You got yourself inked in your second year of college following some of your peers or just because you thought body tattoos is the new trend or maybe the tattoos of different designs, shapes, colours, each with their own personal meaning attract you.
To you they display art and an expression of your own identity.
However, it is difficult to say what they might think of this art expression, especially if it is a conservative company or a government body.
Today body art is as commonly seen as fruits and vegetable sellers on the streets.
We all might know people who have got body art done or we ourselves might have several tattoos all over our body, not to mind the numerous ear piercings, the naval and eyebrow piercing.
Tattoos on wrist, forearms and the nape of neck are a commonplace sight. However, looking at the competitive job interview scenario, the appearances and the first impression of the person matter much to the hiring manager and determine whether or not the candidate would be selected for the job.
However, it is presumed that since the tattoos and piercings are so prevalent in the present generation, it would be more than acceptable in the workplace as well. But this is not so. As much as your qualifications and experiences are important for the job, your presentation, body language, way of speaking and expressing yourself hold an equal value.
Not only do the tattoos and piercings make the interviewer question the trust factor that is, how much can they trust you but also judge you to be egoistic and having a lot of attitude problems only by your body art and this goes against their company and candidate policy as they prefer confident people yet someone who can be moulded and changed for the company’s betterment, someone who would gleefully accept duties given to them and not be too expressive about the responsibilities and company goals.
The scene is a little different in creative organizations like an ad agency, a media organization or a young start-up company based on products and services for the youth.
Studies have however shown that mostly co-workers shy away from opening up to people with body art and piercings, especially with non-concealable tattoos. Also, most companies go by the rulebook that the candidate must not make the recruiter get distracted to something that is not important to the purpose of the interview itself or that makes the candidate look unprofessional.
Sometimes even coloured locks or bright-coloured hair streaks can also cause the tables not to turn in your favour. However, while some recruiters and co-workers might still consider the funky look stylish and cool, tattoos and piercings are still things that everyone is not quite open to, especially if it is not discreet. There is also a big, wide generational gap between people accepting tattoos and people considering it madness or a quirky activity that they can’t relate to.
While for entry-level jobs, tattoo art might still be considered okay in companies but for senior positions, employers look forward to people who look and act more professional, responsible and mature. Tattoos and piercings are though expressive arts and is also growing as an industry yet the people getting them done are not always thought as responsible, matured and to say the least, professional.
While things differ from industry to industry, however, tattoos and piercings are believed to be making people less marketable. Though people who are smart, hardworking, intelligent and have showed team-playing skills before are given chances in an interview, people with concealed tattoos are preferred more than those who have non-discreet tattoos all over the place.
Tattoos though are becoming acceptable in the society with the passage of time, however businesses where client servicing is an important aspect avoid hiring full-arm-tattooed people.
For people to be more careful about their appearance in job interviews, employers must put up their policies on tattoos and body piercing online or on their vacancy ads and review such policies often, also ensuring that these policies are completely enforced in the company.
While semi-formal dress codes have become more acceptable, concealing tattoos with full-sleeves shirts or collared neck tops is advisable while going for the interview as you don’t want the interviewer to be taken aback by your appearance or in a worse situation that everything goes well in the interview but you fail to get any response from the company, only to know later that someone else has replaced you just because you appeared ‘unprofessional’ to them. You may deem the whole process as discriminatory however, the recruiters have their own valid reason to choose anyone without any tattoo or piercing over you.
Before getting a tattoo made, you must think of the field you want to work in. if your career field is open to artistic expressions like for example a booking agency or a rather creative genre like even a PR firm or out and out journalist agency, you can freely get tattoos, bold hair colours and cuts and piercings wherever and however you want as they are more flexible in terms of appearance rules. But if you plan to enter a more conservative or traditional workplace set-up you better keep yourself from expressing your artistic side too much. In the case of the latter, you may even have to explain the reason for your tattoo or the meaning of the same during the interview. Ensure that the tattoo does not provoke any offensive or overtly sarcastic content.
Also take into account the company culture as you do not want to work in a company where your appearances matter more than your work! The company may never say it out-front that they have a problem with your tattoos however, it will be all the more worse if you get terminated because of a work-related reason while the actual reason may be your non-discreet tattoos!
After all, if you can make a statement with your tattoo that screams your unique values and policies, you can surely make a career decision suited to your personality and interests! However, you may start with a company in a conservative manner but later when you prove yourself with your work, you can choose to show off some of your tattoos. You can alternatively choose to make your tattoos more private by having them at places nobody would dare to see – your own secret identity. (*winks*)