Beard or no beard? Give me your opinion.

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Looking for advice in Louisville, Kentucky

45 months ago

I just finished reading the book "Blink" by Malcolm Gladwell (very interesting book). One of his theses is that people make snap decisions that are colored by sometimes unknown and unintended stereotypes they hold. Although he theorizes that snap decisions (gut feel) are often as good or better than the well-researched decisions these can often be clouded by the stereotypes we hold. It is a well-documented fact that many of us have unfavorable impressions and stereotypes of black males (yes I did say many of us). My concern is what kind of stereotypes walk into an interview with me.

Given that here is my dilemma. I am a large (6'2" 240 lbs) African American male in my 50s. I am educated and have great management experience so I have been able to land a few good management interviews on the basis of my resume. Friends and family have told me more than a few times that because of my dark skin, my size, and my sharp features that when clean-shaven, I "look mean and somewhat intimidating." I usually wear a full well groomed slightly gray beard. However whenever I have an interview I cut off my beard for a more professional look and to somewhat disguise my age. So here is the question my wife and I are discussing;

Should I continue with the clean-cut professional look that makes me look younger but mean (some might say dangerous)? Or should I wear my beard, which gives me a softer yet older look?

Be honest. Which look would you hire for a management position all other things being equal? I am just trying to make sure I put forth the best presentation as possible.

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No beard in Manchester, Connecticut

45 months ago

Looking for advice in Louisville, Kentucky said: I just finished reading the book "Blink" by Malcolm Gladwell (very interesting book). One of his theses is that people make snap decisions that are colored by sometimes unknown and unintended stereotypes they hold. Although he theorizes that snap decisions (gut feel) are often as good or better than the well-researched decisions these can often be clouded by the stereotypes we hold. It is a well-documented fact that many of us have unfavorable impressions and stereotypes of black males (yes I did say many of us). My concern is what kind of stereotypes walk into an interview with me.

Given that here is my dilemma. I am a large (6'2" 240 lbs) African American male in my 50s. I am educated and have great management experience so I have been able to land a few good management interviews on the basis of my resume. Friends and family have told me more than a few times that because of my dark skin, my size, and my sharp features that when clean-shaven, I "look mean and somewhat intimidating." I usually wear a full well groomed slightly gray beard. However whenever I have an interview I cut off my beard for a more professional look and to somewhat disguise my age. So here is the question my wife and I are discussing;

Should I continue with the clean-cut professional look that makes me look younger but mean (some might say dangerous)? Or should I wear my beard, which gives me a softer yet older look?

Be honest. Which look would you hire for a management position all other things being equal? I am just trying to make sure I put forth the best presentation as possible.

No Beard

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MirrorWW2 in Coralville, Iowa

45 months ago

Looking for advice in Louisville, Kentucky said: I just finished reading the book "Blink" by Malcolm Gladwell (very interesting book). One of his theses is that people make snap decisions that are colored by sometimes unknown and unintended stereotypes they hold. Although he theorizes that snap decisions (gut feel) are often as good or better than the well-researched decisions these can often be clouded by the stereotypes we hold. It is a well-documented fact that many of us have unfavorable impressions and stereotypes of black males (yes I did say many of us). My concern is what kind of stereotypes walk into an interview with me.

Given that here is my dilemma. I am a large (6'2" 240 lbs) African American male in my 50s. I am educated and have great management experience so I have been able to land a few good management interviews on the basis of my resume. Friends and family have told me more than a few times that because of my dark skin, my size, and my sharp features that when clean-shaven, I "look mean and somewhat intimidating." I usually wear a full well groomed slightly gray beard. However whenever I have an interview I cut off my beard for a more professional look and to somewhat disguise my age. So here is the question my wife and I are discussing;

Should I continue with the clean-cut professional look that makes me look younger but mean (some might say dangerous)? Or should I wear my beard, which gives me a softer yet older look?

