I’m 69 and not getting hired – should I dye my grey hair?

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I just turned 69 and I’m feeling I might be a victim of age discrimination. I recently replied to three job postings with the same restaurant chain and got interviews for each. After each one I received the same reply: “The position is no longer available.” I fear my grey hair is my downfall. I’m considering one of those grey reducing shampoos. What do you think?

Age discrimination is against the law, but really bad hair dye should be equally outlawed. OK, I’m not making light of your predicament. Age discrimination is real and I can’t tell you that some employers are not hiring you because of your age, even though they will never admit it. But age is also a matter of how you present yourself. I know 40-somethings who look and act like grumpy old men, and 70-somethings who have more vitality than millennials. That comes across in interviews, and how you show up can mitigate the bias against hiring older workers. There’s nothing wrong with doing things to make yourself feel better, as the multi-billion dollar cosmetics industry demonstrates. Just pick a hair color that’s a natural shade found on human beings and doesn’t look like someone put shoe polish on your head.

In a recent column you gave advice on how to handle a woman who dressed too provocatively. That is sexist. Have you seen how ridiculously some men dress, particularly during casual summer days?

Well, there’s one point you make that I completely agree with, and that’s how some men and women think business casual is Coney Island boardwalk beachwear. It’s not sexist to ask for or give advice about someone who is dressing in a manner that may be inappropriate for the workplace, regardless of gender. Every company has a dress code, whether officially stated or generally accepted. Your co-workers should tell you if your underwear is showing. If it’s showing all the time, whether by choice or carelessness, that needs to stop, right? If someone is dressing in a manner that is too risque for the office, the company has the right to require the individual to dress more professionally.

Gregory Giangrande has over 25 years of experience as a chief human resources executive and is dedicated to helping New Yorkers get back to work. E-mail your questions to [email protected] Follow Greg on Twitter: @greggiangrande and at GoToGreg.com

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