Having a tattoo can reduce your chances of getting a job, but it depends on where the tattoo is, what it depicts and if the job involves dealing with customers, a new research has found.Dr Andrew R Timming from the School of Management at the University of St Andrews found that employers are prone to viewing tattoos negatively. Timming spoke to managers involved in hiring staff about their reaction to interview candidates with visible tattoos. The managers worked for organisations including a hotel, bank, city council, prison, university and bookseller.One woman manager told him that “they make a person look dirty”. A male manager told him “subconsciously that would stop me from employing them.”Another male manager said “tattoos are the first thing they [fellow recruiters] talk about when the person has gone out of the door.
The managers were concerned about what their organisations’ customers might think.Respondents expressed concern that visibly tattooed workers may be perceived by customers to be ‘abhorrent’, ‘repugnant’, ‘unsavoury’ and ‘untidy’. It was surmised that customers might project a negative service experience based on stereotypes that tattooed people are thugs and druggies. Timming also found that in some of the organisations it was only certain types of tattoos that diminished the chances of getting a job at interview.Tattoo acceptance was at its highest with innocuous symbols like flowers or butterflies. Military insignia was also seen as a ‘badge of honour’,” he said. Examples of distasteful tattoos given by the managers included ‘a spider’s web tattooed on the neck’; ‘somebody being hung, somebody being shot’; ‘things to do with death’; ‘face tears, which suggest that you’ve maimed or killed’; ‘something of a sexual content’; anything with ‘drug connotations’; and ‘images with racist innuendo’ such as a swastika. Timming’s interviewees worked for 14 organisations with between one and 24,000 staff, and were all based in mid or southern Scotland. The managers were aged in their 30s, 40s, 50s and 60s.