The world is becoming an increasingly casual place. This runs the gamut from workplaces now allowing business casual attire throughout the week to seeing people in the grocery store dressed in pajamas and slippers. In part, these changes are the result of our ongoing revolution as a society where free expression is encouraged more than ever before. Unfortunately, we’ve all witnessed examples of where free expression goes too far with a negative result.
Judging the Environment
It’s reasonable to say that most of us are happy to rid ourselves of the working attire that our mothers and grandmothers, fathers and grandfathers wore. Today many of those clothing items feel too formal and too stiff to fit in with our increasingly casual environment. Still there is a fine line to what’s reasonably acceptable and what is better left for after work hours.
Some of these things are easier to know than others. Ill-fitting clothing (too short or too long) or too much make-up or perfume can easily become a billboard of what not to do. Other things can be more difficult to navigate such as the display of tattoos and piercings. A 2012 Harris poll found that 1 in 5 adults sport a tattoo. Fast forward four years later and it’s reasonable the number is even higher now.
Navigating the New Norm
The growing prevalence of people sporting alternative art brings up the question of whether or not showing off a piercing or tattoo is more acceptable on a job interview or in the workplace. That’s a tricky question best summed up as, “that depends.” Many companies have widely differing views on the subject and the answer can often depend on the industry, the role in the company and the level of visibility the role has with customers.
In many cases, the old advice to cover the tattoo for the first interview remains a safe bet, but it also a good idea to inquire if the company has a policy on tattoos and piercings. This is particularly important if you interview with a company for a role where you have an interest to grow through the ranks in the future.
Ask, Don’t Assume
One of the best ways to navigate these possible issues is to ask questions of your own. A recruiter and current and former employees can be a great resource to ask these important questions prior to sitting in front of a hiring manager. A recruiter in particular knows the company’s culture and understands how particular do’s and don’ts have the potential to make or break an interview. Understanding these subtleties is an important part of being an informed candidate. The interview is a time when you want to be remembered for the skills you bring to the position rather than the ink or piercings you sport.
This article is brought to you by Staffing Kansas City, a full-service Kansas City employment agency that provides contract-to-hire, direct hire and temporary employment placement services.