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Curly Nikki

Curl to Curl- Natural Hair and the Workplace

By January 27th, 202185 Comments

Curl to Curl- Natural Hair and the Workplace
Terra D writes:

Imagine the following:

The VP position just opened up at your firm and they are interviewing only the best candidates. You know that the President of the firm seems to prefer hair that is a bit more “put together”. What do you do? Do you straighten your hair just this once, so they can focus on your skills? Or do you wear a fresh twist out, to stand out?

Would you change your hair for work? Have you done it before?
Be honest ladies!

Curly Nikki Adds: Also, at what point did you overcome the desire to straighten to feel ‘appropriate’ for more formal occasions?

85 Comments

  • Anonymous says:

    it depends on the weather–i dont flat iron because other people think its appropriate- its just a style that i think looks cute on me–i don't feel like i have to [and i usually don't bother unless i want a 'wake up and go' hair do for a week–maybe once a month or so]–if its humid i'd just slick my hair back into a chignon or high ponytail…if its a nice day for slick hair, i'd rock that too–i think a part of being natural is understanding that curly is a style, straight is a style and they should be day to day choices, not something to live with FOREVER through abusing your hair with harsh chemicals and harsher hairdressers—and most of all, do your hair for YOU, not for what people say you should look like

  • Anonymous says:

    Interesting thread. I am natural with a JD/MBA and I work in investment banking. I typically wear my hair in a twist out. Sadly, on the job, I've been called the "woman with the crazy hair" and "chicken head" to my face – by black men. Thankfully, I'm supremely confident and greatly skilled or I'm sure I'd be out the door by now as these men were superiors. If I had to interview with these "brothers" I have no doubt that I wouldn't get the job at the firm – they are just that superficial. I wouldn't straighten as they should be hiring for my skills and quals – not my hair.

  • Unknown says:

    No way would I straighten my hair. I'm old school,too. Have a 35 yr music teaching career. Wore a BAA IN THE 60'S & 70'S then a curly perm.Never really wanted straight hair.Did have one disastrous relaxer as a teen going to college.Things I LOVE about teaching: you get to be a role model for kids,so I'm now rocking flat twists with a puff after doing the BC Feb 2009,teachers have more freedom than the corporate world.At my school there are afros, locs,weaves,flat ironed,relaxed, & braids among the black faculty members.The kids come from over 30 countries so they get to see our hair's versatility.

  • Anonymous says:

    I would not straighten my hair, but I would pin it up neatly.

  • AngelScribe says:

    A lonnnng time ago I was forced to big chop after a bad braiding incident. I was still a college student so I just went with it.

    After graduation during the job hunt I had the sneaky suspicion my hair was causing a "conflict" in the interviews. Things went a little better after I pulled it back, and I had job offers hanging out the wazoo when I finally relaxed it. I'll let you draw your own conclusions.

    I've been transitioning now (by choice) for about 16 months at my current job of nearly 8 years where I'm the only chocolate chip in the cookie. Mixed reactions, but now the people that don't care for it mostly just keep quiet about it. Everyone else is pretty vocal about their enthusiasm.

    As for straigtening the hair for certain occasions, I think this is less about wanting/needing to conform than it is about just wanting to look different. It's no different from straight-haired girls getting curls for the prom or the wedding date. But no one looks down on them about it.

    That's my great love of going natural: increased versatility. If it feels good, I do it!

  • Anonymous says:

    @ Anonymous 1:48pm and Moni:

    Thanks so much for your advice. I've always been of the mindset that any environment for which the mere texture of my hair would pose a problem, was not an environment that I should be working in anyway. So I never really bothered seeking out opinions from other members of the legal community because it seemed so black and white to me. But I guess with all the pressure from my family and my law school debt looming, I was starting to wonder if I was being naive about things. Thanks for restoring my convictions.

    And I really appreciate the great advice about networking (Anonymous) and the book recommendation (Moni). I just did some research and NYC (I'm barred in NY and I live in NYC) has a chapter of the National Conference of Black Lawyers. I definitely plan on joining. Some years back a Professor of mine actually mentioned the book you suggested, Moni, but I never got around to reading it. Now I'm definitely going to make reading it a priority!

    Thanks again, ladies! And good luck with the Bar, Moni. I'm sure you're going to pass with flying colors. And like Anonymous said: don't feel guilty about taking breaks… you have to preserve your sanity somehow!

