I recently participated in a few zoom interviews for a few different positions. Since they were all via zoom, I didn’t have to worry much about what I was wearing on the lower half. As I wrote in this post about preparing for a video interview, you should focus on how your upper body looks. I chose to wear blouses and blazers for those interviews. But what about your hair? Have you considered how to wear your hair for an interview?
Know Your Industry
It’s funny, I do always think about how to wear my hair in my industry. You see, in my industry, I don’t really blend in. I have been told “you don’t look like you have a Ph.D., you’re too pretty, you’re too stylish.” I’m not saying this, other people tell me this. So, to be completely honest, even though I personally think this is a bit sexist, I try to tone down my femininity. One way I can do this is by wearing my hair in as conservative a manner as possible.
So before I tell you that you should only rock a high or low bun, there’s a catch. What I do want to state is that how to wear your hair for an interview will likely depend a lot on the type of industry for which you’re interviewing. I work in a conservative industry. Most of the women I work with do not dress in a body-conscious way. They rarely wear makeup, and they definitely don’t look overly stylish or put together. Of course, there are exceptions. There are many women who are well dressed, care about how they look, and do look feminine. But there are many that do not.
Be Aware of How People Perceive You
Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about how people perceive me in my industry. I am not the ‘norm’ in my industry, so I do have to tone down my look and my femininity. I also stand-out more than the average woman because I’m 5’9″ without heels. With heels, I’m 6″. My height and my overall look can be intimidating to people, I realize that. I’m also a very direct person, which just adds to the intimidation.
Now I hope you don’t misunderstand me. I completely do not think that my looks, my height or my directness make me threatening or intimidating. If I were a man, these are things I wouldn’t even have to consider. But as a woman, I do. All of this is to say, how to wear your hair for an interview is just another thing I have to consider to ensure I tone down the intimidation factor.
How to Wear Your Hair for an Interview: your First Interview
So here’s what I do. I recently had four different interviews for one position. There are many stages to the interview process when you advance in your career like I have. The first round was a video interview with roughly 10 people. Due to COVID, everyone is still working from home, so I had a video filled with lots of different faces. For that interview, I styled my hair with a very low ponytail so they couldn’t tell what my hair was like. It was completely out of my face and brushed tightly back into a low ponytail.
I personally think a low ponytail or a low bun is the best choice for a first interview. I personally think it is not only very professional and conservative, it is the best way to tone down femininity. Again, this decision really does depend a lot on your industry. If you’re unsure how people in your industry dress or style their hair, I’d opt for more conservative. If you work in a creative industry, then I’d highly suggest you consider something more creative.
How to Style Your Hair for a Second Interview
For my second interview, I chose to wear my hair down. I did large wavy curls. I personally think when I wear my hair straight it just looks like I put a lot less effort into my hair than if I wear it with wavy curls. Because my hair is darker brown right now, it still looked professional, but I did allow them to see more of my femininity this time around.
My main reason for going more conservative first and then easing up the second time around was intentional. I wanted to make sure I got the second interview, that’s why their first impression of me was conservative. Then, the second time around, they can get a better sense of who I really am. I also dressed less conservative the second time. Since this is via zoom, I was even a little more casual than I would be for an in-person interview.
Choose a Low-Maintenance Style
No matter what you choose, just make sure you’re not constantly touching or playing with your hair during the interview. On my recent second interview, I caught myself touching my hair to brush it out of my face too many times. I personally think that is super distracting during an interview. In hindsight, I should have worn it up or half-up. That’s what I would do the next time around. Once you have the job, you can wear your hair however you like. These tips are just to ensure you keep progressing in the interview process.
How to wear your hair for an interview depends on a lot of things. Mostly, you just need to know your industry and how people perceive you in your industry. Once you know that, you’ll know what’s appropriate. I have very long hair right now. For me, I know that long hair is perceived as ultra-feminine in an industry that is not very feminine. So, I try to tone all of that down by wearing it up. But if you have short hair or shoulder-length hair, I think you can definitely opt for other options. Wearing it down or half-up is probably a great option for you too.