Combing stories | What does your hair say about you in a job interview?


By typing “job interview hairstyles” into any internet search engine, you may notice that the results show a series of headlines promising to include the most suitable styles for the director or representative of a company.

Formal and sophisticated, buns and low ponytails are some of the main options that Google Images shows, according to the most relevant search trends on this side of the hemisphere.

Judging by the number of monthly inquiries in Mexico, many candidates give importance to their personal image and look for that perfect hairstyle that can score points when it comes to getting a job. But is it really worth the time and effort to look like your hair?

Image theory and personal presentation

Let’s go in parts… From the sociological perspective of symbolic interactionism, the writer and father of microsociology, Erving Goffman, exposes the experience that humans have developed to control how others perceive us, through different signs. We all actively build a personal image by carefully selecting and playing roles, using verbal and nonverbal cues, and adapting our behavior to specific social situations.

The philosophical movement in question also says that, through this process, we try to provoke the desired reactions and maintain a coherent image of ourselves. Of course, the meaning attributed to a person’s appearance, gestures and expressions varies depending on the cultural, social and historical context. But, what happens in the workplace in Mexico? Can hair really have a positive or negative impact on an interview?

In All Things Hair We undertook the task of interviewing 70 professionals ––men and women, from 15 to 60 years old–– in different sectors: administration, financial services, automotive, tourism and health; as well as construction, design, art, communication, marketing and advertising. The questions were divided into two parts, with the aim of obtaining the perspective of both a candidate and an interviewer (director, manager or the person in charge of recruiting in a company).

What candidates think about personal image and hair for a job interview

Woman in a job interview with loose straight hair and a professional image
Clean, loose and styled hair makes a good impression on interviewers, according to surveys. Credit: losmuertoscrew/Pexels.

According to the concept of the “presentation of the self” in symbolic interactionism, the way in which individuals present themselves to others influences their self-perception and self-esteem. Furthermore, he explains that the continuous interaction between the self and society shapes the development of a coherent identity.

Through the comments and reactions of others, we can get an idea of ​​how we are perceived, and adjust our self-image accordingly.

Erving Hoffmann

53% of candidates for different positions believe that personal image has more weight than talent and skills. In addition, 50% believe that the appearance of the hair should not influence the company’s decision to be hired. However, 97% answered that they do spend time on their personal image and the appearance of their hair before a job interview.

While this is hardly surprising, it is interesting how many times people mentioned the importance of keeping their hair clean, looking neat and styled conservatively. But what do these features mean?

Personal style in a job interview

From this perspective, the aforementioned three parts are culturally associated with wearing hair loose and ironing or molding, a formal bun, and a ponytail for women. For men, keeping the style short and trim is more than enough, as long as your hair isn’t messy and messy. In addition, they avoid dyes in colors such as pink, blue and green, as the other party could consider them too “creative and crazy”. Also, for candidates a looks inappropriate for both men and women, includes hair that is in poor condition, with split ends, dandruff, oiliness, and poorly maintained dye.

Unfortunately, the image sometimes speaks more than the talent and skills of a person. Luckily for me, when I started as an intern in an aeronautical company, they hired me for presenting myself well dressed, combed and neat, despite the fact that another candidate was ready for the position before me.

anonymous interviewee

In this sense, 5% of the candidates ––belonging to the construction, administration and international trade sectors–– responded that their personal style played poorly in their favor and, therefore, they lost the position to which they applied. The remaining 95% have never been criticized by a company for their appearance.

What do the interviewers think about personal image and hair appearance?

Man in a work environment with a fade cut and a professional image
On a man, short, polished hair gives a sense of professionalism. Credit: Shutterstock.

As Erving Hoffman’s theory suggests, the meanings attributed to personal image are socially constructed, and the identity formation process is intertwined with feedback received from others.

Responding to the beliefs of the candidates about the appropriate and inappropriate elements of the image to attend a job interview, 98% of the interviewers do care that the person spends time on their appearance. 25% of the professionals at the head of companies or companies do not really value the appearance of hair ––within the creative and art, marketing and automotive sectors––, while 75% give it considerable weight. Judging by the answers, in general, cleanliness is associated with confidence and work commitment. Only 2%, belonging to the creative sector, believe that this part should be free and that appearance should not influence as long as there is talent.

Let your hair reflect your personality, but also the vision and values ​​of the company, if you want to add extra points. Either way, neat and well-groomed hair is always acceptable.

anonymous interviewee


For them, regardless of the sector or work environment, personal hygiene, neat haircuts and a neat presentation is essential. Arrive at the interview Entangled hairwithout combing and with Bad smellIt does influence the hiring decision. Furthermore, as the candidates well know, the hair in fantasy colors and the crazy hairstyles add negative points, especially in the administrative, financial and construction sectors.

Hairstyles for a job interview

Regarding the hairstyles they consider suitable for women, the list includes ponytails, loose hair (as long as it is straight or molded) and high or low buns. Excessive accessories, such as colored clips and barrettes, are not acceptable, as are over-the-top and festive hairstyles, such as loose hair with fringes.

For his part, short hair, with gel and combed back It is considered appropriate for a man. If he has long hair, a ponytail or a bun are the best options to add points in favor. The use of caps and dreadlocksis considered inappropriate, especially within the financial, automotive and healthcare sectors.

And it is that, being on one side of the scale the personal image against the aptitudes and talent, 50% confessed that they have stopped hiring a candidate because of his inappropriate style. These professionals belong to the tourism, administration and health sector, as well as the automotive and marketing sectors.

Interviewer tips for attending a job interview

  • Always go for the classic. Less is more. That your hairstyle is simple and that the hair is clean.
  • If you are a woman, always go with him collected hair and I clean.
  • That your hair reflects your personality, but also the twist and values ​​of the company, if you want to add extra points. Either way, neat and well-groomed hair is always acceptable.

When it comes to making a good impression, hair serves as a visible tool. Although our talent and a CV full of experience are worth gold in an interview, personal image is also a crucial element.

In Mexico, putting your hair up or wearing it straight conveys professionalism and gives a clean and tidy feeling. On the other hand, loose hair and its natural texture can have a negative impact.

Judging by the majority of responses in our surveys across various sectors, professionals will pay more attention to the conversation and take you seriously as long as your style is minimalist, classic and sophisticated. Perhaps, in this case, we are not yet ready to be extravagant and break aesthetic rules, we could give the wrong impression in the workplace.

When it comes to skills, each sector has different expectations. From the perspective of Mexican professionals, a horse taila well-defined cut and the hygiene the right one could be key to getting your desired position.

Tell us your opinion about it at @allthingshairmx. We read you!

The post Combing stories | What does your hair say about you in a job interview? appeared first on All Things Hair Mexico.


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