  • Anonymous says:

    I recently had to make the choice to go straight or natural to a very important client meeting. I work in the finance industry and had a meeting with a very important client and was really dealing with the choice to blow out my hair and straighten it with a flat iron possibly causing heat damage or going naturally curly. This decision kept me going for days and finally I decided to go straight. It was hot as hell and I was back to my old ways being paranoid that I was sweating my hair out and looking like a poodle. Afterwards I was a little disappointed with myself for not being true to the person that I thought I had become. I would straighten my hair for formal events, first dates, etc. but now 95% of the time I stay curly, and I am curly during the day to day of the work week but when it comes to important work events, interviews or important client meetings I am not yet comfortable going natural. I am not yet ready fight the politics of hair in the workplace but I am working on it.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Moni July 16, 2010 2:27 PM: Good Luck on the Bar Exam. It is ok to take a break, especially if it is a hair site.
    Naturally Esq

  • Cynthia says:

    I've been natural for 15 years and i haven't straightened my hair for a job interview (I've been on 7-8 during my professional career) and I sincerely hope that I never have to.

    As many other ladies have said secure your hair away from the face, first and foremost. I can't do wigs because my head would be hot and I would take that wig off in the middle of the interview…and that might not go over well. For formal events, I pretty much wear my hair in the styles I listed below…a couple of semi-formal events i've worn a twist-out or braid-out and was met with compliments and requests to touch my hair by various people.

    styles I've worn for interviews:

    1.) fresh two-strand twists pulled into a bun

    2.) two-strand twists put into a frenchbraid and secured with a conservative hair clip (silver, gold or black)-you can do this with or without twists in your hair

    3.) roller set and bobby pin the sides away from my face.

    4.) high or low chignon with a foam form to make the bun look neat** (most recent interview hairstyle)

    I think your confidence and knowledge base should outshine your hair in your interview…if you are a shrinking violet in the interview, then I feel like people will use the hair as an obstacle…don't let them do that to you. I would also question…whether or not that is the place for me, if they had a problem with my natural self, while hair is hair…would they have a problem with me because i'm (short, tall, slender, not-so-slender, dark, light…etc)

    Another poster touched on it best…it's typically "us" that have a problem with natural hair and we're so worried about what "they" think, when "they" are almost oblivious to the "politics" behind our hair.

    Sorry so long…

  • Moni says:

    @ anonymous July 16, 2010 12:19 PM I also graduated in May and will be taking the bar in just over a week (don't ask me why I'm on hair sites)! As I mentioned upthread, I interviewed throughout law school with my natural hair and have done just as well as or better than most of my peers on the job market. I interviewed for my permanent position (in house) with my hair in a bun and was their top pick. I second Naturally Esq's networking advice. I'd also recommend looking at Guerilla Tactics for Getting the Legal Job of Your Dreams (http://www.amazon.com/Guerrilla-Tactics-Getting-Legal-Dreams/dp/0314176772/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1279304629&sr=1-1-spell). It has great practical advice and is extremely helpful for non-traditional approaches. Your law school career services probably has a copy if you're still in the area. Good luck! I know first hand how limited the legal market is right now.

  • Shell says:

    Be true to who you are. Wear your natural hair proudly. There are so many ways we can wear our hair that looks polished without straightening, wigs and relaxing.

  • Anonymous says:

    @ anonymous July 16, 2010 12:19 PM : First, congratulations on passing the Bar Exam. I have been an attorney since 1989 in the very conservative field of Estate Planning. I have not always worn my hair natural because I did not know how to take care of it. Thanks to Curly Nikki, I have been successfully transitioing since 9/09 and I only wear my hair in a natural style. Those who were surprised by my change, juswt had to deal with it. I may have lost a few clients, but I decided to love the gift that God gave me. How can that be wrong?

    This is a very difficult time to be job hunting. I don’t think that altering any of your natural features or wearing a wig will make a difference. IMO networking is the key. You should join your local bar associations especially those for attorneys of color. You can send me a PM via this website (I am Naturally Esq ) for more information.

    HTH

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi all:

    I'm an umeployed lawyer (recently graduated) and my mom seems to believe that my employment troubles are because of my natural hair. I've been natural for 9 years but my parents are very old school Nigerians and they aren't big fans. Those of you in the legal profession understand the contracting job market and also the conservative nature of our profession generally. So my question is this: Do you think that given the rarity of legal jobs these days (particularly entry level ones) that I should continue bunning my hair (it's mid-back length) or try wearing wigs (straightening isn't an option for me) for those more conservative law firm roles? I would really appreciate some feeback here, as my family members have attempted to stage several hair-interventions to persuade me to "tame my hair" for the sake of my job search.

    Thanks!

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous July 16, 2010 10:12 AM: I join you in that prayer!

  • Anonymous says:

    Mary in Md.

    If I thought I'd be uncomfortable, I'd make whatever changes I thought were needed to make me comfortable with my hair. That said, IMHO I believe a person of African decent is more likely to view unstraightened hair negatively than someone of another ethnicity. Other ethnicities don't have expectations of what our hair ought to look like. As long as it is neat and doesn't demand undue attention, I don't think it will hinder professional advancement.

