Interview Tips for Candidates with Thinning Hair

Interview Tips for Candidates with Thinning Hair

First Impressions
A common problem with losing one’s hair is the worry about first impressions when you meet someone for the first time. People with thinning hair often think that first thing other people see is their hair. In reality this is not true for most first time meetings because (for men), most people notice height, build, voice, self confidence or implied level of ‘importance’, even their perceived wealth, long before they take in your hair.

If you were to meet Bruce Willis or Patrick Stewart, you wouldn’t immediately notice how bald they were, you would simply be pleased to meet two very famous movie stars. Similarly if someone says, I’ll introduce you to the CEO of Hewlett Packard (and I have no idea if he has hair or not), you would be much more interested in what the guy said or thought, than whether he has hair or not.

However an area where people often feel vulnerable or disadvantaged is at a job interview, particularly when other candidates have a good thatch. Unless you are applying for a job as a model or actor, remember that the person interviewing you is looking for your talents not how handsome you are. Admittedly appearances will be taken into consideration in customer facing jobs such as sales reps, reception staff etc., but in most interviews it is how well they think you can do the job that matters.

Let’s face it, many of the people you will be dealing with or selling to, will not have hair either.

Look Good and You’ll Feel Good
When you are going for an interview, enhance the parts of you that look best and spend some money on a really good haircut which really makes your hair look smart. A tatty hairstyle really draws peoples attention to their hair, whereas a close cropped haircut where the hair is carefully tapered into the balding area, not only looks good, but also actually detracts from the fact you have very little hair.

The reason for this is that the human eye is drawn towards imperfections and a sudden contrast between your hair and your hairless area draws the eye, whereas a seamless transition between the two, does not. However do not shave your head, unless you know this suits you, because not everyone has the right shaped head to suit this type of treatment. Having said that, shaved heads or a No. O or No. 1 haircut can look really good on some people.

Distinguished not Extinguished
When your hair is thinning, admittedly this usually makes you look older and also not as ‘pretty’ as you used to be. However it can also make you look mature, experienced, distinguished, managerial, trusted, in control etc. Capitalise upon this and use it to your advantage. Wear a really smart suit, talk with authority, let people know that by employing you, they are getting exactly what they need.

Right Said Fred
Most people at interview say ‘be yourself’. That’s good advice up to a point. Be yourself in terms of your knowledge and experience, and be yourself in areas where you know you come across strongly. BUT in areas where you feel weak or lack confidence, there is a trick you can use to boost your confidence and make a bigger impact.

Just think about how someone you admire would respond.

Think about someone you would like to be like or admire (be realistic, it has to be someone who you can emulate). This may be someone famous, but equally it could be a friend or work colleague you admire (let’s call him Fred) And when you get asked a question in an area you feel weak or you are made to feel uncomfortable, just think.
How would Fred answer that question?
How would Fred walk into the room?
Where would Fred look?
When would Fred pause in that sentence
When would he smile…or would he smile at all?
And answer the questions using your knowledge, but in the same manner as you think Fred would deliver this.

Try it…..say next time you walk into a shop… is easier than you think. Even try copying lines from actors in movies, getting their timing and intonation. Don’t impersonate their voice though! Just their timing and behaviour. But make sure you pick someone appropriate………Anthony Hopkins in “Meet Joe Black” is a good example, but Anthony Hopkins as Hannibal Lechter is not!

Develop Rapport
The other area is rapport. Most people like to be agreed with and employ in their own image. Make sure you get along with the person who is interviewing you. Smile at their jokes, agree with what they think is important and (if you can do this naturally) try to mirror their body position eg legs crossed, arms folded etc. and even the pace at which they talk. These unspoken movements actually help create rapport between you and the interviewer. But be aware…if this feels really uncomfortable, it may be the wrong job for you!

So when you go into the interview, hair or no hair, the interviewer sees a confident, capable, smart person who will fit well into their organisation.

Best of luck and let us know whether you got the job!