Do the motives behind visible tattoos influence the hiring decision?

Student Researchers: Renee Seebohm
Supervisor: Dr Graeme Ditchburn
Ethics approval: 2013/107

The current paper reviews the literature on selection and tattooing, focusing on the impact of the attractiveness bias (Byrne, 1997; Ilkka, 1995; Morrow, 1990), attribution theory (Herriot, 1981; Martinko, Douglas & Harvey, 2006; Sears & Rowe, 2003; Silvester & Chapman, 1996), and pre-interview bias (Dougherty, Turban & Callender, 1994; Marshall, Stamps & Moore, 1998; Philips & Dipboye, 1989). Research was conducted to explore reasons why people choose to obtain tattoos, as well as exploring the prejudice toward tattoos and its implications on hiring practices. The primary focus of the current study was based on the idea of mitigating circumstances resulting in more lenient judgements about an individual (Landridge & Butt, 2004; Nichols, 2007; Ogletree & Archer, 2011). It was hypothesised that providing information on why a job applicant obtained his tattoo, the interviewer would be more lenient when provided an emotionally laden explanation, as opposed to an emotionally neutral explanation or no explanation at all, resulting in increased hirability. The results indicated that providing an explanation for obtaining a tattoo had no impact on the hiring decision with 85% of the participants deciding to hire the candidate regardless of the explanation for his tattoo. This suggests that people are more likely to base the decision to hire on a candidate’s suitability for the position rather than appearance.