Hey Prof? Should I Shave Before My Interview?

Just in – an early morning email from a student, asking if he should shave before his interview. In case I was on the fence, he included a pre-shave-selfie. I voted for the shave. He agreed and the beard ended up in the sink.  I’m ignoring the fact that this conversation probably occurred while he was in the bathroom.


I’d like nothing more than to provide airtight advice in this blog such as – always shave before an interview. But then I got to thinking.  Is there ever a reason not to shave before an interview?




7.         You’re bald


6.         Your shaven face causes children to scatter


5.         The job entails driving at high speeds away from a bank


 4.        It matches your Abe Lincoln stovepipe hat


 3.        It covers up your Mike Tyson tattoo


 2.        The ad said, “bearded lady wanted”


 1.        You’re Santa!




Thanks to two more of my students (below) who agreed to show off their beards for a shave or not shave vote. Let us know what you think. Should these beards be front and center during an interview??

  • Zack Eklund

    should you shave before an interview? I think you should absolutely shave before an interview no matter what job you are going for. I think like this for a number of reasons one it makes you look clean and presentably. when you walk in the interview people first thought before even talking to you is appearance and it makes you look clean and ready to go. another thing is having a beard sometimes gives off suspicious and I think the last thing you want to give off is suspicion to someone that might hire you. also to if you didn’t read up on the job you are interviewing for you might have missed something meaning some jobs require a dress code and have to be clean shaved and it might not be right to some people but hey if you want the job you have to follow rules. this job might include you being in public, or door to door selling, whatever it might be appearance to some people is big and might put you one step a head of the next guy. so another reason why you should go clean shaved you never know what the company might want their employees to look like. so go in safe and be clean shaved. with unemployment being up it pay to make a great impression so why be ignorant and say I wont work for them if they don’t let me keep my beard, why not just shave and if you get the job who knows they might let you keep a nice trimmed beard. also some people say that a scruffy beard sometimes paints the picture that your a slacker, now this might not be true but why have people stereotype you. I know its wrong and it might not be true but in this world that’s the way people are, so don’t give them a reason, be prepared and presentably and you wont have to worry about a thing. another thing is some people tend to think well when I shave I look like a freshman in high school and immature. a beard will not show your maturity they way you answer questions and the way you present yourself will show your maturity. a beard sometime represents laziness now your probably not but before anything starts your just getting the wheels turning in the company’s head and those are not the wheels you want to turn. I also believe that looking like a baby face is 100x better then looking unprofessional. back to what I was saying before too a manager or a boss that’s going to employee you might have a big thing against beards for example look at the Yankees manager he doesn’t allow anyone to have a beard or long hair anything and if you come to the team with a beard or long hair before you step on the field it all gets taken off. it might not be fair but if you want it bad enough you will take it off. to conclude my comment I just think its smart, safer and a better look to go in clean shave. it make you look clean, ready to work and that your not in any type of lazy or unprepared.

  • Melina Marzall

    In my opinion, a man should ALWAYS shave. Unless, for these seven really good reasons. Specially, if you are Santa! Lol It’s not only bad for a job interview, but also when it comes to social interactions, dating and first impressions. Well, it doesn’t matter where “the beard guy” is going, he will always have a “dirty” appearance. I heard from someone that beard will make it hard to distinguish the men’s emotions. Is he smiling or is he making weird faces to me? I know that some men think that beard makes them to look more manly, but they shouldn’t think that because – flash news – it is not true!! Also, men may give the impression of being lazy if they are unshaven. Having a lazy appearance counts a lot when you are single or looking for a job. In one of my classes, there was this handsome guy that had grown a goatee. The professor told him to shave it off because it wasn’t good for his work as a sale person and that he wasn’t looking handsome anymore. All of us agreed (in our heads of course). Bearded men give me the impression that they are not confident or satisfied with their physical appearance. So, if you want a girl’s opinion, girls usually don’t like to be tickled by someone’s beard. Don’t take me wrong, I am not against it, but I prefer to look at a clean and joyful face.

  • Charles M

    For a job in the business field I always think it is necessary to shave your face before an interview. In business you must always present yourself properly groomed, so for an interview I would say play it safe and lose the beard.

  • Georvhari Fletcher

    I Personally believe that someone should not have to shave for a interview as long as they seem well groomed. Todays society focuses too much on appearance which is horrible seeing that not everyone is always going to look up to someones standard. I feel people should be evaluated by their skills and not there appearance.

  • Simon Bernstein

    Shaving before an interview is definitely sound advice for most people. A clean-shaven look is certainly more professional in most instances, especially a formal job interview. If you appear well groomed you will most likely give a better first impression to the person interviewing you. That being said, there are certain circumstances in which you might not want to shave. The first scenario is you have immaculate facial hair and it is not excessive. In that case a trim is still recommended. The other scenario is if you are applying to a position where it just doesn’t matter. In that case use your judgement, but in my opinion a clean shave would never hurt.