  • Anonymous says:

    SO Natural haired black women in America feel they have to wear a wig or straighten their hair to get a job? WHAAAAT THE……..?!!!!!!!!
    Every other race is acceptable with their normal hair in a neat style, but us blacks are apparently TOO SHOCKING/REPELLANT/SCARY/REVOLUTIONARY etc unless that crazy hair of ours is tamed or covered up.

    If I ever doubted that many blacks are living in a kind of nightmare existance inside their own minds, the above comments have put me straight. I pray that people are able to wake up sometime soon.

  • Kearea' says:

    i believe a bun or a sleek ponytail would be appropriate. i dont think this is an issue just for sistas. the same decision has to be made for men who have long hair or men and women who have funky hair colors. unless it is a creative field, the hair should be away from the face regardless of whether you are natural or not

  • Anonymous says:

    I bc'ed in Nov 2009 and this question always seem to come up. I recently graduated with my doctorate and I am in the process of looking for a new job. I have only had one interview so far in Mississippi and I chose to wear a wig. We as Black women are always judged by our ability to conform. If I need to wear a wig or a bun to advance in the short time I will.
    after, I would go back to my lovely twist outs.

  • Franki says:

    I would go with a low bun and a headband to keep the edges smooth, but then again, that's how I wear my hair every day.

    At the end of the day, it's up to you. If you genuinely feel more comfortable with it straight, then straighten it. If you feel more comfortable with it out, I wouldn't necessarily suggest it for more conservative office spaces, but sometimes you have to do you (unless you're a lawyer or a banker, in which case you have to do whatever the hell the partners want).

    The whole point of interview hair is a)to look neat and b)to add to your confidence in such a way that you don't even think about it. The interviewer shouldn't be thinking about your hair (except in comparison to someone who showed up looking a hot mess), and you shouldn't, either. Find a style that achieves that for you, and you're good to go.

  • MsAnkh says:

    I live in a smaller city, its not so small that you know everyone and everyone knows you but its also definitely not a Dallas, Houston, or ATL (I live in the south 🙂 )I work in one of the largest medical facilities in my city and at the time I didnt think I could wear my hair how I truly wanted to (natural of course)because I didnt think they would be ready or even open to it. After debating and trying other styles that I hated I finally went for it. The looks and comments were difficult at first, but after a while the comments turned into compliments and the looks started to look like looks of admiration. I was one of the first in my hospital and now there are several. Im glad I finally took the risk to wear my hair the way I was always suppose to and wanted to, my biggest regret is not doing it sooner.

  • Anonymous says:

    I'd put my hair in medium sized twists and put it in an updo or a half updo.

  • Anonymous says:

    @JustTrena: AMEN!

  • Anonymous says:

    Vintage updo works best. It allow you to keep your curls while giving a pull together classic feminine look. I love a big fro like the next but unless your name is on the build keep it tame for the office. I live in Houston so I straighten my hair for no one, but i will pin it up.

  • JustTrena says:

    Be yourself! Its not natural hair that don't get you the job, its your discomfort with the natural hair that shows through.
    If you have to straighten your hair to get a job with a company that's uncomfortable with your natural hair, you probably won't be wearing your natural hair once you get the job. If they are really that uncomfortable, and you start wearing your natural hair, you will still get passed over for promotions or any other advancements.
    Best bet…be yourself!…YOU (and your hair!) ARE GOOD ENOUGH!!!

  • Anonymous says:

    I have 4b/c hair and it is not long enough for a bun but i'm not sure i would call it a TWA either. So what should i do?

  • ForeverCurlyCatrina says:

    I think you overcome the desire to straighten for special occasions when you find styles that really complement you and you love your hair. Curly hair is so unique and versatile. I'm actually less comfortable and more self conscious when I straighten my hair. I feel like when my hair is straight it is just so unpredictable. I honestly no longer feel the need to straighten my hair for special occasions. I've been able to come up with some styles that I think go well with dressy clothes. But as far as the work thing goes, I did have quite a dilemma when I was job hunting a few years ago. I hated the fact that I felt uncomfortable wearing a wash and go or any of the other styles I had been wearing for so long. I didn't thing cornrows were acceptable, or twists, or a pony puff. So I went with a classic bun. It was really tight and smooth. And guess what, they never called me back. I don't know how I will style my hair the next time I'm job hunting. I know one thing for certain though. I will not be reaching for the straightening comb just to make someone else more at ease.

  • DreamMerchant says:

    I would wear a bun or an updo. Tht is what is suggested anyway for job interviews. Besides, it is so humid here that if I was to flat iron my hair for a job interview, it would puff up like the Sta Puff Marshmellow Man and I would really be looking crazy. I had three job interviews at three different schools and wore my hair three different ways. I was offered a position at all three schools. I think that your skills and confidence will shine through as long as you are not looking too crazy. Go with the low bun!

  • Anonymous says:

    My personality in general is always to be
    conservative in an interview, so would I probably wear my hair pulled back (if I had enough) or neatly cut, absolutely. Anything, beyond that no.

