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A "covered-up" employee – an individualist or a rebel?

Setting aside matters of diverse duties, employees often have to adapt to the organizational culture of a given company, including attire and behavior. It seems that the larger the company, the less individualism is present. This is one reason why corporate employees often seek ways to stand out from the crowd and emphasize their distinctiveness, through tattoos, piercings, or unconventional hair colors.

Individualism in the Corporate Environment: How tattoos have become a symbol of self-confidence at work.

Tattoos have become incredibly popular, and it's no longer surprising to see a manager in an international firm sporting such a decoration. Tattooed individuals have formed a kind of "elite" in the contemporary job market. Often, business attire at work conceals tattoos or piercings, so an informal exchange of information among employees about who boasts what kind of tattoo or piercing becomes a great way to integrate and build a sense of belonging to a group. In this context, people with tattoos can be perceived as individualists, unafraid to express themselves uniquely. An individualist is someone who follows their path, unafraid to assert their uniqueness, even in a conservative business environment. This courage to express oneself, even through tattoos, can be evidence of self-confidence and readiness to undertake work that requires not only competence but also the bravery to challenge conventions.

Certainly, a more conspicuous form of showing one's individualism is an unusual hair color or an extravagant hairstyle. At first glance, one might think that these people are rebelling against the dictates of corporate dress code, but often this impression is misleading. These individuals have long passed their youthful rebellious phase, and their non-standard appearance is simply a form of expressing their personality. Especially in the corporate environment, such employees are hard to "overlook" – many client-facing individuals argue that their unique look helps them stand out and makes them more memorable to potential contractors.

How Tattoos and Piercings Impact the Perception of Candidates in a Corporate Environment.

In my daily recruitment work, I frequently encounter individuals representing various styles and ways of expressing themselves. Among candidates, the presence of tattoos, piercings, or other forms of expression that reflect their individuality and unique life path is not rare. To me, as a recruiter, choosing to wear a tattoo or piercing is a personal decision of the candidate, and it doesn't affect my assessment of their skills or professional experience. During interviews, I focus on assessing the candidate in terms of their skills, experience, and cultural behavior in a business context. I pay particular attention to a neat appearance, clean clothes, well-groomed hands, and how the candidate articulates themselves and if they can conduct a professional conversation. It's not uncommon to see a fragment of a tattoo peeking out from under a shirt sleeve or trousers. If it is located in a frequently exposed area, and its design is not controversial or potentially offensive to others, it's irrelevant to me. After all, in today's times, tattoos have become part of popular culture, and many people have them. Of course, if a tattoo portrayed content that is contrary to commonly accepted values and could offend colleagues or clients, then that would be grounds for further discussion. I have never asked a candidate about tattoos or piercings that aren't visible during the interview. The external appearance of a candidate is not a deciding factor for me. Instead, I focus on what skills and competencies an individual can bring to the offered role. I care about what a candidate can offer as an employee, not how they look on the outside.

Individuality in the Professional World of Work.

From my experience, no one should worry that tattoos will hinder finding a job in the business environment. As long as they don't cover the face (after all, our face is our calling card), don't cover 90% of our body, and don't contain offensive or discriminatory elements, most employers fully accept it. However, it's crucial to express one's individuality with restraint, and it will be seen as an asset, not a reason to reject a candidacy.

Marika Bucka

HR Specialist


Antal International

ul. Puławska 2, 00-556 Warszawa


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