”Tattoo- U”

By Jamila Cherif


If you have ever thought that your tattoo or piercing is holding you back from getting a job, you may be right. During interviews, the smallest details are considered and can be prejudices. tattoo-man-in-suitThe interview process is not only about your qualifications, but also your presentation.  “Although employers try to avoid making judgments on appearance, usually they would rather not hire someone who has body art,” says Brian K. Miller, an associate professor in the Department of Management at Texas States University. He adds, “Studies have shown mainstream companies prefer not to work with people who have non-concealable body art.”

Based on a study conducted by the American Academy of Dermatology,  36 percent of people between 18 and 29 have at least one tattoo, while 24 percent of Americans between the ages 18 and 50 have one. Despite the prevalence of tattoos, most people don’t have them.

When asked about a candidate’s appearance for an interview, an interviewer naturally answered that “appearance does not influence their decision,” affirmed Sandy Rowe, former editor of The Oregonian. Rowe says, ”but that really can’t be true if you’re engaging with someone who dresses provocatively, or the way they’re dressed is completely unprofessional.” She suggests job-seekers to avoid dressing inappropriately, which can be distracting.

Even though you have the freedom to express yourself however you please, which can include body art and piercings, employers want to hire someone who appears and acts professionally, Brian K. Miller says. Moreover, job candidates should be aware that some companies have policies that ban facial tattoos and piercings in the workplace.

If you decide to get a tattoo, career advisers recommend getting the tattoo in a place on your body that is easily concealed. If visible, you may be asked to explain your tattoo, so be prepared to answer those questions with potential employers, considering whether the content of the tattoo is offensive to anyone.

When asked about whether having tattoos affected their ability to get a job, responses varied. “Yes and no, a few years back my tattoos were an issue for employers,” says Meghan Henoumont, student at Delgado’s City Park Campus.

“However, when I began teaching pre-K about four years ago, I was allowed to show the one on my wrist as long as the others remained covered. I’ve learned that a job that would hassle me or disregarded my qualifications over my skin art is not worth it. I’m all for covering them if need be but if I’m made to feel uncomfortable by workplace judgment, I’ll look elsewhere.’’

“Sometimes, but not in all jobs because it is not presentable and some companies would want you to cover the tattoos up, mostly when you need to interact with people,” says Khalifa Gueye, Globalstar Inc., customer care representative.

“I was very conscious about where I put tattoos, with the exception of one which I regret to this day,” says Jeremy Johnson, student at Delgado’s City Park Campus. “I never wanted to be judged by my body art. Of the four tattoos that I have, three of them are not clearly visible for reasons of employment.”

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