    A few years ago, I was going to an interview and at that time had a TWA. I was typically wearing wigs to interviews. Natural hair in the workplace, beyond braids and the occasional TWA was not really around where I was.

    For some reason unbeknownst to me, I was halfway through the interview and realized I dind't have my wig on. I brushed my hair as best I could and went to the interview. That day was the last day I tried to change up my hair for an interview.

    I think are times you still have to play the game, whether you hair is bone straight or curly. Some professions it's an unspoken rule where men don't have facial hair. Some professions it's preferable women wear their hair pulled back. Someone is always going to have an opinion and if your job dictates a little more conservatism than you may have to do that, while still maintaining what makes you feel good about yourself.

  • Notthecoolmom says:

    I would not straighten, but I might pay for it to be done professionally.

    Women get jobs with braids (weave) all the time.

    So, I might pay someone with better skills than I do to do my hair for an interview. Just like I would probably buy new pantyhose and wear my best suit.
    I would go for my most conservative look for a corporate position.

    SN:I recently went on a business trip for my job to another state…I wasn't sure what they would think so I pinned my twists and put on my "professional" look. They (people I work closely with- over the phone) were interested in the fact that I did my hair myself, but they complimented me and so did random people at the airport.

  • Anonymous says:

    P.S…. that's the beauty of our hair when it's natural, right? We can rock our natural curls, and straighten it or wear it up when we want to, or if need be.

  • Anonymous says:

    I think it depends on the job you're going for. But I believe this person is going for a job that's more conservative. I'm only transitioning right now, so I have way more relaxed hair than natural curls. However, natural or relaxed, I've always worn my hair back for the jobs I've gone for (which have all been in more conservative settings). I don't think it's a matter of conforming. There's a time and place for everything. You can still wear your hair in it's natural state and still look professional, but sometimes we just have to play the game to get what we want first, show them what we're all about (professionally), and then they won't care what our hair looks like when we're situated in the position. *side note: I've had this same conversation with non-black curly haired women. They, too, either straighten their hair, or wear it up or in a bun during a job interview. They wear their hair in its natural state once they've gotten the job.

  • Anonymous says:

    @cmo we are awake.

  • Aishah says:

    So because I wear a suit to my interview am I compromising myself because I don't normally wear a suit? NO! Bottom line is it's all a game. And you have to play by the rules or become an entrepreneur. I might not straighten my hair (nor would I fault those that do) for an interview but you HAVE to do something with it if it's longer than a TWA because the sole purpose of an interview is to judge you! Don't be foolish enough to think you aren't being judged on your looks. I know men that wanted to hire dumb women because they were beautiful. I know women that didn't hire other women because they were too beautiful. There are a lot of things about yourself that you can't change, but hair is a pretty easy fix.

    There are a lot of people that are intimidated by our wild unruly hair. We love it and call it curly. They hate it and call it nappy. If your interviewer happens to be conservative they may have a problem with your hair. Though their views might not even represent the views of most of the other people at the company, the interviewer has a HUGE amount of input on whether or not you get hired. Put it in a bun to be safe!!!

    I don't know too many people that have problems with straight hair or buns, but I know quite a few people that don't like our natural hair…

  • Anonymous says:

    I have read most of the comments I agree wih anyone is saying that they should not have to compromise with their hair. I do find it interesting how we as black people once we do wear our hair in its natural state it is looked at as threatening, revolutionary, etc. And this can also be seen by black people as that way too. We tend to be the only people who compromise our beauty for others comfort and they profit from it successfully. I am in the corporate world, but am looking in the next three years or so to say goodbye and open up my own physical therapy business…can't wait!!

  • Anonymous says:

    Well, I'd definitely use some curlformers for the interview. And if I got the position, I'd vary the styles according to the agenda. I would blame my hair for a long time if I wore it totally natural and didn't get the promotion.

  • Anonymous says:

    I wouldn't try to stand out using my hair. That's what I developed all of my great skills for–that's why I should get the job. I wouldn't straighten my hair either. I'd just pull it back into a more "sleek" bun than I usually wear.
    As far as the formal occasions, I think it took a year or two before I stopped feeling self-conscious about my hair, but I always forced myself to wear it natural. By the time I had been 100% natural for five years, I felt weird when I straightened it as a gift to someone else for their party.

  • Unknown says:

    Maybe my perspective is different from most because I've been natural my whole life and have straightened my hair less than 10 times in 20 years, maybe if you're more accustomed to wearing straight hair, you're more paranoid about how people view natural hair… but the idea of altering my physical traits to be "accepted" is mind boggling to me. Now, I'm young so I'm not interviewing to be a CEO or anything lol, but I've done a few things in my life. I've interned for senators, given interviews for magazines, been accepted to to top rated high schools and colleges and interviews were mandated for all those things. Not once has my hair held me back, not once has a person in power been more focused on my hair than my resume and skills. And I can't even fathom getting a relaxer or straightening my hair if I DID run into someone that disliked my napps. If you knew someone hated dark complected women, would you buy and use a skin bleaching cream before interviewing with them? To me, my hair is as integral to my being as my epidermis. The way some people talk about natural hair and advancement…I ouught to be living on the street, not going to school, just being a bum in general laughing out loud.

