Should “body art” factor in a hiring decision?

Interesting recent RetailWire discussion centered around a study connecting “body art” (tattoos and piercings) with more risky and anti-social behavior — and making a connection to retail hiring decisions. I’m a skeptic:

The amount and placement of tattoos and body piercings shouldn’t disqualify candidates for employment, provided that the “body art” is consistent with the overall brand position and customer profile of the retailer. On the other hand, retailers will want to avoid this kind of hire if their target consumer is uncomfortable with it. As to the correlation between tattoos and the kind of behavior cited in the Texas Tech study, it would be interesting to understand whether the “science” behind it stands up. It’s just possible that an employer might pass over a great associate if he/she judges too much on surface characteristics rather than work history, references, and so on.

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