A new masterpiece has been added to the oeuvre of pro-beard literature. “It Grows on You: Perceptions of sales/service personnel with facial hair” was just published in the Journal of Business Research.
The paper reports on five studies that tested the “power of the beard” in the workplace. They found that customers consider bearded salespeople to have greater expertise and, therefore, more trustworthiness than mustached, clean-shaven, or stubbled coworkers. This was true regardless of race, ethnicity, attractiveness, or likability and also held true for both online and in-person sales.
As anyone who’s ever worked a sales floor knows, trust and expertise are the currency of the job. The researchers found that the perception that bearded sales workers are more trustworthy can lead to increased sales.
“Our research suggests that those in a sales or service roles, where expertise and trust are crucial to converting sales, would be well-served to grow a beard. Your LinkedIn profile and marketing materials may even benefit from the subtle cue conveyed by donning a beard,” says researcher co-author Sarah Mittal, assistant professor of marketing at St. Edward’s University.
If you do take the beard route, note that previous studies have found that facial hair does not increase perceived attractiveness, but does indicate masculine traits such as aggressiveness.