Should I Change My Hair to Get a Job? Pros/Cons

African American looking sideways with hands in hair over colored background

Straight Interview Styles VS Naturally Textured Interview Styles

  So you’ve landed an interview… Great! It’s the night before the big day and you’re staring at your tresses in the mirror thinking: What. To. Do? Should I straighten, or do a curly, natural style? In America’s fashion culture, on occasions where the dress is formal or business related, straight hairstyles are worn to implement a ‘sleek’ or ‘neat’ look. One cannot exist for more than fifteen minutes in an office, ceremonial event, or mainstream media source without seeing a number of people who have chosen to wear straight for the occasion. Interviews are no exception. In an interview, the aim is to present a sophisticated, well put together, and graceful look. No visually distracting colors/hair/clothing/accessories. This could be a bit controversial among curly haired women because it suggests that straight hair is somehow “more appropriate” for such events, and that curlier hair, (especially African American hair) worn in signature styles like “afros”, “twists” and “bantu knots” are seen by the mainstream media as more casual looking (or unprofessional). There is no law stating that an Afro cannot be worn in the workplace (unless of course you are in the military) but I have definitely felt I received a more positive response when my hair was worn straight during an interview. But I love my curls, and raise a powerful fist to anyone who feels they are less “formal” than straight hair. So… what to do?? Here is an objective look at the pros and cons of both styles. Hope this helps!

Straightened Hair Pros & Cons

PROs:

  •  Mainstream Maven

Straight hair would be a conservative, classic, and time-tested style to choose for making a good first impression.

  •  Conform to the Norm

Generally business owners and interviewers tend to accept people who are making the effort to conform to their standards, not yours. Helping the interviewer picture you working there by mimicking the styles you see on the existing employees could be a big plus!

  •  Just One Day

Think of it this way: It’s just one day and one impression (barring any follow-up interviews of course!) IF you get the job, you can wear whatever style you want to wear after this!

CONs:

  • Heated, Tense Discussion

If your hair is not naturally straight, this will call for a significant amount of heat or tension to be applied to your strands. Heat and tension can be damaging if not applied with caution. Some people have hair that damages very easily and may not want to run the risk for a one-day hair style.

  • Weaves/Wigs

Some hair lengths may not support a straight style at all (BC or TWA), or some people just may not have the time or skill to properly straighten their hair. In this case a weave or wig may be employed to create the straight look. Having been an interviewer myself, I know that there is nothing that turns off a person like poorly installed weaves or improperly placed wigs. If the hair it does not look flattering on you, or realistic in its placement, it looks unprofessional.  

Natural Hair Pros & Cons  

Natural Hair PROs:

  • Choices

With straight style there are only so many styles you can do before you start crossing the line between pro and casual. With curly styles – not the case! There are plenty of styles that can be seen as both “natural” and professional in the workplace. There are up do’s, professional looking braided styles, and many choices online that can achieve a professional looking style without the heat.

  • Forget Length, STYLE is EVERYTHING

With a flattering style, the length of curly hair is not really a factor. There is no need to stress about how long curly hair is because it is obviously shrunken in its spiraling path away from your head.

Natural Hair CONs:

  • Styles gone Wild

If you’ve never tried a style before, the night before an interview is the WRONG time to test it out. It could be disastrous, and it’s hard to be confident and competent you don’t want to waste the time and energy that could have been spent prepping for your big day!

  • It’s not Straight

For those of us who ‘went natural’ at work, there is thought to be a stigma with curly afro hair, especially in the work world. And if a woman is not comfortable enough in her natural state to boldly strut her curls, the confidence needed to make a good solid impression will suffer.

Coming Together  

What’s wrong with a Bun?

Simple, elegant, heatless and very “sleek and polished” when styled as such – if the hair is long enough to pull back and bun, go for it! A little bit of conditioner and gel goes a long way! Easy Peazy!  

Time Consuming

Either way, depending on the length of your hair, you may need anywhere from 3-6 hours of time to create a straight look, and this may cut into the time you have to study your interview material, sleep, eat well, or relax before your interview.

Frizz Factor

After all the hard work of straightening or curly styling; if there is rain, high winds or humidity, the need to wear a hat/hood in cold weather, any sweating that happens on the way to the interview, there is a good chance that stressing about, trying to fix, or wishing you could see your potential frizz factor (just to be sure!) may distract you from your primary concerns. This is kind of a no-win factor, unless of course you are able to wear a scarf and pinned curls under a hat all the way up to the interviewer’s office door and duck into the bathroom before the receptionist sees you. (I’ve done it a few times. Works like a charm. Lol )

The Verdict:

All in all an in-person interview allows the interviewer to see if you can “look the part” along with speaking well, and displaying that you can do the job assigned to you. The company only wants what’s best for the company, so keep that in mind – its not personal. Find a style is tried and true for you, allows you to look your best while “playing the part” of the job you desire and go for it! Good luck!

 What do you think ladies? Leave comments below.

[written by Maicurls]


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