  • cmo says:

    After reading a majority of the comments, most said that they would "change" their hair until they "got in the door". When will we wake up? No other race, ethnicity has to "change" their hair to "get in the door" only us. If you are natural then be natural not only when it suits you. If you are qualified for a job then that should speak for itself. At the end of the day would you really want to work for someone who is simple and shallow-minded? People wake up.

  • Anonymous says:

    I was in a college placement program for a company for three years, you were not necessarily going to get a full time position because you were in the program so during the three years as I was transitioning out of my relaxer I wore wigs. Once I was in my third rotation and in the interviewing process I wore wigs then. Once I got the job I waited about three or four weeks into it and I showed up one morning in my twists outs, I work in the corporate world and when I did come in to work with my twist outs it was the most discussed topic for a couple of days. I think you have to use your best judgement but be realistic with yourself. Most black women still straighten their hair and don't even understand yours when they see you walking in with it natural. Your going to get comments good and bad and people will still judge when your in the company full time, when I wore wigs they judged when I wore my hair out and natural they judged me but the natural hair is me and I decided I am not going to trade it for a straight style, :-). Granted I look for some of these people to bring it up, I think if they do it can educate them no matter their nationality.

  • Tracy says:

    We shouldnt have to change for what we beleive in. Unfortunately, in the corporate worl we tend to have to adapt to "the look". Well not I! I am a very successful Insurance agent, I am the only African American out of the 75 people in my office, my clientele is mostly white. When I went natural, I was so nervous about the reaction from the VPs and whoever else and surprisingly, they were more accepting of it than my own. They like the versatility that my hair has. Its natural but I wear my hair in "work appropiate" hairstyles, then on the weekends, I will rock a mohawk or something a bit more relaxed and trendy. Thats my input.

  • Anonymous says:

    I recently went to a wedding ( May 26th) and thought oh I am going to change it up to surprise my friends and see what kind of length I have. I’ve been natural for a year in August and have not put heat to my hair for about 4 months . Well I got it blown out and flat ironed it was beautiful! HOWEVER, I no longer have the thick kink in my hair that made my hair so beautifully coiled. My curls are a lot looser and my hair doesn’t feel as thick.

    I am sure some people can take heat but that was such a mistake for my hair and I am still mourning my former glory! I hope and pray I will get it back without having to start from scratch : ( . So “ no” I will not straighten my hair just for an event or interview. My hair is longer than a TWA and can be twisted and loosed to fall gently on my head and look very neat. We have options without heat – but if your hair can take it than go for it. But the price for me was too high.
    Signed " What a mistake " : (

  • NikNak says:

    I just wear it in a bun, mostly because my hair is really fragile and any straighten can have a real lasting effect.

    I don't see a problem with "conforming" on an interview, or for a really important meeting. I'd rather have my bills paid and be independent from my mother that to rock a curly style ALL the time. Especially, because I don't think it's that drastic. I mean I'm not bleaching my skin and putting in blue contacts to "conform." I'm just wearing my hair differently …

  • beautywithcurls says:

    If I Can't Get The Position By Being Me, The Job Wasn't Meant For Me, I've Been Stubborn All My Life….2 Late 2 Change, Lucky I Never Had To Go Through That :~D….I've Been To An Interview With My Hair Straighten Before But That Was Because I Had It Straight Previously And Was Being Lazy With Washing It. My Other Job Interviews I Either Had Locks Or It Was Loose & Curly In A Bun No Issues There Either.

  • Anonymous says:

    I would do whatever it takes to get the position and then hit them with the natural styles later,
    And also, I do like to straighten when I go out of town because the upkeep is so much easier.

  • Moni says:

    @ Anonymous: I have 4a/b hair and I do my buns by stretching my hair in braids (like I was doing a braidout) and leaving it to dry overnight. In the morning I lightly coat my hands in oil and undue the braids, lightly combing with my fingers to separate the parts. Then I pull it all back with my hands and secure in a ponytail holder. I may add a butter or gel before or after pulling it back if I think it needs it. Since my hair is stretched and smooth, it's easy to create the bun with another ponytail holder (or 2) and/or bobby pins.

    Here's the crucial step: I tie my silk scarf around my head (even covering the bun), then put on a shower cap and shower. I leave the scarf on until I am ready to leave the house (and may even put it back on in the car if I'm driving). This smooths out my hair and helps the shorter parts to lay flat, so I don't have to worry about it looking perfect when I first pull it back. I usually add a thin black or dark brown headband as insurance (something that blends into my hair) and I'm good to go!