  • http://www.youtube.com/grantdux Grant Grandison

    Here is another vote for the unshaven. If a man spends a majority of his time sporting his fuzz, why should he scrape it off for a job he may not get?

    I am well aware that first impressions count so why not let the first impression be the right impression? And there is nothing more right than honesty. Beard or no beard, a person should be themselves in an interview. If a man is more comfortable with his muttonchops, shaving it off will not do him any justice. In fact, that would arguably be counter-productive. Instead of focusing on selling himself to the interviewer, he is now distracted by the cold breeze that rushes the area where his stubble use to be and also by the burning sting of aftershave.

    Now, we all know that not all beards were created equally but as long as that man hair is well kept there is no reason why it should be shaved. There are those amongst us men that wear our beards with pride and conduct ourselves appropriately in professions that do not, in no way, include driving away from banks at high speeds or sneaking into peoples houses at night to deliver presents. And there is no beard a man could grow to cover up a Mike Tyson tattoo. Furthermore, I do not believe the most interesting man alive from those Dos Equis commercials shave for an interview. Do You?

    As for interviews, a man should be judge by the content of his resume not the existence of his facial hair. In this melting pot of cultures which is America, acceptance and tolerance of people for who they are is of increasing significance. Besides the fact that there are those who do not shave for religious purposes which is one reason why it shouldn’t matter if a man is shaved or not. There is also the fact that there is an increasing number of non-traditional companies in todays marketplace who opted out of the traditional suite and tie era. Cubicles in most of these companies have been replaced with been bag chairs. More companies, like Google and others, focus more employee creativity and professional intuitiveness rather than their beards. So shaved or unshaven? I say don’t stress it. Just do your homework.

  • Patricia Ortiz

    EXCELLENT POINTS! I must rebuttal though.

    You made an excellent point on honesty and being comfortable with yourself in front of other. You are also correct in saying that not all beards are created equal. what doesn’t sit well with me are the combination of the two. If a man (or woman, w/e) has a beard that makes him look like Zach Galifianakis (Hangover) and that is how he is comfortable, is that the way he should interview? ABSOLUTELY NOT. You’re right that your appearance should not Supersede your Resume and capabilities, but you also have to take in account the human potential for remembering the package that was presented to them and not what’s in it. We are a visual people whether we like it or not. For the most part also, many company’s that are hiring are private companies that have the right to tell you how they want you to look, because you represent that company. As a banker, I am not allowed to come to work with my hair out of order, not wearing my uniform and looking pressed and professional. I’m sure if I had shown up to my interview as such, I would not have this job now. If you are, in your natural form, what represents the vision of the company you’re interviewing, than rock on. But if you’re not, then everyone with a beard interviewing with them will just have to suck it up and conform.

  • Juan-Carlos Garcia

    This topic is definitely disputable. I for one am against shaving before interviews but that doesn’t mean showing up with an untamed beast. The facial hair has to have maintenance for it to slide or truly make a positive impact. A well trimmed stache or beard can speak volumes on discipline and character. There is a fine line you don’t want to cross with facial hair as it can be an instant turn off for an interviewer.
    Maybe it’s just me but being cleanly shaved makes me look like a toddler and you never know when that can throw some points off. I guess the younger you look the more irresponsible an interviewer may make you out to be. Basically, I’m all for unshaven but with boundaries set. Every interviewer may not appreciate your individualism or self-expression as much as you think. Play it safe with your beards gentlemen (or women?).

  • Nesby Thomas

    If the beard has grown in completely and is not patchy or otherwise looking unkept, then wear it It’ll only give the perception of experience and confidence. If the employer is prejudice against beard, you would not want to work for them anyway,because there is no need to conform to a prejudice society your job hiring or their lack of should be based on whether you are qualified and are able to do the work. Please let me know if you feel the same

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  • Corey Gardner

    I mostly agree with the notion that a person should probably shave before an interview, except in the 7 cases listed above. However, if your unshaven face makes you appear too much like a child, it’s possible that the interviewer may not take you as seriously as someone who appears older (and therefore wiser or more experienced). That being said, I believe that there is acceptable amount of facial hair to have during an interview for those who can pull it off. In my opinion, the only way this can be done is through following these criteria:

    1. The beard is trimmed down to a very (I mean, VERY) short length

    2. It does not span the entirety of the face and neck (e.g. a goatee)

    3. The hair is straight, not curly (sorry, curly facial hair is just ungainly)

    By following these criteria I believe a person with facial hair can succeed in any interview – unless the position requires no facial hair! I feel that by molding and sculpting your facial hair into a nice presentable fashion, it removes the idea of griminess and shows that you actually care about your presentation, perhaps even more than a clean-shaven person. Why you may ask? Because you took the time to craft a masterful and commanding inherently masculine feature. This may demonstrate to the person interviewing you that you care about cleanliness and making a particular impression. What does anyone else think about this? I’d be curious to hear some responses. Also, in reference to whether the two students should shave off their beards or not, I’d say the first one could be trimmed and sculpted to look a little more presentable but the second student has no chance in an interview with all his splayed facial hair.