Songs from the musical Hair have been going through my mind recently. Yes, it’s an oldie, and not even one of my favorites, but it is unavoidable. I try to keep current on job search literature, and for some reason, the topic of hair has come up a few times lately.
So, what does hair have to do with finding a job?
In terms of your CV, a big debate exists regarding whether it is a good idea to include your picture: http://jobsearchinisrael.blogspot.com/2010/11/women-should-not-include-their-picture.html.
Clearly, in the context of an interview, the job candidate needs to present a clean and professional image, and your hair is part of the picture that you create. An interview is generally not the time to make a fashion statement about uniqueness – except for in the rare instance, your objective must be to portray a person that will fit in – and unkempt hair, wrinkled clothes, or an overabundance of rings hanging from various parts of your face generates a less than desirable impression.
Regarding hair specifically, what’s better though, curly or straight, up or down, long or short, facial hair or clean shaven? Search the web, and you can read for hours on this subject.
For people that fit into the “elderly” end of the job seeking crowd, removing the gray from your hair and/or updating the style is one of the suggested ways to come across stronger, or at least younger and more vital. I am probably less style conscious than the average person walking down the street, but for the life of me I can’t imagine how one style of hair can make a more positive impression than another (assuming the length is within the norm and it is evenly cut), but apparently there may be something to this. I spoke to my three sons, ages 15, 13, and 10 about hair styles, and I was subjected to long explanations about “moikan”, “spitzim”, and “modregote “ – it seems their strategy is to get the strangest haircuts that they can without crossing the line and getting kicked out of their religious schools. Needless to say, if you want to try to understand this subject better, I suggest that you should look for assistance outside the Machol family males.
Now I come to the part of this article that is not for the squeamish: woman’s hair styles. For some time now at Israemploy, I have a part in translating some job listings from Hebrew to English. I am not sure how many men are aware of what seems to occur in a woman’s beauty parlor, but if the job descriptions are anything to go by, there is a lot of waxing, pulling, and twisting going on. As a small example, you can read this article which discusses a new beauty procedure and its relation to employment: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704461304576216470789970688.html?mod=dist_smartbrief. I turned to my wife for this part of my research to try to get a better understanding. She is someone that makes me skip over the violent parts of movies. Yet, after hearing less than a minute of her describing what she has paid people to do to her in such a salon, the music from Hair is immediately replaced in my head by the much more appropriate sounds from Little House of Horrors!
I heard an interesting story recently which describes a particular hair and job interview combination which must be unique to Israel. Someone told me that a young religious friend of hers went on a number of interviews with a head covering, and she was consistently asked how many children she intended to have (nor was she getting called back for a second interview). So, this friend decided for her next interview to wear a wig instead, and voilà, no question about the number of planned offspring and ultimately a job offer was extended to her.
I guess that hair can have a real impact in the recruitment process in some cases. I now consider myself lucky that I was born with curly hair that looks the same before and after combing. For those of you not so fortunate, maybe applying some Grease will solve the problem – as long as it doesn’t make you look like a throwback from another age.