  • Anonymous says:

    Until we accept our natural hair as professional and appropriate for any occasion, how can we expect other to accept it?

    PLEASE be the change that you want to see: http://www.curlynikkiforums.com/general-f3/who-says-natural-hair-isn-t-professional-t5013.htm?highlight=professional

    As a self employed attorney, I am "interviewing" every time I meet a new client. I wear a nicely groomed braid out. It is what it is!

  • Alta Angel says:

    I would definitely wear a natural, textured bun. I recently interviewed for an internal position in my organization and wore my trusty faux bun that I demonstrate here:

    http://www.curlynikki.com/2010/05/alta-angels-work-hair-current.html

    And yes, I got the promotion!

  • KL says:

    I've been natural for about 6 years, but as a new natural, the very first time I straightened my hair was for an interview. It was foggy and humid on that day and I was sooo freaked that my hair would just turn into a huge fro. Needless to say, I was too distracted to focus entirely on the interview and I did not get the job. I decided that day that I would never againstraighten for an interview. Since then I've had some very successful interviews with my 2-strand twists pulled neatly back into a bun!

  • Unknown says:

    Neither. I'd go with a sleek bun.

  • Anonymous says:

    The most important thing that I have been told is that your hair should be off of your face as much as possible during an interview. I think that if your hair is natural or straightened, having it off of your face is key. I know that we all want people to perceive us in a certain professional light especially in corporate America where we often times have to conform to a certain extent, but if its God's will, you will get the job! Just make sure you look put together…natural or straightened!

  • Anonymous says:

    Okay folks I am job hunting. How do I do a bun with 4a/4b hair? Please help – I 'm listening.
    Thanks

  • Anonymous says:

    I have been faced with this many times and my mother, who loves my hair, is always trying to figure out what I should do in these situations.
    I usually just bun-it. Why waste heat styling for an interview? Suppose you have interviews once per week? Are you going to risk heat damage and straighten everytime? Uh…no.
    The last interview I went on, I wore a braidout pinned back on the sides and it looked just fine. Cute even.
    I guess I don't get it-white people who have curly hair wear it curly wherever. I don't get why it would be a big deal that we did it too.
    However, I do agree that sometimes your appearance has to match the situation/environment. As much as I hate wearing a plain black business suit and blue collared shirt to an interview or meeting WITHOUT my chunky necklaces or big earrings, I go without those ornaments in situations where I don't want my appearance to be the focus (like on an interview or a very important meeting).

  • Anonymous says:

    I usually keep my hair in a ponytail or bun when I begin a new job, then I slowly introduce my natrual styles (usually protective styling) once everyone is familiar with me. I work in London and most of the people in my workplace is not used to seeing black women's natural hair so they alway have all sorts of questions about how I got my hair to look like it is….

    I have been natural for 8 years and i've only straightened my hair onece for a formal occasion. I just exeriment with different styles when I go out.

  • Anonymous says:

    If its any occasion that I feel the need to look more polished, I do a bun or a pin up. I smooth my edges and use some type of jazzy hair accessories. I try to be polished, but not boring. I only straighten my hair when I want to get a trim. Also, I have done a complete sew-in (all my hair braided and protected) for my friends' wedding. All bridesmaids hair ha to be down, but spiraled or pincurled. Since it was in the summer I had my sis do a sew-inn (she knows how much I love my hair and do not want breakage, she's awesome and needs to be in a salon), but anyway it worked. I didnt have to worry about humidity or heat damage.

  • Alicia says:

    I wouldn't straighten my hair for an interview, thats just a waste of time and energy since I live in hot and humid Houston. I've been to interviews and career fairs and my style for these and other professional events is a bun.

  • Moni says:

    I would NOT straighten my hair for an interview. I've been natural for over 2.5 years and have had numerous interviews in that time (internships and permanent jobs) in an extremely conservative field, law. I did on campus interviews with a twa pulled back with a handband and got more callbacks than most of my friends, (and no, my grades weren't outstanding).

    My most recent set of interviews (for the job that I'll be starting next month) I wore my hair pulled back in a bun. It was for a competitive position at a major international company and when they offered me the job they told me that I was their favorite candidate (they're hiring multiple people). Although my hair was pulled back, it was obvious that it had texture. And this was in a situation where (a) I was about to graduate with no job and (b) there are next to no jobs in the legal industry and so competition is fierce, so it was definitely a high pressure situation. Just wear it pulled back in a conservative style and wow them with your talent, intelligence and personality!

  • Ashley says:

    I actually went on a job interview on Tuesday, and I wore a nice neat rod set. My hair looked nice, but it was complemented by my attitude, skills, personality, interviewing skills, and even my clothes. I wouldn't wear a twist-out to a job, but I wouldn't necessarily straighten either.

    I agree with the first commenter in not letting something small like my hair prohibit my advancement.

