Forego the Facial Hair?

I'm not gonna lie - I've got a pretty sick beard.

None of the scraggly B.S -- we're talking thick, we're talkin' rich... like if Jack Dorsey and Bryce Harper and a baby that was a beard. (before, of course, Bryce shaved).

But when I watch CNBC, other than the aforementioned Mr. Dorsey, I never see these Wall Street guys with aggressive beards, so my question is... is there a beard-protocol when interviewing for Summer Associate position? If I have this massive mound of hair on my face, am I gonna come across as too cocky? Too lumber-jackey? Or am I stupid to worry about this?

Comments (50)

Jul 5, 2018

You

    • 6
Jul 5, 2018

As long as it's neat, go for it. Projects confidence.

Jul 5, 2018

If well kept, it'll set you apart. That's (almost) never a bad thing.

Jul 5, 2018

I'm in the same situation. In my view, a lot has changed in the past ten years or so. Blankfein grew a beard, the guy who was heading up EY five years ago had one. When I was interviewing in undergrad (2010) I let a professor convince me to shave my beard for an office visit round with Deloitte in Chicago, even though I was bearded in campus interviews. I think he was still in the culture of the 1980's-90's where it was completely different and no man in front office financial services was wearing a beard. But I've worn mine ever since, through several successful interview processes. As long as it's thick, trim, sleek, it's good.

This is one of the few areas where I'm thankful times have changed. I hate all the casual dress code stuff; too many people dress bummy and frankly, I like wearing a suit to work. But I'm thankful I can wear my beard these days, because I'm not as attractive without it, according to the ladies.

"Now you's can't leave." -Sonny LoSpecchio

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Jul 9, 2018

I can relate to this so much. I'm someone who genuinely looks better with a beard. Its always been a conflict between "should I shave to look more professional, or keep it and look better (which may be better anyways).

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Jul 5, 2018

Whatever you do, please make sure your beard is food-free; I can't tell you how many times I see guys, post-meal, with food shrapnel enmeshed in their big beards. It's just sick.

Funniest
Jul 9, 2018

Probably group/bank dependent, but I say you do you and go for it. I think there's maybe two people on my team with beards, definitely one guy. No girls with beards tho.

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Jul 9, 2018

Not in banking (obviously by my name). I have a beard and have never had anyone comment about it. Been on several interviews recently and nobody has said anything about it.

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Most Helpful
Jul 10, 2018

KEEP IT KEEP IT KEEP IT!!!!

cough Excuse me, keep it.

I am totally loving the embracing of facial hair amongst bankers and traders. When I worked at a law firm a few years ago, I couldn't get over the near-complete absence of facial hair on attorneys and partners, it was like investment banking back in the 80's and 90's but with additional hair gel and minus the suspenders.

dramatic sigh Us gals don't generally get to enjoy much eye candy in an office setting, so's I have to generally make do with mere forearm porn [yes boys, roll up them shirt sleeves when you're in the office!]

But yes, if you can grow it nice and groom it well, go for it. Jack Dorsey looks 1,000% better with the beard, without it he kind of reminds me of Alfalfa from those 1950's Little Rascals movie shorts.

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Jul 10, 2018

Holy crap, with an endorsement/request like that, how can I not keep it? And if an MD calls me on it, I'll just have to say "Sorry, sir, InfoDominatrix wants the beard to stay, so it ain't goin' anywhere."

And "forearm porn?" Ha. Never heard of that one. (Also, I like the dramatic sigh... and in italics, no less).

    • 1
Jul 9, 2018

I'm rolling my sleeves up tomorrow for sure

    • 3
Jul 12, 2018

not much eye candy? do guys in your office wear poorly fitting shirts or something? I'd think that one analyst with python arms would be eye candy. or the guy who was a college athlete and his pants are just a wee bit too tight in the rear because he's on an analyst salary and has to buy spongebob fit. you must work with a lot of manlets if your eye candy is fuzzy forearms and beards.

in any event, I'm definitely stealing "forearm porn," that's epic

you ought to author a post on how to be eye candy as well as look professional, the WSO virgin army needs women like you

    • 7
Jul 10, 2018
thebrofessor:

not much eye candy? do guys in your office wear poorly fitting shirts or something? I'd think that one analyst with python arms would be eye candy. or the guy who was a college athlete and his pants are just a wee bit too tight in the rear because he's on an analyst salary and has to buy spongebob fit. you must work with a lot of manlets if your eye candy is fuzzy forearms and beards.

