If you glance around a crowd, you’ll probably noticed tattoos are everywhere. In fact, nearly half (47%) of American millennials have at least one tattoo. So, when you’re interviewing candidates, odds are, you’ll see a tattoo. Should this impact your hiring decisions? Or can tattooed talent be your top talent?
How Tattoos Influence Hiring Decisions
Depending on the situation, tattoos may or may not impact hiring decisions. In a survey of 500 recruiters, 41% admitted to rejecting a tattooed candidate because of a strict employer dress code. (Other problematic issues included casual clothing, visible piercings and brightly dyed hair.) However, without specific rules, the impact of tattoos on hiring seems split. According to Inc. Magazine, one study showed “no meaningful difference in employment levels or pay between people with or without tattoos.” But other research found hiring managers viewed applicants with extreme tattoos as less competent and committed than those without body art. Of course, individual personalities play a role too. A hiring manager with tattoos is more likely to consider a candidate who also has tattoos. In other words, it goes both ways.
How to Hire Top Talent WITHOUT Being Distracted by Tattoos
Be Aware of Personal Biases
Automatically liking people who remind us of ourselves is part of human nature. Psychologists refer to this as affinity bias. It’s why we prefer candidates without tattoos if we don’t have tattoos and visa versa. Although overcoming these innate biases is nearly impossible, we CAN recognize the power of faulty first impressions. If your instant reaction to a tattooed candidate is “Nope!” take a moment to step back. Ask yourself, “Am I rejecting this person based on appearances or will I take the time to truly assess their abilities?”
Evaluate Their Skills
It’s easy to misjudge someone by simply looking at them. Yet, when you watch them in action, you’ll gain a truer appreciation of their capabilities. Therefore, experts recommend incorporating experiential interviewing or work sample tests into the hiring process to make it more objective. “Programmers write code. Sales reps make a sales call. Marketers create promotional materials.” (SHRM, 2018) After all, if someone has exceptional on-the-job skills, chances are you won’t care how many tattoos they do or don’t have.
Create a Company-Wide Tattoo Policy
While some businesses tend to be more conservative, others celebrate artistic individuality. Neither viewpoint is inherently wrong, but your organization does need to clarify your policies. For example, you don’t want a customer-facing worker to have offensive tattoos on their face. If you’re not sure how to write the rules, check out the Starbucks Dress Code Look Book which includes a section on tattoos.
Does Your Organization Need Help Finding Top Talent?
At Connectology, our recruiters place industry-leading employees with top manufacturing organizations throughout the upper Midwest. We can match you with right-fit workers (tattooed or not) who will make an immediate impact on your team. Contact us today to discover your next superstar!