    An interview shouldn't be just about your hair. You wouldn't do other things that are "you" when trying to get a job. I wouldn't wear a tank top, jeans, and sneaks or flip flops to an interview either. Or blue fingernail polish, or get a tattoo on my face!

  • Anonymous says:

    I agree with most of the other ladies. A bun or some other conservative style would work best. I actually work in administration for an Ivy League academic institution and I bun, add a curly pony tail or sometimes even wear a curly wig or hairpiece. My co-workers actually love that I can change my style and do different things with my hair. But I choose to keep it conservative so that the hair is not the major focus because it does grab attention even when you don't plan to.

  • curly4course says:

    I agree that whatever you choose to do it should be away from your face. I actually wore a twist out on the job interview that landed me the role I am in now.

    I am inbetween stages and thought doing a twist out would be best. But when I took the twist out I was not happy. So I pinned it away from my face and went on my way. It was the best decision ever.

    I still struggle with what to do with my hair everyday. However I get nothing but positive feedback at work.

    So many times it is our own judgments that hold us back from being ourselves and rely on presenting a false picture. Giving the interviewer something that we know we will not maintain. I think on an interview you should present the best of you all around. So if straight hair is not the best of you and you really don't like straight hair, I so don't do it.

  • Krystality says:

    I don't see anything wrong with playing it safe and wear a neat bun, french roll, or straight, which ever makes you feel more comfortable. You don't want to be in an interview and worried about what the boss is thinking about your hair.

    I normally wear a rollerset and I have not had any problems.

  • honeybrown1976 says:

    I'd rollerset my hair for the interview. If I was given the position, I'd return to what I was doing previously.

  • Anonymous says:

    I agree with anonymous ^. It is very easy to say what you would or would not do when you are not in the position to do those things. The job that I have now, I wore my hair curly to the interview. That was only bc I had already been working for the company for over a year and knew that there were several other naturals within the company. While my hair was curly, it was not nearly as big as it usually is ( my fro commands attention on a regular basis!)it was pulled back and very neat. However, If I were to go on an interview somewhere that is known to be a bit more conservative, I would definitely chose putting food on my table over proving a point with my hair. Just sayin….

  • D Alexandra says:

    I've straightened my hair for an interview. I don't see anything wrong with it because they can't say anything to you after you've gotten the job and begun wearing your hair curly.

  • Amelieford says:

    Why again would I want to work for a company that discriminates? If the job is meant for me then a higher power will prevail whether I have a bun or straight. But for the sake of this question Tia is right rock a bun then let it all hang out once you're in the door.

  • Anonymous says:

    I've been interviewing and I agree with the previous comment about wearing my hair natural/twistout attracted too much attention and the focus of the interview seemed to be about my hair. I wore my hair pulled back for another interview and felt like a little girl, so I'm planning to straighten my hair for an interview next week. It's easy to say that you won't let anyone's preference dictate how you wear your hair until your unemployment runs out and you are wondering where your next meal will come from. Not to say hair matters more than your skill set, but unfortunately a large amount of people that make the hiring decisions are not as open minded as they should be and are intimidated by natural hair styles. With that said, after I land the job it's twistouts every week. LOL

  • Kanisha says:

    I wouldn't straighten it JUST for the interview's sake because I'd want to go in there as my true self, and the self I'd be presenting if in the event, I got the job.

    Cause if you get the job, you're not gonna wear your hair straightened all the time, are you? So why do it for the interview?

    Ponytails always work.

    Also, I have nothing against straightening hair. I love a straight look! It's nice to switch it up sometimes. I just think you should do it for yourself, not to look "neat" for your future boss. Just me.

  • Anonymous says:

    I had a friend of mine who was told that her hair was a distraction. (She is a corporate trainer for a company) She wore here hair in twist, sometimes in an afro.

    No one ever said in her trainings that it was a problem, as a matter of fact, the manager over HER manager loved her hair.

    It got so bad, that she ended up perming her hair….Her immediate manager stated that she looked BETTER afterwards….sad to say.

  • Clara says:

    I think its really easy to say that you would stand proud and not submit to straightening for a job. But I think for the hiring process, if you genuinely believe that it could impede your chances at getting the position then by all means straighten for the interview. I was relaxed when I got my job and over the last 2 years have transitioned and BC'd. I think it only helps in the short term that way you can be your 'natural' self after being hired.

  • Fatty Bamboo says:

    i wouldn't let anyone's preferences dictate how i wear my hair.

  • Tiffany says:

    I am going through this AS WE SPEAK! I vowed that I wouldn't straighten my hair until my next length check in OCTOBER. But as a recent college graduate in this economy I feel that it is in my best interest to straighten my hair when I get job interviews because it is the "safe route." I have been on about 6 interviews since I graduated and only two of them have been with straight hair. I usually just put my hair in a sleek, neat bun. If they can't accept the curlies as they are, they don't need me at their firm.

