What do you think of my ink? Assessing the effects of body art on employment chances

Andrew Timming , Dennis Nickson, Daniel Re, David Perrett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Citations (Scopus)
1109 Downloads (Pure)


Using mixed design analysis of variance, this paper examines the effect of body art on job applicant hireability ratings. It employs the literatures on the social psychologies of stigma and prejudice, as well as aesthetic labor, to frame the argument. The results indicate that photos of tattooed and pierced job applicants result in lower hireability ratings compared to the control faces. The negative effect of body art on employment chances is, however, reduced for job applicants seeking non customer facing roles. In customer facing roles, the tattoo is associated with lower hireability ratings than the piercing. The results suggest that visible body art can potentially be a real impediment to employment.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)133-149
Number of pages17
JournalHuman Resource Management
Issue number1
Early online date20 Nov 2015
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jan 2017


  • tattoo
  • body art
  • employability
  • human resource management


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