Beards and burqas and interview performance
A job seeker’s main objective at an interview is to build a trusting relationship with the interviewers, to demonstrate motivation to be part of the team.
Yesterday, I was sitting next to a man with a long beard. He was pleasant, was reasonably well dressed, spoke well and had a good sense of humour. We got chatting and had a pleasant conversation. I don’t know if he was looking for work but I started wondering that, if he were, would his long beard put him at a disadvantage in an interview.
People want to be able to show their individuality but employers want people who are going to fit well into the team. This made me think that if he wanted to be seen as a potential team member, he may have to do a lot more to prove his team-worthiness than someone of more conventional appearance.
Too much jewellery, too much make-up, too much after-shave or deodorant are all well-known no-nos. But what about beards being a bit too long, or shaven heads or dyed hair?
What about Sikhs and others who, for religious reasons, are not allowed to cut any body hair?
What about Muslim women who need to wear the burqa or niqab both of which cover everything but the eyes? How can they build a trusting relationship with employers? And what advice should we give them?