Recently I had a discussion with a colleague about a blog I had written, Job Interviews and Tattoos and was surprised that the feedback I received was their belief that most potential employers have a negative perception when it comes to tattoos and body piercings. It is highly likely that many of these people are also sporting tattoos and possibly body piercings too allbeit, discreetly, as most professionals understand that any potential distractions should be eliminated.
Have you seen the Tide-To-Go Interview commercial of a man being interviewed that has a large stain on his shirt? An exaggeration, yes, but still a great example of an interviewer faced with a distraction. The interviewer is unable to concentrate, (hearing instead, “blah, blah, blah, blah”), on anything the job candidate is saying because the stain on the front of his shirt is too much of a distraction. So too can a sloppily dressed person, a loud shirt, tattoos or body piercings create distractions.
It is impossible to make a good first impression if something is getting in the way, a distraction! When conversing with someone sporting a tongue piercing, are you able to look them directly in the eyes or are you staring in their mouth? If you meet someone with a large tattoo on their arm, do you notice the “snake picture”, (and you hate snakes) or will you see a well dressed, sophisticated, confident person? You love the brightly coloured polka dot shirt that the job candidate is sporting and whether you want to know where it was purchased or you are thinking that it is not appropriate to wear to a job interview, it is a distraction and takes away from focussing on the candidate and their talents.
Yes, some distractions will be negative, but whether negative or positive, it is the distraction that is the problem. So if you are entering into any meeting and want to exude a professional, confident and highly successful impression, hide the tattoos, remove the obvious body piercings, change the mohawk hair style, don a conservative suit and make sure you are wearing a clean shirt!