Although companies worldwide are slowly taking a more liberal approach to staff having tattoos, for some employers it can still be a deal breaker.
UK health retailer Holland and Barrett made the news this weekend after turning down a job candidate because of his tattoos. After the first stage of the interview process the candidate, 18-year-old Logan McNicholas, was told that he did really well, but asked if it was possible to cover up the tattoos on his hands.
McNicholas suggested he could wear gloves, which the company deemed to be inappropriate. As a result, the company decided not to offer him the job.
According to the Manchester Evening News (MEN), bosses at Holland and Barrett told the candidate that they were unable to hire him because the company has ‘high standards of personal appearance’ and that any body art has to be covered up.
“Although we do not discriminate against tattoos, like most high-street retailers we do ask staff to observe high standards of personal appearance and dress, including covering tattoos when serving customers”, a spokesman from the health retailer told the news site.
Aside from being disappointed about missing out on the job opportunity, McNicholas was most upset about the fact that the company policy regarding tattoos did not come up sooner during the application process or two-hour interview. Instead, he was told only after he’d completed a trial session at the store.
“If there is such a policy then why allow him to work for two hours with customers?”, his father wonders in the Manchester Evening News article. “Why not say so on the website during the application process?”
In Hong Kong, candidates with clearly visible tattoos might run into similar difficulties when applying for jobs. Last year, Alexa Chow Yee Ping, managing director of AMAC Human Resources Consultants, explained that the city is nowhere as open towards tattoos as Western countries. Due to the service oriented economy, companies are wary about presenting a professional image to clients.
“It is not officially written in company policies or employee handbooks, but employers in finance, banking and other professionals are highly unlikely to offer a job to a person with a tattoo”, she said.
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