Be honest. Which look would you hire for a management position all other things being equal? I am just trying to make sure I put forth the best presentation as possible.

Blink was a great book wasn't it! And I'd probably vote for a bit of beard - not huge and busy though, but a bit to soften/age your face a bit sounds like it'd work. Good luck with everything!

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Grant013 in Astoria, New York

45 months ago

With the rampant age discrimination going on I would get rid of the beard. As you say the clean shaven look makes you appear harsh, how about a neatly groomed moustache? Isn't that kind of in the middle?

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Fender58 in Richmond, Virginia

45 months ago

I think it depends on the company you're applying to. If it appears that they have a young culture, then, sure, shave the beard and work on softening the facial expressions (if that makes sense). If it appears that your prospective employer has an "older" or more mature culture, then I dont' think there's anything wrong with a neatly groomed beard.

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Matthew in Fort Worth, Texas

45 months ago

No beard - good luck & God Bless.

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ResumeGuy in Boise, Idaho

44 months ago

A clean cut look is always a good conservative approach. Getting the job will have more to do with how you interview than whether or not you have a beard. With or without the beard, make sure you smile and have good eye contact. Having said that, to answer your question specifically, I vote No Beard.

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Raghuram-HR MNC APAC in Madras, India

44 months ago

One fact remains unchanged. In a clean shaven look, one's smile is obvious and instantly noticed. whereas a Mush hides that Lip movement on top. hence the individual needs to do an extra gesture to make the Smile obvious. (without overdo). Even a agressive situation is brought down by clean shaven face that adds this pleasing soothening non-intimidating convincing profile.This factor apart from other qualities. Howver this does not stop to try retaining the Mush as Mush has always been a Male luxury in nature. This goes well provided it shows the upper lining of the lip well to audience. Otherwise it fades the smile's effect and no assurance the audience notices our exact expression. So a bushy Mush of a walrus can be avoided unelss soemone has an expression on the Eye liek Einstein. Beard is something too much a luxury if used to it, the individual gets a fix on it. in due course it dictates you as the personality and hides the individual. This does not match anyone otherthan a saint or soemone by profession in teaching. Above all these, one's own confidence on subject matter and freeness to transact is the key/

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Dejected1 in Tempe, Arizona

44 months ago

I vote for no beard. I think it makes someone look like they are trying to hide something. Also, mustaches are really dated.

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Looking for advice in Louisville, Kentucky

44 months ago

Thanks for the replies but I think many may have missed my point. Although I agree a clean cut look is best in most situations, I am asking for your opinion based on the perceptions of BLACK MEN in professional and management situations. My reason for considering a beard is to give a softer edge to my appearance. Please re-read my original post.

This is an anonymous board so please be honest in your response. I am truly interested in your perceptions. It would also be helpful if you identified your race.

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Dejected1 in Tempe, Arizona

44 months ago

Well, I am caucasian and I've just always never liked facial hair on anyone. I always think a clean cut appearance is better (but this is only my preference).

If YOU think you look better (and some people do, for instance, some who have double chins) with facial hair then that is what's important.

Having said all of this, I'd go for whatever makes you look YOUNGER.

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Dejected1 in Tempe, Arizona

44 months ago

You can soften your "meanness" in other ways. The right tie, the right color shirt, the right smile, the right demeanor.

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Looking for advice in Louisville, Kentucky

44 months ago

Younger is always good (I hate to admit I have resorted to dying my beard) but I am afraid some people may not be able to get past there perceptions when I am clean cut and "dangerous looking." In fact many may not even know they have these perceptions. That is one of the premises of the book I mentioned.

I am very meticulous about the clothes I wear in an interview situation but I don't think that is a real solution in this case.

Thanks for your input.

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ping123 in Phoenix, Arizona

43 months ago

Some people look better in beard (like my college advisor). It gives impression of maturity and wisdom. Of course, it could be perceived as old.

I personally vote for no beard. It's very seldom for beard to work in your favor.

