HR Help: Tattooed Job Candidates

Owning a company isn’t easy.  You know that.  Effective human resource management, especially in this day and age, is increasingly more difficult.  Do you have job candidates showing up for interviews with tattoos?  Tattoos were once a sign of rebellion, but in recent decades they have become a part of mainstream culture. Even mild-mannered soccer moms are getting “inked’.  This new normal leaves hiring managers and job seekers alike trying to figure out how tattoos factor into the hiring process.

What Tattooed Job Candidates Wonder

It used to be simple: hide your tattoo during the job interview, and keep it covered up at work. That is, if you were wild enough to have a tattoo in the first place. According to NPR, one in five adults have a tattoo. Tattoos in the 21st century are a common form of self-expression, and have also become a well-respected art form. Since tattoos have become so prevalent, some tattooed job candidates are less strict about hiding them during the job search process. After all, there’s a 20% chance that the hiring manager has a tattoo, right?

What Hiring Managers Might See

A hiring manager in a creative industry might look at a tattooed interviewee and see a creative person who is comfortable presenting their authentic selves, even in a professional setting. Some hiring managers might even be so used to tattooed job candidates that they barely notice the tattoo at all.  However, not all industries are equally tattoo-friendly.  Right or wrong, hiring managers who need a customer-facing employee in a conservative industry, such as banking, may see tattoos as a sign that the candidate isn’t the best fit for the job.

The Risk of Hiring Discrimination

Many companies have policies regarding tattoos and piercings included in their dress codes, and that needs to be taken into account when assessing a candidate’s ability to adhere to those policies. Even tattooed hiring managers sometimes discriminate against certain tattoos.  Chelsea Booker, a catering manager who spoke to NPR said, “I have tattoos, and I discriminate against people with tattoos. I see people come in with stars on their face — why would you do that?”

An Interview Strategy

Tattoos have infiltrated the hiring process from both sides of the interview table, but culture still has not evolved to the point that tattoos are widely accepted as workplace appropriate.  One strategy that hiring managers and job candidates alike will benefit from: cover-and-tell.  If you’re interviewing for a job, hide your tattoo during the interview, but mention it to the interviewer. Disclosing that you may not be able to adhere to the dress code will show just how professional and considerate you are.  The fact is: if the company has a problem with tattoos and you’ve got one that’s tough to hide, you might be happier working someplace else.  Do tattoos affect how you hire?

BWTP is more than just an accounting firm.  We’re here to help you and your company succeed.  Effective employee management is vital to your bottom line.  Contact us today if you have questions or need any help!




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