in any event, I'm definitely stealing "forearm porn," that's epic

you ought to author a post on how to be eye candy as well as look professional, the WSO virgin army needs women like you

"spongebob fit"*- oh my god, I damn near spit my beverage onto my monitors! When I worked in the Conde Nast building years ago, there were many "fabulous" manboys that worked for Vogue and were so painfully super-trendy... those peg-legged suit pants and the suit jackets that fit like a shrunken t-shirt... I am so glad that trend didn't last or bleed into other business sectors beyond the creatives.

There is some eye candy here. But yeah, most of the analysts/associates/first-years likely buy off-the-rack shirts, so they're not quite as fitted as they could be.

Some of the guys here have fun with their dress sock game, funky colors and patterns, which is a cool way to show a more fun side of yourself. Some of the guys who wear glasses definitely have fun with their frames. There are certainly a few non-management guys with either family money or who have been on the receiving end of bonuses who splurge a bit more on their suits. You can definitely tell when someone has stopped shopping at Men's Wearhouse and went the Zegna-Hugo Boss-Abboud-Canali route or gone the personal tailor route if they've had occasion to travel to Hong Kong.

Those ubiquitous firm-branded 'fratagonia' vests that I see in and out of the office from October to April - I understand they're a necessary evil when you are fortunate enough to not have to wear a suit jacket thanks to a business-casual office, but generally they are ill-fitting and do nothing for most men's physiques, making even the buffest dude look rather meh.

Many of the first-years just look so young, a beard can definitely give them the appearance of maturity. Of course all you have to do is listen to them talk about sports, their school or their weekend plans to realize maturity comes in many guises, LOL.

This year's class of summer interns/associates/analysts... yikes, some look like they haven't hit puberty yet. Not their fault, I know. But a man that looks like a man, not a boy, that's my preference. We definitely have a number of former college jocks here, whether track stars or grid-iron. I lean towards admiring guys that are built more like hockey or rugby players, not swimmers or runners as much.

As for forearm porn, steal the phrase, please! It likely points to my blue-collar origins, my dad was a repairman and often took me to work with him, where every guy rolled his sleeves up. :)

    • 5
Jul 12, 2018

Now need a post now about how to look good in the office!

My soul is highly leveraged

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Jul 11, 2018

I think heavy scruff is a good compromise between clean shaven and full on beard. In dating it's a great hedge since there is a significant number of women who dislike the full beard and clean shaven looks.

Jul 11, 2018

I was always told to shave my beard as Finance is a fairly conservative industry but I'm with you lol I am pale with black hair so when I shave it makes my skin look greenish where the beard hair was

    • 1
Jul 12, 2018

FWIW I know a darker guy with a killer beard (short and trimmed with fantastic coverage) who interviewed at GS and landed the role. His resume was what you'd expect, he didn't foresee getting dinged for facial hair and all worked out for him in the end.

Jul 5, 2018

Guess the GS in that firm stands for "Got Scruff?"

Jul 12, 2018

Fvck it..nobody is making 80's or 90's bank anymore so why the fvck should we shave every day.

Embrace the beard.

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Jul 12, 2018

Shave the beard. No discussion. Project cleanliness and present a formal attire. Makes you look professional.

    • 1
Jul 12, 2018

I agree, I am a little surprised by all of the people saying not to shave for the interview especially with the logic that some highly successful heads of firms have recently started growing beards (I think they have earned it and who is going to say anything to them?). Further, I know if you interviewed at my firm you would be dinged for coming in with a full beard.

That said, I am a full supporter of facial hair and have started pressing how long I can go before shaving over the last few months with only a few comments about how impressive my 5 o'clock shadow looks when I haven't shaved in ~4 days.... but I would not have tested those waters during the interview stage.

Do whatever your gut is telling you but clean shaven is always the lower risk option in my opinion. Best of luck with interviews regardless.

Another note: Thinking back my group did hire one guy with a pretty awesome beard when I was in banking so maybe I am just old school and need to get with the times.

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Jul 12, 2018

this. I'd project a formal look in the interviewing stage and then grow it out again the moment I got the offer.