  • Gigi says:

    I feel like a nice sleek bun would be the most appropriate.

  • Anonymous says:

    I think Millicent and AusetAbena are so right. If you have a twist out, locs or a fro pull or pin it back away from your face. Someone with straight hair should do the same. Relaxed or natural only becomes an issue if you make it a big deal. If I looked polished and that's not good enough for the company then the company isn't good enough for me.

  • Unknown says:

    I completely agree with Tia about the professional bun. No one knows if you are relaxed or natural and it shouldn't matter. I would even suggest that to relaxed women. A sleek, low bun lets the interviewer concentrate on your skill set as opposed to your hair style.

  • Novemberlady13 says:

    You don't have to wear your curly/natural hair straight to be "put together". I beauty of natural hair is the versatility. A chic updo would be very "put together" or a simple bun. Personally I wouldn't have a problem straightening my hair but that has nothing to do with the job.
    I seriously have a problem with people (those who are natural and not) thinking the only why to be "put together" is to straighten their hair. And that is absolutely false. Open your mind!

  • LMCurls says:

    I recently went up for a promotion at my job and was faced with the same issues. My mom was asking what I planned to do with my hair since I'm still in that awkward area between a twa and being able to do a puff out. I rocked my natural short hair in a fro and not only was I offered the promotion but got a 20k increase. Maybe I'm blessed that the focus was on my skills but I just said to myself there's nothing I can do short of buying a wig to cover up my natural hair and personally I think that would have been a bad look

  • Anonymous says:

    When I interviewed for my current position in higher ed (which I will admit can be extremely conservative or liberal depending on the university)I went back and forth about what to do with my hair…in the end I wore my hair in a nice puff. Imagine my delight when one of the people interviewing me was rocking a TWA.

  • AusetAbena says:

    Definitelyn wouldn't wear a big afro or huge twist out. I bun or updo, anything to get the hair off the face would be good. But once I'm in the door, there's no stopping what hairstyle I might try then. I think the main issue is big hair. I am a college student, and I have purposely stayed away from considering professions that I consider coroporate America. I want to be an archivist, but that could land me anywhere honestly. Cross that bridge when I get to it. But my consensus is that for interviews, off the face and pulled back is best, but once you have the job you also have more options.

  • Anonymous says:

    I've been natural for a little over a year, and I've only straightened my hair once, and I personally didn't like it straightened. But, for an interview, I don't think I would straighten it, but I would put it in a professional bun or updo. I wouldn't wear it wild and funky. Although we (curlies) are comfortable with our hair, a lot of people aren't, and just don't understand it.

  • Anonymous says:

    i would change it. And if I got the job I would where curly styles

  • JustTrena says:

    Since being natural, I’ve only had to interview for a job once. I went into both interviews (the first with office employees and the second with the Deputy CEO) with an amateur-skilled twist-out on about 4 inches of hair. I like to think I got the job because of my skills (on the spot presentation!) and maybe my smile! 🙂

  • Latoya says:

    This is mom's number one argument against me going natural. My mom is old school and believes in conforming. A woman at her job won't get promoted because of her dreadlocks; everyone knows it. She thinks the woman should cut her locks. Not once did she complain about the company's blatant discrimination.

    I'm presenting at a national conference in Orlando this fall and she keeps reminding me that I should straighten it. The jury is still out on that one. I don't know how long my hair will be, Florida is humid, and I plan on going to theme parks before the conference.

    I agree with fitlounge and Tia. I would straighten my hair, bun, or "tame" my hair to get me in the door.

  • Unknown says:

    Neither, I would bun and let me explain why. In the past I wore my hair naturally to an interview and at the end of the interview all I got were hair questions. I am convinced that all the interviewers remembered were the hair care tips I gave after the interview was over. I prefer a bun in professional settings because people can't tell if I am relaxed or natural and only have the option to focus on the interview.

  • Anonymous says:

    I have done this when I was job hunting. I wore my hair natural to all of the other interviews I had and while they had nothing but great things to say I was passed over. The next set of interviews I wore my hair straight and I had 4 offers. since I accepted the position I wear my natural hair with no issues. It's just something about the "polished" look that works… can't let it stand in the way of advancing your career and being able to "change that way of thinking"

  • Lynnieluve says:

    I wouldnt change my hair for work. Hopefully they can see pass my hair and notice my skills.

  • Rhythm&Beauty says:

    For me the end is more important than the means. At least for now. If I know that I will be a great asset in the position then I would do all I could to make sure I got it. If the President of the company is the only person standing in my way and I know they prefer a 'together' look then I would either slick my hair back in a really smooth bun or straighten it. Some people might call it selling out, but selling out to me would be to not advance over my hair.

    To Nikki's add on I still like to straighten for formal events. Perhaps if I had more skills with the natural formal look I would do it more often. I just don't have it like that…YET!

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