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Does Hair Color Matter in a Job Interview?

Whenever I’m asked to answer that question from a Hiring Manager’s perspective, I always give a qualified, two-part answer.

Natural Hair Colors

This first part is that natural hair colors are never a problem in an interview as far as I’m concerned. Blonde, brunette, black, natural red, it simply doesn’t matter so long as that is your natural hair color.

The old-fashioned notion that blondes are scatter-brained, or that redheads have volatile tempers, no longer apply. If your hair is its natural color, I will focus only on your qualifications.

There is one caveat here. If you have “enhanced” your natural color to an extreme degree, it will attract attention, and not the kind you want. I’m referring here to looks such as extreme platinum blonde, flaming red, etc.

Non-natural Hair Colors

Now let’s talk about the second part: non-natural hair colors, such as blue, green, pink, purple. While times have certainly changed and a lot of industries don’t care about your hair color, wearing these hair colors to an interview is not a good idea.

Regardless of whether or not these colors are acceptable for the job you’re seeking, they are the first thing I will notice when you walk in the door for your interview. Even if my company and the job don’t have rules against these hair colors, is that really the first thing about you that you want noticed?

Of course, your hair color indeed has nothing to do with your ability to do the job well, but it’s difficult to project a professional image in an interview when you have bright green hair. Many Hiring Managers still associate wild hair colors with undesirable traits such as:

  • Being undependable
  • Looking unkempt
  • Wanting attention (and not in a good way)

Is this fair? Of course not. But it represents reality in many interviews.

And you should note that non-natural hair coloring has no legal protections. An employer can use it as a reason to deny you the job or even to require you to change it to keep your job.

Like it or not, you’ll need to make some sacrifices when it comes to projecting a professional image for your interview. Non-natural hair color may be one of those sacrifices, depending on the job and the company.

Here’s the Bottom Line on Hair Color

When all is said and done, you’ll need to make a decision when it comes to wild hair color and interviews.

You’re going in cold to your interview as far as knowing anything about who will be there. They may be okay with green hair or that may kill your interview completely. You just never know.

If it comes down to two equally qualified job candidates and one has blue hair, odds are the job will go to the other one.

Having natural hair color will never hurt you, so why take a chance? Get the job first and then you can determine what the company culture is and if wild hair color is acceptable.

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