Should You Dye Your Hair Black, and Other Discrimination Issues #JobSearch

This weekend I had an interesting dialog on the Execunet LinkedIn Group about what you can or can’t say to job seekers. At one point in the dialog this comment was made:

“…on one hand, everybody’s peddled the mantra of constant personal upgrade and new ever evolving skills, to fit the market requirements. You know, physically as well. Those people dye hair, trying to look younger.”

I’m not going to go into any of the conversation, but this line struck me as interesting.  I’m going to go out on a limb here and say most guys don’t color their hair.  So, when they are at “that age,” and in a job search, and the hair is going to give it away… doesn’t it make sense to color the hair?

So, this is not a blog post where I’m going to tell you what to do. I think YOU need to make your own decision.  Here are two of my opinions, and then I want to hear what you think in the comments.

Jason Alba Opinion 1:  Personally, I wouldn’t recommend it, unless you have always wanted to do it, or if you are doing it for reasons other than the impression during a job search.  In other words, if you are doing it to hide your age, usually in preparation for an interview, then do not do it.  I think it’s like when you look at someone’s LinkedIn Profile, then when you meet them they are twenty years older… there’s just something weird there.

Jason Alba Opinion 2: If you choose to color your hair, for whatever reason, have it done professionally.  Especially if you’ve never done it before. It’s really easy to do this wrong, and have it look horrible.

So… that’s my opinion.  I’m keeping it short because I want YOU to add your comments.

So, what do you think?

5 thoughts on “Should You Dye Your Hair Black, and Other Discrimination Issues #JobSearch”

  1. When I started working for AT&T, there were few layoffs. Then, divestiture came in 1984. I ended in Ameritech which, in 1984, started with 115,000 employees. The low point was 52,000 employees.

    I was prematurely grey at 35 and Ameritech was getting rid of “older” and more expensive employees. I just didn’t want to go there. So I colored my hair professionally until I was 57 years old.

    I considered it career defense. And I always felt younger than what my grey-haired self looked like. Today as well, even though I am 100% grey and no longer color my hair.

    It is obviously a personal choice. But if you act old, regardless of the color of your hair, you’re viewed as old. Not a good perception in the workplace.

  2. Scott, this is great insight. Thank you for weighing in and sharing. I like hat you are saying about how it made you feel, which I’m sure impacted your career.

  3. I graduated with my electrical engineering degree at 39 years old. My school had a program where you signed up for interviews and it was automatic that you would get an interview. After 15 interviews and no offers my wife suggested I color my hair. 2 more interviews and I received a good offer. The probability that hair color was not a factor is statistically insignificant.

  4. I am 62 now … but back in my day, it seemed there was discrimination in nationality and skin color. Imagine thinking about changing your hair color because you can .. but don’t have the option in your skin color and continue to face discrimination.

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