Jul 12, 2018
rustyboots:

I agree, I am a little surprised by all of the people saying not to shave for the interview especially with the logic that some highly successful heads of firms have recently started growing beards (I think they have earned it and who is going to say anything to them?). Further, I know if you interviewed at my firm you would be dinged for coming in with a full beard.

That said, I am a full supporter of facial hair and have started pressing how long I can go before shaving over the last few months with only a few comments about how impressive my 5 o'clock shadow looks when I haven't shaved in ~4 days.... but I would not have tested those waters during the interview stage.

Do whatever your gut is telling you but clean shaven is always the lower risk option in my opinion. Best of luck with interviews regardless.

Another note: Thinking back my group did hire one guy with a pretty awesome beard when I was in banking so maybe I am just old school and need to get with the times.

I agree that the added risk is not worth it, but when you say that a person would get dinged from your firm for having a beard while interviewing, is it because of one person or is it a consensus thought across the investment team?

Jul 10, 2018

It's good to hear this "practical'/conservative side. I suppose a beard probably wouldn't adversely effect my chances with most places... but if it deters even one employer from hiring me, why should I take that risk? It's not like being cleanly shaven is going to adversely effect me... so it seems that you're right: it's likely that, if I interviewed at 20 places, at least one would be turned off by a beard... so why risk it?

Jul 5, 2018

Call it foolish pride, but the way I see this, the corporate world is bending over backwards to be inclusive and flexible and make all matters of accommodations for people these days. I don't need flex time or months of paternity leave, all I ask for is to be able to rock a well-groomed beard.

I don't want to pretend I'm ever going to be clean-shaven during the interview, and I don't want to work for a company that would ding me for wearing a crisp beard.

Every guy is different, but I'm not going to spend what little time I do have outside work as a baby-faced bachelor knowing that women resoundingly love my beard and want me to keep it. It adds like two points to my looks on a 1 to 10, and it's not a tattoo or piercing, it's natural.

Like I said, call it foolish pride, but some offers/companies just aren't worth it to me.

"Now you's can't leave." -Sonny LoSpecchio

    • 2
Jul 12, 2018

I personally don't mind the 'hipster' beard - but like it or not we work in a very conservative industry. I would err on the side of caution, get rid of it.

Jul 12, 2018

Not sure CNBC is a good point of reference given the preposterous hair these two rock.

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Jul 11, 2018

Does the guy on the right have a rat tail? If so he should be flogged, tarred and feathered.

Jul 12, 2018

As it were, Blankfein and I share a barber (along with a lot of other finance execs). I have it on good word from him that beards are back in on the street nowadays.

Jul 10, 2018

That could be my rallying cry when I get dinged -- "But Blankfein has a beard! And he and his barber said that beards are back! Hire me, goddamnit!"

Jul 13, 2018

I think if you're going for BB and the like, it would be better to shave it at first. Once you get in, I'd feel your team out and see if it would work.
At a high level, companies are in fact bending over backwards for inclusiveness and what not. But my experience has taught me that each team is its own little world and it may not play exactly by the corporate book. So while the company may not care, your team (read MD) could hate it. Just my 2 cents.

Jul 10, 2018

Yep -- better safe than shaggy.

Jul 13, 2018

Hair grows back, lmao.

Aug 3, 2018

I wonder how beards are looked upon in Chicago for banking, with the exception of BBs. I know in NYC its hard to get away with no matter what group you are in.

Aug 3, 2018

Do you have a research graduate degree? Do most people in your group have non-MBA, non-JD graduate degrees? That is the general rule of thumb. Since you are in a tech division, it sounds like you're surrounded by a bunch of developers, BAs, and perhaps quants, so that's a good start. Is this a developer role you sit in?
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If you have a graduate degree and a fairly geeky role, you get slightly more license to look like a graduate student or academic. A quant developer role in the tech division may be enough, but it's not *totally* safe unless you have an MS or MPhil in C.S./CE/Math, an MFE, or a PhD. Or if other people in your group wear beards. A PhD lets you get away with more, but a non-business MS in a group of geeks lets you get away with some.
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This rule also applies for sweatervests, bow-ties, rumpled clothing, long hair, and perhaps even pot odors. The more educated you are, the more complicated your work, the less time you spend in front of clients, the more license you get...
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That's my take.

Aug 3, 2018
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Aug 3, 2018
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