TONE IT DOWN, TYNAN! Should I Lose My Wild Hair (And My Individuality) For My Upcoming Interview?

It’s 2013. Are we really still letting the color of someone’s hair dictate how well they can do their job?
Publish date:
August 15, 2013
haircuts, interviews, job interviews, color treated hair

Today I come to you, not with beauty advice, but more so, looking for your advice. That’s right! Hold on tight because I’m turning the tables.

For the past year or two, I’ve been lucky enough to work in an environment where I can basically look however I want, as long as I look, you know, nice. I never really pushed any boundaries because it’s not like I’m walking around looking like a member of the Insane Clown Posse or anything, but the nail polish never raised any eyebrows and if I wanted to mess with my hair, no one cared. I always valued working in that kind of environment because I realize that not everyone gets to.

But lately I’ve been sending a lot of resumes out, which means that (hopefully) I’ll be interviewing around again. Knowing this, you’d think that I wouldn’t really do anything drastic to my look, right?

Knowing me, what do YOU think?

Well, like I told you, I changed my hair a little. OK, a lot. A week or two ago, my hairstylist suggested that we go all pastel with my hair. I sort of let him get away with whatever he wants because he tells me I’m the “fun client.” And how can I say no to that? I don’t want to not be the fun client anymore! You can’t take that away from me!

And besides, after the way this summer has played out, I’ve been sort of angry at the world and adopted more of a “fuck it” attitude than usual (omg sorry, darkness). So, I let him do it. Well, let’s be honest, I told him to do it, I’m not trying to deflect blame for my unadvisable/amazing hair.

Cut to three days later, I landed an interview scheduled for next week. Yay!

And then I remembered my hair.

This is a classic case of me testing the gods thinking “If I make myself look as unemployable as possible, that’s when the interviews will start rolling in.”

So obviously, my next step is to frantically text my hairstylist to see if he can squeeze me in before midweek next week and take me from My Little Pony hair to looking like a normal, relatable, employable grown man.

Right? That’s what I should do, isn’t it?

Let me state for the record that I am very excited about this interview and really don’t actually give a shit about my hair. But the hair itself isn’t my issue here. Read on.

I'll start out by saying that I know how to play the game, and I am fine with doing so. I know that you can’t walk in to an interview with 30 colors in your hair and expect to be taken seriously when you’re competing with a slew of intelligent people just like yourself, many that will be more qualified than you, all of them looking more, shall we say, nonthreatening. I get it.

But I just don’t know that I buy that anymore! Is it me? Have I been in a casual work environment for too long? Have I inhaled too many nail polish fumes and let them rot my brain? I keep thinking, it’s 2013. Are we really still letting the color of someone’s hair dictate how well they can do their job?

Seriously, that’s not rhetorical. I’m asking you.

And I should probably lose the nail polish too, right?

I suppose I should note that it’s not your typical desk job. It’s a, let’s call it a promotions position for, oh I don’t know, a radio station (it’s a promotions position for a radio station.) So it’s not like I’m busting into an attorney’s office with a blue mohawk asking “WHEN DO I START?” If anything, I feel like it would be one job that wouldn’t care if you messed with your hair.

And let’s be clear. This isn’t about my hair. I can dye it back to brown in my bathroom sink or buzz it all off or anything else and I’d be fine. This isn’t about wanting to look like Rainbow Brite when I should look like Clark Kent. And it’s not about expressing myself either, because honestly, I don’t have anything interesting to say. I just thought it'd be cool to have light pink hair for a minute.

It's just, if I've got a great resume (which I do) and I give a great interview (which I do), then what's the point of dyeing my hair back? I'm still the guy that dyed his hair candy colors two weeks prior, and I'm still going to be that guy after they hire me. Keep in mind that I work in a very populated bar where all of this stuff still flies, so do I start some double life shit? Is going to be only on weekends now that I mess with my hair and paint my nails? (and that's assuming that I even get the job.) How much of yourself do you sacrifice to be hireable?

But what if I was interviewing someone, let’s say a guy my age, a little scrumptious piece like me. If he waltzed into my corner office looking laced up proper in a nice suit and wingtips and the whole nine yards, and just so happened to have multicolored hair, I wouldn’t bat an eye. I’d think he was confident and intelligent and able to think for himself. Is that wrong? Am I being naïve? (Me? Never.)

I know I should “fix” it, and probably I will. We have really hard water in Madison anyway, so it’s already beat a lot of the color out of it, which I suppose will only help my situation.

But, where are we at here, guys? I know all of you readers work in a ton of different, super diverse work environments. What's the average consensus across the board? That's what I'm most interested in. How acceptable is all of this in your office? How much are you able to pull off at work without getting side-eyed by HR or your boss or whoever?

What would you do? I want to hear from everyone. Have you ever gone into an interview with wild hair? Have you ever interviewed someone with brightly colored hair, and if so, did it deter you from hiring them? I know some of you have voiced opinions on this subject before, so tell me! What should I do? Would you hire ME? (God, knowing what you all know, probably not.) I should probably just bite the bullet and get rid of it right? After all, I’m about that paycheck life, my hair, and my pride, can totally take a backseat.

GIVE ME ADIVCE ON TWITTER @TynanBuck and if you happen to be the person who is interviewing me next week and have come across this article by Googling me, please forget about it in its entirety, thank you.