Lots of companies with long-standing employee policies concerning tattoos have been forced to review them in recent years. Even so, many firms still have deeply ingrained prejudices (however misguided) against job applicants with ink. It leads to a conundrum every time an opportunity comes up: should you cover up your tattoos for the job interview?
There’s no denying the fact that tattoos have become more prevalent in recent years. A few decades ago, it might be rare for a job applicant to have a visible tattoo (especially in a white-collar setting), but now, studies show that more than a third of young adults sport some ink.
Data compiled by the Pew Research Center showed that 38% of adults under 30 have at least one tattoo. Meanwhile, further stats indicate that multiple tattoos have become the normal, with 70% of people with tattoos having more than one (and one out of every five having at least five tattoos).
Even with the normalization of ink and a wider acceptance in the workplace, you still have a decision to make when interviews come up. Here are a few things you should keep in mind:
Read the Situation
You can’t have a single policy that optimizes your chances at grabbing every opportunity. You have to read individual situations, so that you have the highest probability to land each job. That’s true of every aspect of the job search process, and especially pertinent when it comes to considering whether to hide your tattoos.
Different companies have different attitudes about employee appearance. You can gain some insight by studying the company ahead of time. Check out their website and their social media feeds. Look at how employees are dressed in the pictures. From this, you can get a sense of how the company perceives itself. You might even be able to find company guidelines online that detail their policies about attire and tattoos.
The industry might give some clues as well. This is stereotyping, of course, but forward-looking industries, like tech, tend to have a more casual attitude about tattoos. Meanwhile, more traditionally conservative industries, like banking, might be less open.
Consider Your Specific Tattoos
Beyond the particular company, you should take a look at your specific tattoos. A small butterfly on the ankle might have a different impact on an interviewer than, say, a dagger tattooed on your neck. In other words, some tattoos will likely stir more controversy than others.
Also consider the lengths you would have to go to cover up your tattoos. If your tattoos are easy to conceal, like those on the upper arm or on the back, you might be better off covering them up and not worrying about it. However, if you’d have to take elaborate means to disguise every bit of ink you have, you might end up looking strange or uncomfortable. In that case, it might be better to just show them off and deal with any conversation they spark.
Interview Vs. Job
Remember: an interview is different than a day-to-day job. Covering up a tattoo on the interview doesn’t mean you’ll never be able to show it in the office. Once the decision-makers at the company know more about you, they might be more open to a little personal expression.
Think about it this way: the interview is about making a first impression. The best thing you can do is to keep the focus on your skills and accomplishments, and off of anything superficial. You can save the tattoo reveal until you’re further along in the recruitment process.
That said, interviews are also about you feeling comfortable about the company. It’s a two-way street. You might have to take a job to pay the bills. But if a firm doesn’t fit with your long-term lifestyle, you might only view it as a short-term stop, before looking for something that fits your personality better.
Connecting with a company is a key component of an engaging and energizing job. Partnering with a top-flight staffing firm, like TriStarr, makes finding a position that suits your personality much easier.
Contact TriStarr today to find out more.