Survey: Hide that tattoo at job interview

Got a tattoo? It could interfere with your getting a job.

Survey: Hide that tattoo at job interview
A new survey shows that employees are getting the message that plenty of bosses find visible tattoos or body piercings objectionable in the workplace.

So add body art to the other impediments to getting a job: ageism, sexism, outdated skills, or even resembling the job recruiter's nasty neighbor.

"Some would argue that they [tattoos] are a legitimate form of self expression and shouldn't be regulated by an employer," says Mark Oldman, co-founder and president of career site and publisher, which did the survey.

"But, like it or not, many employers feel that flagrant tattoos detract from one's professional appearance. While they may be less unsavory now, they still can carry a counterculture, Hells Angels flavor, especially the more angry-looking tattoos."

Others agree. Of 468 employees who were online respondents to Vault's 2007 Tattoo and Body Piercing Survey, 85 percent said, yes, such body decorations impede a candidate's chance of getting the job, a big jump up from just 19 percent who said that in the 2001 survey.

While 42 percent of this year's respondents said they have at least one tattoo and/or body piercing -- apart from pierced ears -- more than half of them say they are discreet about it at work.

That may be because bosses are cracking down. The percentage of respondents saying they're aware of their employers' official policies on tattoos and piercings has doubled to 16 from the eight who said that six years ago.

Lucille Mavrokefalos, director of human resources consulting at Portnoy Messinger Pearl & Associates, Inc. in Syosset, says she can't think of one employee handbook she's written or updated in this past year that does NOT have some language related to body art. In most cases, employers are requiring that tattoos be covered and body jewelry be confined to ears -- apart from some factory sites where such rings and chains are prohibited altogether.

She's even heard of a food product employer who asks new hires to stick out their tongues to make sure they don't have tongue rings.

High school students express dismay, she says, during interview-skills workshops she conducts, saying, "Why can't I express myself? Why can't they accept me the way I am?" Her answer, "You can express yourself all you want - outside the workplace."

Certainly an employer's receptivity to body art differs from industry to industry. And in a small number of cases, a tattoo can actually work in your favor, says Oldman, who points to an Apple or Nintendo tattoo for those working at those companies as "the ultimate expression of corporate loyalty."

Though body art is not the norm at Vault, he can cite employees with tattoos of shooting stars, flowers, Chinese characters that translate to "live long," the initials of the employee's grandfather. Still, he says, on days they have client contact, it's expected that people will cover up such body art.


Güncelleme Tarihi: 27 Temmuz 2007, 01:21