The #Millennial with the Dragon Tattoo (and why it doesn't matter)
If you are struggling to attract Millennials to fill the employment gap and you have a dress code, you may want to read this blog post. And by "may" I mean you should... you most definitely should.
I recently read a "horror story" on an HR forum I routinely troll. It went like this: Applicant walks into an interview. Applicant has stellar credentials that on paper are perfect for the open position. Applicant has a tattoo on her arm. Interview goes great. Applicant doesn't get the job. Why? BECAUSE SHE HAS A VISIBLE TATTOO. (DUN DUN DUN!) The tattoo wasn't offensive - it was a small flower. It didn't drop the "F-Bomb" or make a quasi-political statement like us #Millennials love to do. It was just some permanent body art, but that tattoo trumped (no pun intended) the Applicant's intelligence and other attractive credentials.
For some of you reading this, you're thinking "I get it! There's no place for tattoos in the workplace!" Well, the joke's probably on you because someone scooped up that Applicant with the Tattoo (and it was probably someone like me).
Here's the thing: This may come as a bit of a shock but having a tattoo or piercing actually doesn't impact my ability to do my job. It also doesn't change the fact that I (1) went to college, (2) went to law school, (3) somehow graduated from law school, (4) passed the bar exam, (5) got a "real job," and (6) started a law firm. My guess is other people have experienced the phenomenon of being intelligent, witty, successful, AND having a tattoo. The world is nuts.
The Applicant with the Dragon Tattoo isn't any less of a person because of the tattoo. Their education and experience isn't worth any less because of their tattoo. Their personality isn't somehow damaged because of the tattoo. It may be a crazy thought, but they are actually quite similar to the Applicants without a tattoo and possibly (such as in the above case) more qualified.
According to the Society of Human Resource Management, over 50% of Millennials have a tattoo or body piercing and that percentage continues to rise. #Godhelpusall. Many of these tattoos may be seen at various times of the year depending on the attire being worn (which will be the subject matter of Part 5). For employers who have a dress code policy that forbids tattoos and body piercings, you may have some issues attracting Millennials which may in turn lead to a dying workforce, which, if you do the math correctly, will lead to your company's demise with no one left to run the show. By then, it will be too late to recover.
I sympathize and understand that employers may not want someone with offensive images and words tattooed across their body. I get that. But a blanket statement against all body art - probably not the best way to survive the next 10-20 years. This means you will need a carefully worded dress code that will adequately address the offensive while not actively offending over 50% of Millennials. Also, in case you are wondering, I can help with that.
If you think this conversation is nutso, wait until Part 5 when I talk about why not wearing a suit and tie is not a big deal. The saga continues.... #byefelicia