Th(ink) before you ink. Have perceptions come of age?

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For Nishant Bhatia, a senior art director at a Mumbai-based advertising agency, having a tattoo is not an issue at his workplace. At his agency, a firm well-known for creating out-of-box ideas ads for high-profile brands, almost half of his colleagues have body art and piercings. Nishant has five Chinese-inspired designs, covering half of his wrist.

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Given the creative culture of his workplace, Nishant says, “What defines us is what we bring to the client in terms of ideas and delivery, not our tattoos or piercings”. It was during his previous job with a Multinational corporate, Nishant would often cover his tattoos but would often wonder how his body art would leave a negative impact on others in his professional network. His approach on body art and piercings is evidently unbiased.

Tattoos and piercings have long been a taboo at workplaces. However, the changing trend is breaking stereotypes associated with body art and professionals are now looking at it as part of one’s personal identity.

Concerned about how you will be perceived during a job interview because of your body art? Should you reveal or hide it? Keep in mind a few tips to make sure you get through the process smoothly.

Industry matters

One of the most important factors that could affect your decision to either reveal or hide your tattoo or piercing is the industry to choose to work in. BFSI and Hospitality are two sectors where tattoos and piercings are not seen as individuals need to come across as highly professional to clients and customers. You may want to get it right in terms of what’s acceptable for a particular industry.

What the policies say?

Irrespective of the industry, an organization may not have stringent policies regarding tattoos and piercings. Before you apply for a job, do your homework by checking the corporate culture of the organisation. Some workplaces are far more flexible body art, so acquiring knowledge about the culture prior to going for the interview could work in your favour.

Covering up: an option

You may feel your body art is part of your personality but if your field of profession doesn’t permit it, it’s good to keep it hidden. When you go for an interview you don’t know enough about the organization. You are still trying to gauge the way in which the organization functions and its work culture.

Your personal statement

Tattoos and body piercing form a big part of who you are and how you want others to perceive you. If it’s an image of a snake or your ex-spouse’s name inscribed or a big piece of earring/stud prominent on our body, it could distract from the real you. That’s an impression you wouldn’t want to leave on the hiring team.

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