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bigby25 in Dallas, Texas

42 months ago

Mr. T looks mean and intimidating... but his smile is what gained him so much popularity. I'm 40, and don't grow a beard because it has gray in it. Rock the clean look, smile and knock them dead with your experience, confidence and charm. From the perspective of a white MBA who has been interviewing for similar jobs for the past 8 months, I'm pretty sure your race is not holding up the process... It's a DANG TOUGH job market out there.

I hate to sound like your mom, but you can do all you can to look good on the outside but can lose the deal if you don't have inner confidence and belief that you are good enough for the job. Sounds like you have the external category taken care of. Get back to work on the internal stuff... without the beard.

Best of luck to you!

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Leroy Brown in Berkeley, California

15 months ago

Looking for advice in Louisville, Kentucky said: Thanks for the replies but I think many may have missed my point. Although I agree a clean cut look is best in most situations, I am asking for your opinion based on the perceptions of BLACK MEN in professional and management situations. My reason for considering a beard is to give a softer edge to my appearance. Please re-read my original post.

This is an anonymous board so please be honest in your response. I am truly interested in your perceptions. It would also be helpful if you identified your race.

In your situation I would say the beard should stay. You said you usually ware it anyways. The first thing I think of when I think of black men and shaving is razor bumps. That is my honest stereotype. That being said, the point of shaving is to not look disheveled. This can be achieved with or with out facial hair. As long as you look like you care and aren't going to die of old age I think you'll be fine. Go Cards!!!!

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Sketchimus in Texas

8 months ago

I don't think anyone can predict if your boss is going to be racist.... I would recommend you shave. Intensity and aggressiveness make better growth tendencies than distinguished. And if he's racist he might also discriminate against you for the evidence of age a full grey beard conveys. Good luck.

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Willie in New York, New York

6 months ago

Hi. I'm a Hispanic that's also dark skinned, educated, 240lbs standing at 6'2" and have been contemplating the same question...after reading many of the responses to your question, I am further convinced that projection is what matters. In other words, without seeing exactly how you look with and without the beard, one can't readily hand out a valuable opinion. Nothing matters except how you're projecting yourself. The fact that you have facial hair may be a plus because it seems that you're in your natural comfort zone when you do as it's already in your mindset that you are "mean" when you don't. Also, many of the experiences I've had in these regards have led me to believe that ultimately, being "kept" is all that is required. Whether you have a beard or not, what will ultimately sink in are your words in relation to your image. Whether you're clean cut or not, if you come off as say arrogant, angry, condescending, narcissistic, etc, it will not matter much how much effort you've made to look the part. I would also say that your age and work roles have probably shaped your stance a bit in terms of how the world perceives you...this goes for anyone and everyone...

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name in Glendora, California

5 months ago

I am currently faced with the, "do I shave my year beard for job interviews?" problem. If they care, the job is more important than the beard but if they don't care i lose a year of beard for nothing.

anywho ... i came across this thread and felt the urge to illustrate your point ... literally.

postimg.org/image/v3g4zu6gz/

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caldas_felipe@yahoo.com.br in Guarulhos, Brazil

4 months ago

My dear friend. Why you are asking people you dont know if you should wear a beard? Do what you like. Listem to your guts, obviously.

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wilmatrix in Deerfield Beach, Florida

4 months ago

caldas_felipe@yahoo.com.br in Guarulhos, Brazil said: My dear friend. Why you are asking people you dont know if you should wear a beard? Do what you like. Listem to your guts, obviously.

Dear Felipe,

I think asking people you know will actually get you the kind of responses you DON'T want, which are responses designed to satisfy the the person asking. However, to ask strangers in an employment based setting, gets you a variety of responses on debate form which leads to a more open view and analysis of the question...even if it's as simple as a beard question, lol...I think he got the job...lol

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Khan in India

18 hours ago

Dude Hope all r doing well as felipe said dont go for people's openion do wht ever u can

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