What’s the Tress Code?


Interview Question: Do you wear your hair up or down?

Dear “Splitting Hairs,”

I myself have been wearing a stylish high bun long before Kim Kardashian popularized the hair donut. But I’m equal opportunity when it comes to hair. The loose curled hairstyle on the model (left) or the upswept ’do on the right are both winning looks for an interview.

Interview HairBe sure to tame any bedhead on the big day. If your mane tends to look unruly (or if it’s a particularly humid day), wearing your hair up may project a more professional image. Now don’t go overboard with an elaborate updo – you’re going to an interview, not a wedding! Save the milkmaid braids or Princess Leia buns for the Renaissance Fair and Comic-Con.

While I support the right to self-expression by hair, you don’t want your faux-hawk or dreads to distract the interviewer from your impressive résumé. Perhaps it’s best to wait until your down time to put your hair up if you have a curious undercut. Now is not the time to shave a new design into your hair; make sure your hair tattoo has grown out before the big interview. Hats, ball caps, fascinators and kerchiefs should be avoided (religious headwear such as hijabs and yarmulkes are the exception). While Baby Boomers dying their gray hairs may increase their marketability, coloring hair in shades not available in nature may decrease an applicant’s appeal.Lincoln-man-bun

Guys, I have to say that I’m not a fan of the man-bun. Call me old-fashioned, but remember that some interviewers may share my beliefs. I concur with Fast Company’s photo blog title, Try Taking These World Leaders Seriously When They Have Man-Buns.

Follow my three simple rules for interview hair:

  • Make sure it’s clean.
  • Avoid distracting hairstyles.
  • Verify it fits the company’s culture.

Check out my Pinterest board Tressed for Success for visual inspiration, and for cautionary tales, peruse the pins on A Hair Out of Place.

Hiring Managers: Voice your opinions on interview hair below.

Do you have a job-related question? Ask Anita.

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Dress for Success
Addressing the Dress Code
Hiding the Gray on Your Résumé (and Beyond)
Tattoos & Interviews

5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Todd Hicks
    Apr 21, 2016 @ 02:49:30

    A man-bun looks funny.


  2. Janice
    Apr 19, 2016 @ 09:16:37

    When it comes to work I like sitting down where can I find me a job during clerical I have not work in three years and call the temp services every two weeks can you give me some ideas on how to get a job or look for the right people.


  3. Janice
    Apr 19, 2016 @ 09:12:54

    I read your post about hairstyle what is the best hair s who just want to hang around the house or have company or just go for a walk in the park.


    • anitaclew
      Apr 19, 2016 @ 15:53:31

      Janice, I keep my advice related to the workplace! Consult your hairdresser (or Pinterest) for ideas for “off-duty” hairstyles.


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Anita Clew's blog posts are intended for general guidance and should never be taken as legal advice. In all instances where harassment, inequity, or unfair treatment is believed to be present, please consult your HR Department or legal representation.
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