While the long hairstyle for men is popular, it isn’t exactly “common” enough for the rules around it to be well understood. The question is, can guys have long hair for a job interview?
Men can generally wear long hair for most job interviews, as long as it is well-kempt and clean to project as professional an image as possible. Long hair should not be worn to interviews where the workplace itself would specifically prohibit long hair.
These workplaces may include military roles, emergency services, or working with food.
But even where the workplace itself may be OK with it, many men with long hair often wonder if their long hair might work against them at a job interview.
There are several ways that you can ensure your long hair looks as professional as can be.
Keep reading to learn about some of the recommended ways to wear your long hair if you have a job interview.
6 Ways To Prepare Long Hair For An Interview
As long hair is becoming more accepted as a style for men, more employers are likely to be accepting of this expression of individuality.
However, even if you have a laid-back interviewer, it’s still important to project a clean, smart and professional image. Long hair can run the risk of looking more relaxed than short hair, so here are some ways you can ensure you look professional at your interview.
1. Keep Your Hair Out Of Your Face
Whether your hair is long or short, having lots of flyaway hairs sticking out in different directions is never going to look professional.
With longer hair, these flyaways can be more common and difficult to control.
When prepping for your job interview, consider wearing your hair in an updo such as a ponytail or man bun, and using a comb with water or some light product to keep those rebellious strands of hair in line.
Keeping your hair under control like this can subconsciously indicate to the interviewer that you are organized, neat and efficient, all of which are attractive traits to a prospective employer.
It is better to wear your hair up than down to look more professional, but if you really want to wear your long hair down then at least ensure that you have combed it through and applied some product to keep frizz and flyaways at bay.
Touching your long hair behind your ears whilst it is down is another way you can make it look neater.
2. Make Sure Your Hair Is Clean
This is very obvious, but when you go to a job interview you want to make sure your hair is clean.
No employer wants to see you turn up to their interview with greasy, straggly unwashed hair.
It just looks unprofessional, period.
It can signal to the employer that you haven’t bothered to make an effort for the interview, and subconsciously they may take this to mean that you don’t really value or want the job that you are interviewing for.
Although no one should be judged solely on their appearance, being unkempt can be the deciding factor between you and another interviewee with exactly the same credentials on paper.
And unfortunately, it’s a lot easier to tell if long hair is unwashed and dirty than it is with short hair.
At the end of the day, this is such an easy thing to fix which can make a massive difference in your overall presentation and appearance of professionalism to your prospective employer.
3. Dress Sharp
As I mentioned before, long hair can run the risk of giving off a laid-back, chilled-out vibe that can be at odds with what you are trying to project to your potential employer at a job interview.
An easy way to balance this out and create a more professional look is to dress smartly.
Different employers may expect different levels of formality at their interviews, and sometimes they may inform you in advance about their recommended dress code.
But if they don’t, it’s always best to stick slightly on the formal side as opposed to the casual end of the spectrum.
After all, at a job interview, it is ok to be slightly overdressed, but less acceptable to be too underdressed and casual.
Again, it comes back to the idea of being seen to make an effort and showing that you care about the job interview and that you have taken time to prepare yourself for it.
If the job you’re applying for is more “corporate” or in a more formal workplace, you can bet you’ll need to wear a suit.
When rocking long hair, you want to make sure your suit is formal and sharp enough to distract from it a little.
Wearing a dark-colored suit with a matching tie and a button-down shirt is an acceptable look for an interview at a more formal workplace. Top it off with a pair of leather Oxfords or Derby shoes and you should be good.
A wristwatch will also speak volumes about a man – it oozes a sense of efficiency.
Of course, at more casual workplaces like in retail or a tech startup, for instance, you won’t necessarily need to wear a suit.
But you should still make an effort to dress smartly – don’t go any more “casual” than business casual.
Together with a neat, groomed long hairstyle, this will make sure that you appear professional and well-kempt.
4. Avoid Bright Coloured Accessories
Wearing your hair up in a ponytail or a man bun to an interview is recommended for men with long hair, as it makes you look neater and more put-together.
However, make sure you don’t accidentally undo this neat professional look by using hair accessories that are bright in color.
Bright-colored hair accessories generally don’t appear professional, as they give off a playful, more youthful impression.
In a job interview situation, you want to display your maturity and ability to be focused to the employer.
It’s better to opt for neutral-colored hair ties for styling your man bun or ponytail for an interview. Try blacks or dark browns if your hair is a similar color, or even navy if you have a matching colored suit.
For lighter colored hair, you can get clear, ‘invisible’ hair ties that will blend into your hair color and be less visible to the naked eye.
Avoid spiral or curly plastic hair ties if you can, as again these appear more playful and laidback as opposed to professional.
5. Trim Your Facial Hair
Taking time to style your long hair to appear neat for an interview can all go to waste if you neglect to style your facial hair.
Having a messy or ungroomed beard or mustache can make you look untidy and unkempt, even with your long hair being styled.
The good news is that many employers nowadays accept that facial hair is a style choice and that they don’t necessarily expect you to be clean-shaven.
It is always best to do your research into this, however, and check the company culture of the organization you are applying to work for.
But generally speaking, in more traditional times, it would be expected that you shave fully before an interview to appear professional.
Even if you aren’t expected to be clean-shaven, you should still make an effort to groom and trim your facial hair to make it look neat prior to your interview.
A neat long hair updo and freshly trimmed, brushed, and waxed mustache or beard can actually look very professional.
6. Consider A Fresh Trim
Hopefully, so far you’ve gathered that having long hair as a man for an interview can be acceptable so long as you’ve taken time to make yourself presentable.
Another way to boost your presentability is to consider going for a quick trim at the salon prior to your interview.
You don’t need to cut your hair short, but simply taking half an inch to an inch off the ends can really neaten up your hairstyle, and get rid of any obvious split or straggly ends.
Your hair will end up looking fuller, healthier, and neater, and this, in turn, makes you look like you regularly take time to care for your own appearance.
Employers will take note of this, and a new haircut can boost your self-confidence as well as make you appear more professional.
When Should You Never Wear Long Hair For An Interview?
As we’ve discussed so far, long hair for men is a more popular hairstyle that is becoming more accepted, and this can apply to the interview situation too.
More and more employers are more accepting of long hair in men, and of facial hair too.
However, there is a caveat.
Certain jobs and company cultures may be more strict about having long hair than others. For instance, roles that are predominantly customer-facing, or more corporate roles, may expect men to wear a more traditional short haircut.
In addition, there are certain jobs where long hair would be prohibited for health and safety reasons – for example, military or emergency service roles.
Rocking up to an interview at one of these workplaces with long hair wouldn’t be a good idea, as you’d be expected to cut it short if you were to get the job in any case.
Although people should not be judged solely on their outward appearance, the practical reality is that certain organizations may still have this bias when selecting their employees.
The best advice is to do some research into the company culture of the organization that you are applying for, and see if you can get an insight into their expectations prior to your job interview and whether they are likely to be accepting of long hair.
If not, then the question is whether you still wish to work for a company with this type of culture and if you are willing to sacrifice your long hair if this is something that they request.
Above all, the focus in a job interview should be on your skills and suitability for the job at hand.
Appearance shouldn’t really come into it, but we all know that first impressions do still count at an interview.
The good news is that more employers are moving with the times and are more concerned with your personality and integrity than your outward appearance.
Presenting yourself as neatly as possible and having professional mannerisms are simply tools that can help you get a foot in the door to your new job, so that you can really start to show your capabilities to your new boss.