WHATEVER YOU DO, DON’T ALLOW YOUR HAIR LOSS CONDITION TO GET IN THE WAY OF YOUR SUCCESS … OR A NEW JOB.
With unemployment at its highest rate in recent memory, the job market is tougher than ever. Though the competition is stiff, you can put yourself above the rest by conveying the right image. If you suffer from hair loss, you simply can’t afford to allow the sometimes-crippling effects of hair loss get in the way of success. Your work history, education and skills can land the job, but first impressions count. Half the battle takes place in the first few moments of the interview.
As we all understand, those who suffer from hair loss oftentimes lose more than just their hair; they can lose their self-esteem and self-confidence by thinking such thoughts as “I don’t look good” or “I don’t look like myself” or even “I look too old”. In a crucial job interview, such self-defeating thoughts about your hair loss can do you in. It’s important, therefore, to feel good and confident throughout the interview and learning to dress for success can help immensely.
In your initial introduction, make eye contact and confidently greet the interviewer with your first and last name. Stand tall and extend your hand for a firm (yet not crushing) handshake. When seated, don’t slouch. Be sure to smile and keep eye contact throughout the interview.
Some studies say that most interviewers make up their minds about job candidates within the first 15 seconds. Therefore, what you wear to your job interview is critical.
The Business Suit
Both men and women should consider wearing a business suit to convey a professional image. Even if the job for which you are applying is in a business casual environment, a suit will impress. Very few industries would be turned off by someone wearing a suit. Those would be more creative fields where you might be considered too “stuffy” by wearing a suit.
Generally picking a navy or dark gray suit is an optimal choice, along with a solid shirt or blouse. For women, the suit skirt should be no shorter than an inch above the knee. You should be able to sit comfortably without worrying about the skirt hiking up.
The Shoes and Accessories
Men should wear conservative leather shoes with dark socks. Women should wear low-heeled pumps in a neutral color. No sandals, sneakers or extremely high heels. Even in warm climates women should wear pantyhose to an interview.
Both men and women should limit their jewelry. A nice watch is a plus. Carry a briefcase or portfolio. Limit (or skip) the cologne or aftershave. Many interviewers have nixed candidates for overwhelming them with fragrance.
Men who are experiencing thinning hair or hair loss should not wear a hat to a job interview. There’s no need to try to cover up your hair loss. By dressing in neat, tailored attire and following these other interviewing tips, you can present a positive image and put your best foot forward. Be confident in your appearance and capabilities. If you feel good about yourself, you will look good.
Dos and Don’ts
- Do arrive 15 minutes early.
- Don’t chew gum or candy.
- Do cover tattoos, if possible.
- Don’t wear clothes that are wrinkled, dirty or ill-fitting.
- Do use a breath mint or spray prior to entering the building.
- Don’t leave your cell phone on during the interview.
- Do remove multiple earrings, if you have piercings.
- Do stick to classic attire.
- Don’t experiment with trendy or colorful clothing.
- Do bring a copy of your resume.
For Non-Professional Jobs
If you are interviewing for a job in a restaurant, retail store or very creative industry and have decided not to wear a suit, you still need to be neat and well-groomed. Business casual attire is probably the best option.
For men, business casual can mean a button-down shirt, sweater or polo shirt with casual slacks or khaki pants. For women, tailored blouses and twill pants or skirts are nice choices. Never wear jeans, shorts, flip-flops or cotton t-shirts to an interview.
What to Avoid
When you are interviewing for a job, there are a number of topics you should avoid talking about at all costs. If you are forced to talk about any of these subjects, it’s best to do so delicately, swiftly and confidently. That way you can give the potential employer the needed explanation without having to dwell on the subject.
Don’t speak about your previous job in a negative manner. Some interviewers will try to bait you into trashing your old job to see where your priorities stand. A lot of interviewees fall into the trap of badmouthing their previous place of employment. Instead, talk about skills you learned while at the job and how you can use those skills going forward.
Don’t talk about how much you need the job. An interviewer is more likely to pick the person who is qualified and wants the job, rather than the person who absolutely needs the job.
Desperation doesn’t sit well with most employers. The company will feel that a desperate employee may be just looking for any job temporarily and will leave the position as soon as another ripe opportunity comes along.
Don’t get too personal. You shouldn’t talk about your own personal life, relationships, religion or anything of that sort. Nor should you try to delve into the personal affairs of the interviewer. Also don’t try to be overly complimentary to the interviewer. That will rarely help you get hired. Most of the time, the person will just become uncomfortable. It’s always best to keep everything professional and avoid any personal talk altogether.
Pay attention to closing of the interview. Did the hiring manager say they will let you know next week? Did they say they have a number of other candidates to interview? Conclude the interview with a handshake and be sure to thank the interviewer for his/her time.
If you haven’t heard from the employer within a reasonable amount of time, follow-up with a phone call or email. You can also send a thank you note by mail the day after the interview. Even if you aren’t hired for this particular position, the hiring manager will remember your courtesy.
You should be able to take some positives from every interview, even if you don’t land the job. The more interviews you have under your belt, the more confident you will be the next time.
There are questions about whether hair loss and baldness automatically works against a candidate in a job interview. It’s hard to say for sure without knowing how that bald candidate felt about himself during the interview, how he dressed and did he make any mistakes during the interview. Whether you suffer from hair loss or not, one thing is certain: You need every tactical advantage to make a good first impression and land that job. A confident manner, dressing smart and professional and being armed with the techniques discussed here can help you to overcome any perceived disadvantage your hair loss situation may bring to an interview and help you to ultimately land that job.