This blog first appeared on the “Maximize Your Career – Business Tools for Women over 50″ Aug. 28 conference site.
To dye or not to dye – that is the question.
As a human resources consultant, I have been asked many times over the past few years by women and occasionally by men, “Should I dye my hair as I begin a new job search?”
Competency is not based on any color, hair or otherwise, but there is such a thing as bias that can come into play in the interview process for any applicant over 50. A few years ago in Silicon Valley, a male CEO over 50 was being turned down for position after position. He would leave an interview feeling confident that an offer was going to result only to find it went to a less-experienced younger person. So he decided to change his interview tactic. He shaved his gray hair, traded in his loafers and business suit for sneakers and casual wear, and he got the next job.
As a search consultant, I had one executive say to me, “Don’t you think women past a certain age should dye their hair, and pay more attention to their appearance?” This coming from a guy with a head of gray hair and a paunch.
So back to the question, “Should you dye your hair?” It is an individual decision; however, if it is gray, or white, I would suggest that it be professionally cut and styled.
Other things that can date women are pantyhose. Princess Kate may have helped to revive the pantyhose industry but unless you are a princess and hanging in that circle, I would lose the pantyhose as well. There are great over-the-counter bronzers if you feel your legs are not suitable to bare legs, and pants suits are still very much in style.
Competency isn’t biased but some of the people making the decision may be.