Tattoos and job interviews – do you still need to cover up?

It wasn’t long ago that people were warned off tattoos because getting inked up would make you “unemployable”. So is that still the case today? And if so, what can you do about it?

The times they are a’changin’

While back in the day tattoos used to be only found on sailors, criminals and Kings (George V had a massive dragon tattoo on his arm!), today tattoos are commonplace, especially here in New Zealand.

With one-in-five people inked here in Aotearoa, the stigma of having a tattoo is less than other Western Countries, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t one.

Some employers might frown upon a tattoo, while others won’t even look twice at it. Everyone is different, and other factors such as where you have a tattoo, what the tattoo is, and what type of job you’re going for, all play a role.

What to consider when going for a job interview

First of all, you should probably decide on one thing; would you want to work for a company that discriminates against people with tattoos?

Even if the company is ok with tattoos, where do yours fit in? Do you have an intricate sleeve with some beautiful photo-realistic artwork? Or is it a crudely drawn image of Homer Simpson bending Marge over a table?

No matter how cool your boss is, they probably don’t want their customers seeing that.

If you think your tattoo might put a potential employer off, then it’s best to cover it up for the job interview (if you can). Once the interview is over, and you feel you’ve done well, that would be a good time to bring up your ink and any potential issues that may arise.

If you can’t cover it up, for instance if it’s a neck tattoo, then you’ll just have to bite the bullet and use your charm to win them over. Don’t ignore the elephant in the room either – ask if having a neck tattoo is a problem. It probably won’t be if you’re applying for a job as a barman, but it might be if you’re wanting to be a Primary School teacher.

At the end of the day, the stigma of having a tattoo when looking for a job is an old and dying one. Assuming you don’t have a swastika in the middle of your forehead, you’re probably going to be fine.

Even then you can always apply for a job at the White House.

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