10/11/2009 05:40 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

Joe Halderman Should Shave If He Wants to Influence Public Opinion and a Jury: Maybe You Should Too

Robert "Joe" Halderman is the former CBS News Producer, who worked on the CBS show 48 Hours. The same news department that Walter Cronkite made so famous, Dan Rather allegedly made so infamous, and now Katie Couric makes so perfect, except...hey Katie... what's the deal with that Suzie Orman-like haircut? Are you trying to tell us something?

As the author of the HarperCollins global best seller, Bulletproof Your Job, and the star of the upcoming reality series The Headhunter From Hell, I am called by a news producer almost every day to comment on how to keep your job today if you have one that is, and how to find a new one if you don't. My new TV show is referred to as "The Millionaire Matchmaker" meets "Chef Ramsey," as they say in TV pitch-talk. I play Chef Ramsey, if he were a headhunter.

I give the same, direct, common sense advice I give in my two books. The first one is called On the Job by Random House, and my newest HarperCollins' book is called Bulletproof Your Job. You can also read my workplace advice each week on this Huffington Post column.

Now, Robert "Joe" Halderman is not asking me for workplace advice. In fact, he won an Emmy, and if it weren't for his current circumstances, I might be asking him for advice for my new show. However, in my opinion, I think Joe has the same "image problem" that many white men over 50 have today when it comes to finding a job. The white-men-over-50 group is having the most difficult time finding jobs.

This was my initial thought after seeing Joe in the headlines and on TV. For God's sake Joe, shave off the goatee. I think it makes you look menacing and sort of like the devil. Even reminds me of John Corzine, and he is not doing so well in the polls. Corzine's deal is a bit different. He has almost a full beard, which is white, and yet the hair on his head is Regan brown.

This week, I was switching between the early, early morning TV shows, Imus, Morning Joe, and Willie Geist's Much Too Early. I saw celebrity detective Bo Deities on Imus, talking about going to New Jersey to "bring Christie over the top." Imus then responded to Deities asking, "Who is Chris Christie??...Christie...the fat guy?" Once again, we find the infamous I-Man assaulting people's physical attributes as he did with his 2007 "nappy headed hoes" comment.

Sadly, Imus's young boy, Frederick Wyatt, is quite a bit overweight, and the poor boy chose to be home-schooled. I wonder if the I-Man would taunt and mock his own son's over-eating if he were not his own father. Shame on you Imus -- mocking Christie's weight issue on the same show as your piggy number two. I would love to see the I-man on The Insider with his wife, and with his kid put on a scale. (He wants to be home, I am quite sure he is afraid of being tormented at school because of his dad. I fully support Imus' and his wife's charities. Thank goodness for guilt money. Imus is one guy who is very generous and put his check-book where his mouth is. In fact, I-man, I will donate my career series for any of your charities in a minute for returning vets!)

Back to the goatees -- doesn't that look remind you of the "devil"? Not exactly a way to face a jury of your peers or a job interview. I get that you may be in a creative field, and you think you can get away with it. But like I said, it just makes you look like the devil.

Take my advice. Go clean shaven -- especially those of you who are of the same age group as Robert "Joe" Halderman. Gentlemen, I get you are probably not in the same boat as Halderman and not allegedly blackmailing a famous celebrity. You do not need to influence a jury or the media, but think of it the same way -- the impression you make on the interviewers is just as important, so shave!

If "clothes makes the man" than "shaving" makes any man better.

This goatee thing really bothers me only second to the age inappropriate five o'clock shadow thing that you usually find on men too old to be wearing that look, which is so popular on TV today.

As a favor to a college buddy, I recently met with his nephew, a recent college grad, to give him some tips on jobs and interviewing. I then realized my "image makeover" for men was not limited to white men over 50. This kid's parents were born in the Middle East in Lebanon, and the nephew was born here in the USA. He's an Ivy League grad, smart and polite with good energy. However, he also had one of the goatee things. I gave him a mirror and bluntly explained to him the racism that happens to young men who look Arabic as well as African American.

Before I could even finish my explanation, he said he already knew everything I was saying to him. The nephew told me a Middle Eastern friend of his recently reached into his gym bag, grabbed a towel and draped a towel on this kid's head. He then said, "Look! Who we have here? Mahmoud Ahmadi Nejad ..." You know, the President of Iran -- with the name we can't pronounce. (By the way, my book On the Job has been banned in Iran by Mahmoud Admadi Nejad -- that's a good thing right?)

Although we both agreed it was wrong and to mock racial stereotypes was unacceptable, this young man's objective was to beat the "hiring system," get the job, then worry about the details of identity.

The techniques and strategies I invented and describe in my book are no different to the advice Dr. Phil gave Oprah as her jury expert many years ago when she was being sued. My book has been translated in Chinese, Korean, Spanish, Russian -- and many other languages, where my advice is often compared to as the same type of advice Dr. Phil gave to Oprah during those times.

It's simple. I teach you and show you how to "read who you are interviewing with" to land the job or "read your boss" to keep your current job! Genius? Hardly! It's just part intuition, part common sense, part chemistry and part image. Sorry -- qualifications are second to last!

My formula works when keeping a job, landing a job or influencing a jury. I also learned from my friend's nephew who was dressed for the part except for the goatee thing. I thought, "How can you afford that just out of school when the 50-plus guy has been out of work for a year and can't afford a new suit?" He said to me, "Macy's. I saw this ad for Alfani Red on Ne-Yo in GQ and thought it just might be affordable. The suits look and feel expensive but are pretty much under $300.00." Let's face it. In today's job market, whether we are young or old, we all need to look good for the best price we can get. So, I learned from him as he learned from me.

So, point of this blog is to go "clean shaven." Image does count, sometimes more than credentials...remember to use Crest White Strips, no cologne or perfumes, and men, watch the eye-brows. While you do not want to look like Andy Rooney, you do not want to look like "Boy George" either. (Don Imus seems to have it down right for his age -- Cowboy hat or not)

Let me know what you think. See you on TV :-)

You're always welcome to write me with your career dilemmas, and I'll answer you on this column.
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Disclaimer: The scenarios and events portrayed in this article are products of the author's imagination.
(c) Stephen Viscusi. All rights reserved. Article can be duplicated in part of full without author's permission.

Stephen Viscusi is the author of two books about jobs and the workplace. Charles Gibson from ABC's World News calls Viscusi, "America's Workplace Guru".

Viscusi is a TV broadcast journalist on jobs, a headhunter and resume spin doctor. His latest book, Bulletproof Your Job: 4 Simple Strategies to Ride Out the Rough Times and Come Out On Top at Work (HarperCollins) has been published around the globe in at least 9 languages including Chinese, Korean, Spanish and Portuguese.

Viscusi is also the founder of

Viscusi's headhunting and workplace advice is usually considered counter-intuitive to the conventional wisdom. Viscusi is not a career or life coach. To the contrary, his current book, Bulletproof Your Job has been described as the New Millennium's The Art of War, by Sun Tzu, and that's how Viscusi sees the workplace. He's your workplace General.

Each week, Stephen Viscusi volunteers his headhunting career advice to the world.
His disciples can be celebrities, politico, world leaders, heads of industry, and some are just ordinary people who write him for advice. It's like Tony Robbins advising Al Gore or Deepak Chopra advising Michael Jackson (wait, scratch that one).

You can get your own advice by writing to Stephen at or Facebook him or Twitter him at WorkplaceGuru.