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Recommendations on BODY ART


We define body art as consisting of eyebrow, nose, tongue or lip piercings, visible tattoos and alternative hairstyles/color.

As stated previously, first impressions go a long way. Most companies are looking to hire professional individuals. Not that body art makes a person less professional, but others may get the wrong message. Our overall recommendation when it comes to body art is to keep it at a minimum. Research the company that you are interested in. Do they have formal dress codes? Or, official policies regarding body art? If you are unsure or cannot find information, here are some basic suggestions:

  • Keep jewelry to the least amount possible
  • Limit yourself to one ring per hand
  • Try to limit piercings, by taking them out or wearing clear spacers
  • Wear conservative (small) earrings
  • If tattoos can be covered, do so, especially if they can be seen as offensive
  • Keep hair color looking natural (black, brunette, blonde, auburn, grey, etc.)
  • Hair should be well trimmed, clean, and neat no matter the style
  • If nail polish is worn, pick non-extreme colors, like clear or light pinks

Comments made by employers concerning body art (and their policies):

• My company's policy is nothing over the top. The reality, though, no one wants to see any of it. Think about the demographic of who most hiring managers are and I'm sure one will realize that they grew up in a time where tattoos and piercings were unacceptable. As a hiring manager, I don't want to see someone else's 'self expression' all over his/her arms, neck, face, etc.

• As mentioned, they're obviously very acceptable. However, I would absolutely remove them for ANY encounter with a company you're pursuing. Again, you do not want to be remembered for your tattoo or piercing. When I see these things at a career fair, information session, or interview, I assume that a student is not ready for the real world.

• Although we don't discriminate in our hiring or promotion because of these items; we do have to point out that some of our clients/customers may object to them and if they ask them not to wear them we'd have to pass that request on the employee. Additionally, we ask that professional staff dress appropriately for our work environment. We have found that most employees use common sense in this area.

• Tattoos and piercings are fine; however, should not be outwardly displayed during the interview - takes away from the candidate's credibility.

• We value differences and do not discriminate based on these ways of expression. As long as they are not inappropriate (swear words, depictions of violence or nudity), they should not pose much of a problem. Inappropriate tattoos could represent harassment to others if they are visible, or could make others uncomfortable in their work environment and we can't allow that in the workplace. To the extent that they are not inappropriate, they do not buy you any benefit either, and could be a distraction during the interview. We would recommend that you try to minimize distraction and represent yourself based on your experiences and credentials.

• Body art is ok however it cannot be offensive and depending on the content needs to be concealed.

• While we don't have a policy that speaks to it, it is highly dependent on the type of job that the person is applying for. When working with members of the public/clients/etc, we discourage offensive material.

• We don't care that people have them and don't change our mind to the negative if once we hire someone that they show up with piercings or show their tattoos, but for some reason in the interview process you should refrain from displaying them. First impressions are very important and some things are more understandable and acceptable once you know them.

• We are in a creative business, and a tasteful amount of body art would not be a problem. Self-expression is a good thing! That said, an amount of body art that draws an inordinate amount of attention can be counter-productive. In an interview, you want the interviewer to focus on what you are saying or the work you are presenting--not trying to read your tattoos or count your piercings. It should be noted that the interviewer is not only hiring you to sit at a desk all day but also to interact with clients and others in the profession as a firm representative--and if they feel that clients or other professionals would be troubled by the amount or content of body art, this could work against you.

• Earrings are fine in the ear, but other facial jewelry must be removed. Tattoos need to be covered.

• Definitely no body piercings or tattoos which could offend people (either employees or customers). Anything offensive would not be acceptable. Engineers need to look professional in all environments.

• No formal policy, but it does not exhibit a professional image.

• Visible piercings other than two at the most on ears (men or women) strictly unacceptable. Don't even think about tongues, eyebrows, noses, lips, etc. Visible tattoos unacceptable.

• Will vary depending on how obvious/distracting, from one hiring manager to the next. Construction tends to be less formal, yet is somewhat 'old school' about guys with earrings, etc.

• No policies. Appropriate clothes should cover your belly.

• Pierced ears (on women) are just fine. Any other piercings or tattoos are not appropriate for a professional appearance. Pierced ears and tattoos on men are unprofessional.

• We understand that they are common and just ask that our employees don't have facial piercings and that tattoos are covered.

• Our company culture is very open and we have no policies regarding body art and/or piercings.

• Depends on the position in the company and the contact the individual will have with our clients.

• We don't have any policies that address these issues, we ask our employees to present themselves in a neat manner.

• Tattoos should be covered, and minimal/reasonable piercings are acceptable (ear)

• Anyone in the public eye will not display tattoos or body piercings on the face or hands. Earrings (1 or a pair) is considered acceptable.

• Okay if hidden with clothing

• Earrings only one piercing, no showable body art or body tattoos that would be offensive (such as nose, tongue)

• They should not be seen.

• Our company does not have a specific policy. However, tattoos should not be visible and piercings should be at a minimum.

• Tattoos should be covered up, they tend to scare some people. Piercings only in ears and not too many. This is a personal choice and candidates need to realize that companies will have policies, so be ready to comply.

• Other than ear piercing, body art and piercings should be covered at work.

• Cover them up.

• Fairly liberal, if person will be meeting with clients, a little more reserved, but would not automatically rule out hiring someone unless very large piercing/tattoo

• Tattoos should not be visible. Piercings are limited to ears only.

• They should not be distracting to the students or to those that need to listen and respond. We are not against any of this unless it is vulgar

• We don't have a policy. But tattoos should not show and piercings should be limited to ears.

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North Dakota State University
Phone: +1 (701) 231-7111 / Fax: (701) 231-8756
Campus address: Ceres Hall 306
Physical/delivery address: 1301 Administration Ave., Fargo, ND 58102
Mailing address: NDSU Dept. 5280 / PO Box 6050 / Fargo, ND 58108-6050
Page manager: Career Center

Last Updated: Friday, July 29, 2011 9:20:38 AM