Does grey hair doom job applicants?

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The question of whether interviewees should cover up their grey hairs was sparked by an article posted on Next Avenue, describing the modern dress code for the benefit of older job seekers.  It was reported by the appropriately-named author, Linda Dyett, that interview candidates with grey hair are wise to colour it.

Sharlyn Lauby, the professional behind HR Bartender, found the advice a little hard to swallow.  “It’s one thing to colour your hair because you want to.  It’s another to tell someone it might be a requirement for steady employment,” she wrote.

Perhaps seeking confirmation, she asked her readers whether grey-haired job seekers should colour their hair. Respondents had a variety of options: that neither men nor women needed to, that both men and women should, that only women had to, or that only men had to.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the most PC answer – that hair colour didn’t matter for either sex – was the most popular one, with 101 votes. However, almost the same number of people voted either that both sexes should colour their grey hairs, or that just women needed to. 

So, around half the population – at least in the US – thinks that grey-haired job applicants are dooming themselves to failure. In a country like New Zealand, where those over the age of 65 comprise the fastest growing age group, there must be a number of job seekers reaching for the dye.


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