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Two-fifths of recruiters admit to rejecting a jobseeker because of their tattoos

Written by Angus Shaw on Thursday, 15 March 2018. Posted in Diversity, People

While stigma against inked jobseekers is making businesses miss out on great employees, technology may help solve the recruitment bias, new research from LinkedIn reveals

Two-fifths of recruiters admit to rejecting a jobseeker because of their tattoos

Tattoos have long been painted as a kiss of death for hopeful jobseekers. However, new research suggests that while there’s still a long way to go, recruiters are actively using new technology to help combat their bias against inked professionals.

Having surveyed both 500 recruitment professionals and 2,000 job seekers and professionals, LinkedIn, the employment network, revealed being inked could seriously hamper candidates’ chances. Of the recruiters, 75% believe a candidate’s image plays a crucial role in the hiring process and 88% think being tattooed risk limiting people’s career progression. Moreover, 41% had at least once rejected an otherwise suitable candidate for having a visible tattoo. But despite the huge stigma, a large 82% of those surveyed admitted discrimination against physical image causes businesses to miss out on top talent.

Although, jobseekers seemingly weren’t fully aware of this bias with 80% being convinced they’ve never been rejected from an opportunity due to their visible tattoos, with 34% believing a tattoo would not hold their career back.

Fortunately, recruiters are taking active steps to combat recruitment bias. Three-fifths believe discrimination against tattoos and physical traits had dropped over the last five years. They attribute this decrease in no small part to using technological solutions to avoid bias. For instance, using phone interviews was a popular method for 32%. Additionally, 28% said virtual reality assessments helped and a fifth said the same about using bots.

In light of the findings Rebecca Drew, enterprise sales leader at LinkedIn, said: “With almost a fifth of UK adults currently estimated as having a tattoo, the current attitude around visible tattoos and physical image means that businesses and recruiters could be missing out on top talent.”

“Despite this, it’s encouraging to see that so many talent professionals are taking active steps to help reduce this bias and encourage more self expression in the workplace. As we continue to see AI tools incorporated into hiring processes, we hope this will help recruiters remove some of the human bias from the process, and focus on judging candidate potential against the most important things.”

Such statistics draw images of tattoo discrimination slowly leaking away from ink-redulous employers and allowing both jobseekers and employers alike to become unstuck from a mutually disadvantageous situation.

About the Author

Angus Shaw

Angus Shaw

With a keen eye for politics as editorial assistant, Angus can often be found scanning the horizon for the next big waves crashing against business shores – which makes up the time when he's not setting sail at Radio Caroline, the former pirate station, on weekends. Follow him on Twitter @Angus_Shaw for his latest cognition

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