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HR and Tattoos The Ongoing Debate

Posted on May 01 2012

Tattoo Policies at Work


Like anything, there are people who believe that tattoos are a form of art and then there are those people who believe that anyone who would deface their own bodies must be horrible people.

In the corporate world, most organizations frown upon visible tattoos. They write policies that support no visible tattoo policies and have numerous reasons why having visible tattoos should not be allowed.

That being said according to a recent HR article I read, even though companies frown upon tattoos, many HR professionals look for the following criteria before making a snap judgment about hiring a tattooed candidate.

    • Tattoo Size – The size of your tattoo speaks directly to your judgment. Apparently having a large tattoo equals poor judgment in their minds.
    • Placement of Tattoo – The placement of your tattoo apparently tells HR folks how willing you are to comply with the rules. If they can see your tattoos, they have already secretly written you off as a future problem employee.
    • Symbolism of Tattoo – The what is important and your ability to tell a story about your art speaks volumes. Having a breast cancer tattoo to honor your mothers fight is likely to be more acceptable than a skull tattoo you got just for the heck of it. If you can tell a compelling story as to why you chose your artwork you may still have a chance at a job offer.
    • Quantities of Tattoos – HR will judge on the number of tattoos you have as they think more tattoos equal addictive personality.

After reading this list, does anyone else think that HR professional may have a slight superiority complex? Why should someone have to explain the story behind their ink in order to not be judged? And why do multiple tattoos automatically mean you have an addictive personality?

About the Author of “HR and Tattoos The Ongoing Debate”:
Nicole Bodem is freelance writer and a regular contributor to the Tat2X blog.