyone can definitively tell me what the corporate climate is at the moment regarding men and long hair.
I am not sure that there is one definitive answer to that. A lot of that will depend on the culture of an individual company. Where I work now, I can come in to the office in jeans and a t-shirt, and no one cares about my tats (although we'll dress more appropriately when meeting with clients). But it is quite possible that if I worked for the company located on the floor below me in my building, they might have a different attitude towards something like that.
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Old 12-11-2013, 03:58 PM
Location: Ayrsley
4,714 posts, read 8,481,911 times
Reputation: 3814
Originally Posted by PhotoProIP View Post
WOW....Does your name start with an "H" by any chance?

He doesn't look like the type of person talking with slang! I think "employers" are too suck up/nose up in the air and have lost complete sight of why they're hiring in the first place! Are all employers Military? because aside from the Military, I see zero reason for someone to be DEPERSONALIZED like that!

& There should be a LAW for that! What makes you so entitled to discriminate someone that's qualified for a job? Your concern should be their qualifications for the job, and not the length of their hair!
In principle, I agree with you. However - you are missing a very important point, which is that it may have very little to do with the employer's attitude at all.

I certainly would have no personal issues hiring someone with long hair, visible tats, a nose ring, etc., if I thought they were the perfectly qualified candidate for a job. But, if I knew that the person I hired would have to interact with potential customers and clients, then I would have to be mindful of the fact that some of those individuals might be less open-minded (and even put off) by dealing with a person whose appearance they felt to be less than professional and / or did not conform to more stereotypical norms, which could affect my company's business realtionships. And that is a factor that has to be taken in to account.
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Old 12-11-2013, 04:04 PM
Location: SW Missouri
15,847 posts, read 30,381,599 times
Reputation: 22356
Originally Posted by GrandviewGloria View Post
I would NOT... EVER

Too, his being white (but apparently not from a clannish subset of Whites, which takes care of its own...) puts him at a disadvantage in a job market where employers are forced to hire minorities. Writing may be a niche, within many companies, where unqualified people will do the least damage. So, possibly, that's where the Affirmative Action hires are happening, in those companies. Unless OP manages to pass himself off as a member of a "Protected Group"... and thus someone who will help fill a quota for some minority, he may be last in line for hiring, because of his color/ethnicity.

I cannot begin to tell you how much mileage I've gotten out of being a Native American.
In the interest of getting a job, he could always change his name to Alvarez or Ortega. After all, you don't have to look Mexican or Latino to be Hispanic. Notwithstanding sexual preferences of the OP (which are none of my business), he's got a Ricky Martin thing going on.

Moderator cut: snip


Last edited by 7G9C4J2; 12-12-2013 at 05:09 PM.. Reason: Removed copyrighted image
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Old 12-12-2013, 12:09 AM
34,411 posts, read 41,518,327 times
Reputation: 29889
Edmond i'm not getting why the hair is so vitally important, it will grow back.
With your logic of not having it cut because you wont like working for a place that would require you to cut your hair is a sure way to diminish many job prospects.
Bottom line, working for others you'll most always have to deal with other peoples rules and regulations.If you want to keep this "look" you might consider working for yourself in some capacity. Or as you will probably be viewed as a progressive try to focus your job searches on Progressive companies .Slim pickings but might give an idea or two.
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Old 12-12-2013, 04:56 AM
Location: Monnem Germany/ from San Diego
2,269 posts, read 2,470,284 times
Reputation: 4700
Originally Posted by 43north87west View Post
The Hampton Roads area?! Your hair is not possibly setting you back, it's most definitely setting you back.

Your hair screams "I have never served in the military". In that region, not having served in the military is more offensive than showing up to Rosh Hashanah service in a Heinrich Himmler costume.

Good luck.
After I got out of the military I grew my hair extra long as did lots of others getting out. After 6 years of all that authority and discipline it kind of makes you want to get anti authority and discipline.
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Old 12-12-2013, 09:09 AM
Location: Minneapolis 'burbs
295 posts, read 741,871 times
Reputation: 404
Hey, you are pretty cute! LOL!

I would pull it back and make sure it's neatly combed and shiny for interviewing. I spent 10 years in HR and long hair wouldn't make *me* think any differently about a candidate.

One of my coworkers at my new job, 6 figure dude, 30+ years in a professional industry has hair slightly longer than yours. At work it's always in a ponytail (low, low at the base of his neck).
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Old 12-12-2013, 11:33 AM
Location: Miami, FL
264 posts, read 620,378 times
Reputation: 248
Do this and you'll look more professional for interview.

Moderator cut: snip

Last edited by 7G9C4J2; 12-12-2013 at 05:11 PM.. Reason: Removed copyrighted image
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