The Ultimate Guide to the Perfect Interview Hairstyles

By Chelsea Jackson on March 19, 2017

It’s stressful to prepare for an interview. From thoroughly researching the company to formulating quality questions, it’s hectic — and that doesn’t account for all the time you need to take to get mentally prepared and dressed for an interview.

After organizing all your paperwork into a padfolio, putting on your suit (or blazer), and eating a hearty breakfast, it’s easy to get distracted by all the details. You’ve likely even driven to your interview destination worrying that you’ve forgotten something. While we all allocate time to dress properly for an interview, oftentimes our hairstyle ends up as an afterthought. Beyond making sure you have clean and tidy hair, your hairstyle is arguably just as important as your interview attire.

A study conducted in 2015 by Social Psychological and Personality Science explains that people who wear formal business attire can have increased abstract thinking than those who wear more casual garments. Increased abstract thinking improves long-term strategic thinking and reasoning, which can commonly make a person feel more powerful and in terms more confident.

While part of a successful interview is being well prepared prior to the meeting, it can be argued that an interview cannot be truly successful unless the interviewee is confident and comfortable. Although it may be easy to compile a suitable interview outfit (even if you have to change several times to discover the perfect outfit), your interview hairstyle could play a part in your rejection letter.

It may seem superficial to be rejected from a potential job offer based on your appearance, let alone your hair; however, a study done by Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital elaborates that a person can judge your credibility based merely on your appearance within a quarter of a second.

It should be general knowledge that hygiene is one of the key components to a successful interview and your hair shouldn’t be ignored in that hygiene regimen. Because your interview day look is so important, it is best to get the right hairdo for your interview. Because there are hundreds of applicable hairstyles for both men and women, it can get a bit confusing to decide which one is the best option for you.

Interview Hairstyles for Women

Senior stylist at Cutler Salon in New York City, Franco Della Grazia, told ELLE that there are benefits to both curly and straight hair in a professional setting. The article explains that women with straight hair are typically perceived as being more serious than women with wavy hair. However, women with curly hair are seen as more trustworthy, because they are often seen as professional doers.

Whether you decide to wear your hair straight, curly, or somewhere in between, it’s vital that your hair is well maintained. Regardless, it is important that you keep your hair from covering much of your face. Hiding your face during an interview, whether it’s with your hand or your luscious locks, can cause the interviewer(s) to perceive you as an untrustworthy individual. Thankfully, there are many ways to keep your hair from blocking your face during your big day.

Short Hair

Though some might think short hair doesn’t take much effort to style, it can be different to figure out the appropriate amount of product to create an interview-ready hairstyle.

While spiking your short tufts might attract some negative reactions from a hiring manager, you can still use mousse and gels to create a subdued pixie haircut. You can also rock a stylish pompadour hairstyle. A pompadour is a very versatile hairstyle and can suit straight, wavy, and curly hair.

In addition to the pompadour, buzz cuts and completely shaved heads also commend both curly and straight hair types. Additionally, buzz cuts require little to no maintenance, and they flatter virtually any outfit choice.

Medium-Length Hair

If you have straight hair, or you are willing to straighten your hair, you can easily display a well-kept bob on the day of your interview.

Although classic bob haircuts might complement curly hair as well, there are some professional styles that benefit medium length curly hair. For example, a low flip-ponytail can help keep the body of your curls without requiring extensive work.

Long Hair

The best method to creating professional-looking long hair, for straight hair, is to style it in an updo. Whether you choose to don a sleek ponytail, a low-hanging bun, or a top knot, putting your hair up both keeps your hair out of the way and makes it look business-chic. Below is an example of a low-hanging chignon, which is a bun made by arranging sections of your hair into two or more coils.

If you have naturally wavy hair (or if you choose to curl your hair), you can also use a high ponytail to create a fuss-free interview hairstyle. However, you should eliminate excessive flyaway hairs, as they can accentuate any misplaced sections of hair. Below are some great examples for wavy and curly hair updos.

Plus, you can have the best of both worlds by showcasing a partial updo. Simply pin the front portions of your hair back to create a comfortable and professional look. Not only will this prevent your hair from falling in front of your eyes, it will also help control some of your beautiful curls.

Likewise, you can create some additional volume in your updos with braids and twists. Plus, you can construct the perfect loose top knot. After all, curls are perfect for any professional setting.

It is also important to note that you should be comfortable with your hairstyle. If you are too worried about a strand being out of place, you may start fussing with it during your interview, which can be quite distracting to the interviewer(s).

To ensure that you are completely comfortable with your interview hair style, try crafting your go-to do a few days prior. Make sure you go out with your beautifully professional hair to see if it stays managed and wearable, without causing too much hassle. Granted, your interview wouldn’t likely take all day so it won’t be a time-consuming endeavor to find your ideal style.

Hairstyles for Men

While it might seem as though men can only choose between short and even shorter hairstyles in order to be business professional, this simply is not the case. Men do have many short haircuts available to them, from taper cuts to a short or medium pompadour. However, men also have the option to keep their longer locks for an interview.

Though most employers are accustomed to interviewing men with shorter hairstyles, longer hairstyles for men have become popular in the past couple of years. While some more traditional companies might be caught off guard by an interviewee’s messy long hair or misshapen man-bun, there are a few styles that can help transmute your mane into something interview-efficient.

Like longer hairstyles for women, your hair should also refrain from obstructing your face. Slicking back your hair with some kind of product can help prevent this from happening and keep the volume in your hair.

Regardless of what job you are interviewing for, finding the right haircut for you will ultimately help you look more professional. However, if you would rather save time styling your hair the morning of your interview, you can always opt for a wig or a hair piece. If you were planning on using heat to style your locks, a wig will also prevent you from damaging your natural hair.

Despite who you are, what texture hair your have, or what your credentials are, your hairstyle should always feel comfortable and look professional. After all, first impressions are invaluable in a professional setting, and anyone can painlessly make a judgment based on your outfit or hairstyle within seconds.

I live in Iowa now, but I was born and raised in Florida. When I'm not writing, I'm probably drawing or cooking.

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