As I’m sure you’ve noticed, beards have become popular again. I’m not complaining – in fact my beard is at a very respectable length, and will remain so until at least the first true day of summer (beard + sweating = real bad). What I find weird about the beard’s resurgence in popularity, though, is that there still seems to be a generally negative stigma — especially in the workforce — around beards. Based on nearly no research whatsoever, I feel like if given one clean-shaven job candidate and one bearded job candidate who are otherwise equal, an employer would choose the clean-shaven person. Unless the employer is the Duck Dynasty crew, in which case they’ll obviously pick the candidate who’s the most white and homophobic.
I think we need to update this viewpoint. And I’m not saying that it shouldn’t matter whether or not the person has facial hair (as long as they’re not women, amiright?*). I’m saying that when given the option between two dudes, the bearded one is the clear winner. Now before I explain myself, I need to give a huge disclaimer that if you have a gnarly metal beard this doesn’t apply. There’s a base level of personal hygiene that I’m taking into account.
Anyways, here’s why the bearded guy is the better pick:
It takes a lot more to keep a beard looking tight than throwing some shaving cream on your face and absentmindedly slashing about with your turbo Mach 8-blade razor (with aftershave dispenser!) for a minute. You have to:
Shampoo (at the very least condition)
Then trim (gotta get those random hairs sticking out at odd angles in check!)
And finally, comb throughout the day. I look down a lot (when playing my 3DS, reading a book, and from general lack of self-confidence), and that kinda bunches up my beard, so it’s important to periodically use a pocket comb and straighten that jazz out
When you’re clean-shaven, making yourself look presentable is easy. You throw on a slightly wrinkled buttoned-down shirt, some slacks, pair of penny loafers, and yeah, you’re interview ready. You probably won’t get the job (at least iron the shirt, and penny loafers? Really!?), but at least you look presentable. If you’re a bearded gent, showing up to an interview means tie.
As the the great philosopher Ashton Kutcher once said, “The scruffier your beard, the sharper you need to dress.” I mean, this is the guy who once said “You know, photo conversations are replacing verbal conversations. I don’t know if that’s a bad thing. A photo is worth a thousand words,” so clearly this dude knows what’s up. The point is that it takes more effort to be presentable. So when you see a well put-together bearded person, you know they’re a hard worker, with an attention to detail.
When you have a beard, you tend to learn how to deal with different situations. “Hey, you must love Duck Dynasty!” is a comment that gets thrown at you a lot. And responding diplomatically to that comment (i.e. not punching that person in the face) takes a lot. TRUST ME. But beyond that, you have a lot more attention that gets thrown your way. You stand out in crowds. People will openly stare. Other people, who are definitely not at the familiarity level to warrant this, will straight up go in and molest your beard. Beard to God, a woman once asked and proceeded to kiss my beard (yes, it was as awkward and uncomfortable as it sounds).
A bearded person has perfected grace under pressure. He’s able to deflect awkward comments with a bearded grin and a nod. Or he’s got a gnarly metal beard and he’ll go apeshit on you, but that’s kinda your fault for inquiring about the appearance of a gnarly metal dude. He’ll also have more confidence, as it’s been known since Viking times that manly strength is mostly derived in the beard. Plus, if the job is for a client-based industry, you’ll know that awkward lapses in conversation will be few and far between, as a beard is most certainly a conversation starter.
At the end of the day, what I’m saying is that a man’s facial hair should not be a factor when it comes to hiring. And if it has to be a factor, it should be a positive one. When done correctly, a beard is a statement of manliness that takes more effort, attention to detail, and that certain je ne sais quoi that trumps a clean-shaven face any day of the week (actually, I do sais quoi. it’s balls. It takes balls). But whether or not you agree with me on that point, I think we can all agree that anything is better than a Fu Manchu.
*If it isn’t obvious, that’s a joke. Yes, I know that some people do still have that point of view. No, I’m not one of them.