Tuesday, November 30, 2010
I am asked questions on a daily basis from my clients, my colleagues, my students and my 17 year old son ("Mom, can I ___fill in this blank_________?").
Today, I was actually rendered speechless during a conversation with an individual about the economy and how she is seeing a pick up in hires in the Atlanta area. She went on to discuss a situation where she had a position to fill and her #1 candidate wasn't a cultural fit. I said, "Why is that?" She told me, "He has a tattoo on his wrist, I really thought he was so smart until I saw that." She went on to say that she was going to have to come up with a reason not to hire him and wished that she could have a side conversation with him about covering up his tattoo with makeup.
Really? Are we in 1950?
She then continued to rant about the younger generation and their need to express themselves using tattoos. "Didn't they understand how that ruins their job search?"
I had to ask her a question: "Why is the wrist tattoo a barrier to entry in your organization?"
Are you ready for this answer, from an experienced HR professional?
'You know how people are that get tattoos, they aren't serious about work, and they probably drink and do drugs." I was hoping for the usual, mantra about being a traditional firm and we don't want to offend our customers, blah blah...That would have been more palatable, even though I don't agree. I couldn't believe what I just heard.
I am speechless....crickets are chirping.
I asked her if she considered me smart. She said she had looked up to me for years and that I am an expert in my field. I asked her did she think I am serious about my work. Yes...she said.
She asked me, "Why do you ask?"
I raised my pants and showed her this:
I pulled my hair up and showed her this:
If I could have taken my shirt off to show her my back....I would have.
Now, she was speechless....and I walked out.
I can't believe this really happens. Am I naive or do hiring professionals really still bring this much bias to the process?
It's enough to make a girl with tattoos drink and do drugs...LOL