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What to do when fashion and culture clash?

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John Wilcox

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in People Management,The HR Specialist Forum

We just interviewed a candidate who would be a great addition to our call center staff. He has the experience, and most important, seems to have the personality for the job. Only one problem: He has one of those piercings next to his eyebrow. I don’t care, and his potential supervisor doesn’t care, but I’m pretty sure our president will not like it one bit. He’s pretty conservative, and so is our company generally. My question is, who should I talk to about this—the guy we want to hire (tell him to lose the eyebrow thing) or the president (tell him to loosen up)?—Diedre, Neb.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Mary May 25, 2011 at 5:00 pm

Also consider whether your current dress code needs updating. Call Centers in particular are becoming more and more liberal in order to accomodate Gen X and Y. My favorite dress code referred to the “local culture” and allowed for piercings that are common and acceptable within the community at large (eg – small post in nose okay, big bull ring in nose not okay).


Claudia February 18, 2011 at 1:06 pm

I agree with Dolly, stick with the dress code policy (that way you’re covered).

If it specifies no visible piercings, then say so.

Tell him what a great asset you feel he’d be to the company, etc. but policy warrants no visible piercings (or whatever it states, word for word) and let him decide from there.

Typically the company president doesn’t want to or have time for these types of things, particularly if they’re already spelled out in the policy.

If you decide not to hire him due to his eyebrow piercing, let him know. That’s a simple fix he can decide to make, or not, before his next interview.


dolly February 2, 2011 at 11:55 am

What does the company policy say? Stick to that.


Elizabeth February 1, 2011 at 5:31 pm

Does the president usually give the final ok for new hires?
If so, I would talk to the president ahead of time, and play up what a great employee he would be. I wouldn’t even bring up the piercing unless specifically asked.
If the president does not usually give the final yes, and if everything else checks out on this potential employee, why not hire him?
This is 2011; it is a simple piercing; and you are a call center – where I am assuming he would not have a large amount of face to face contact with the general public. Plus, you never know. Just because you view your president as conservative does not neccisarily mean that he will have a problem with the piercing. (And if it is a problem, then it can be addressed under you dress code policy – which I am assuming you have.)


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