Beards in Business: Should You Shave Before Your Job Interview?

Beards in Business: Should You Shave Before Your Job Interview?

Once considered taboo, tattoos and beards are now finding themselves commonplace in several offices and professions. However, often for safety or health reasons, some industries haven't switched over and still ban a bearded look.

Not knowing the difference complicates preparing for the interview process. After all, to create the best impression you want to come prepared with the style your potential employer prefers.

To make things easier, here at Zeus Beard, we broke down which careers call for a clean-shaven style and which jobs will let you rock a burly beard. There's also plenty of beard grooming and styling tips along the way to help you create the perfect interview look.

Careers that require a clean-shaven look


Unfortunately, some careers still require a clean-shaven look for professional or safety reasons. If you're attempting to keep your beard, you'll have to ditch these options.

United States Military

If you're considering life as a military man, your beard will have to go while you're enlisted.

The Army, Air Force and Marine Corps banned beards to ensure soldiers' personal hygiene and ability to seal chemical weapon protective masks. In addition, military opinion holds that eliminating facial hair options creates uniformity and camaraderie.

In 2018, Command Sgt. Maj. John Troxell, the most senior enlisted member of the U.S. Armed Forces referred to beards as "relaxed grooming standards," "part of pop culture" and "a tangible gimmick" in an interview with "Military Times."

Troxell said clean-shaven service members are "the ethical standard-bearers, globally, for everything that is right about our country."

Police Officers and Firefighters

Typically, law enforcement and fire departments do not allow beards because, similar to the military, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) prohibits facial hair that interferes with the sealing surface.

However, the rules aren't completely restrictive and usually allow local safety teams to sport well-groomed mustaches that stay within the parameters of the lips.

Professions that sometimes allow beards


With these careers, it may be a little more difficult to tell if a beard is an acceptable workplace fashion statement or not. After all, employers have more discretion in these jobs and it may vary from job to job.

To prepare for interviews in these professions, make sure to do your research. This means a little healthy online stalking. Observe the appearance and styles of current employees on LinkedIn or other social media platforms to get a feel for the company's atmosphere.

If an in-person visit is applicable before your interview, like in a restaurant or bar setting, you can really soak in a feel for which on-the-clock employee styles are allowed.

Bartenders, Servers and Chefs

Food industry professionals often encounter issues with extra hair present because guests understandably don't like loose strands garnishing their food.

On the upside, beards aren't completely out of the question when it comes to working as a bartender, server or chef. There is a possibility you can keep your edgy look without missing out on a job opportunity.

On the downside, beards may lose their aesthetic when working in a restaurant. Some employers require employees with long hair or beards to wear hair nets, ensuring no hair makes its way on to the plates.

Sales and Business Professionals

While a traditional white-collar office isn't the first place you'd think of seeing beards, facial hair can actually help in sales and business.

Studies show that people view men with beards as more aggressive, dominant and confident, which are often considered strong qualities in a sales or businessman.

In addition, beards also provide a perception of age, maturity and good physical health, which often makes the man appear more trustworthy.

Doctors and Medical Staff

Depending on which role they hold in the hospital, doctors can sport varying lengths of beards.

In some instances, doctors prefer to shave less because keeping facial hair is more convenient while working long shifts and brings better results when communicating with patients.

In a 1985 letter published in the Boston Medical and Surgical Journal, physician F.A. Colby argued for his beard saying, "it is a comfort to stroke it and look wise while making a doubtful diagnosis" and that he grew it in an attempt "lose the title of 'the young doctor.'"

In other cases, surgeons and doctors conducting technical work often choose to shave to avoid spreading harmful pathogens or contaminating tests. They can also be required to shave if their facial hair interferes with the seal of a needed medical mask in the course of their work.

Jobs that let you keep a burly beard


Luckily, some professions have made the switch to allowing beards be the new norm. If you're looking for a career that likely won't think twice about your beard as an application deterrent, check out these jobs. They promise to let you showcase more of your personal style on the clock.

Barber

It pretty much goes without saying, a profession focused on crafting the ultimate beard and hair styles allows its employees and contractors to rock unique facial hair looks.

If the choice to keep your beard stems from a passion for facial hair, pursuing a career as a barber will offer you the ideal creative outlet.

Photographer Rob Hammer travelled throughout America documenting barbershops and said the profession's community was admirably supportive of each other..

Tattoo Artist

Choosing a career as a tattoo artist allows you more freedom when it comes to styles you sport at work.

Tattoo shops were one of the first jobs to accept beards as professional attire. Clearly part of the original counter culture, tattoo artists worked hard to prove that you can be covered from head to toe in tattoos, hair and piercings and still be talented and professional.

Mechanic

Lastly, mechanics also often rock burly beards. When working in and under cars and trucks, dirt and debris are often flying everywhere. Having a beard in this case often protects a mechanics mouth and nose area.

The important key to remember in a dirtier profession is to wash your beard thoroughly when you get home. Bacteria leftover from work can cause breakouts, itch and scraggly styles if not cared for properly after work.

Investing in a gentle beard shampoo and conditioner will help your beard stay clean and healthy.

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