Should I be Honest with Job Applicants?

Like everyone else, I have had staff turnover, and finding good employees is nearly impossible. I have almost never hired young women right out of school, knowing how messy boyfriend problems can carry over into the workplace. But in this labor market, any warm body must be considered.

Of the few young women that actually show up for interviews, a number have piercings on the face combined with tattoos that cannot be hidden with clothing. One young single mom the other day had rings on the skin of her neck, eyebrows, tops of ears, and eyebrows. Sorry, but I don’t want health care workers that scare clientele.

Do these young people not realize how they limit their job opportunities? Do they think they actually look "normal’ to other people?

I would like to be brutally honest with these people and tell them their choices exclude employment with me, and severely limit their employment elsewhere. My wife says I should not do that, and instead make up some bogus excuse why they did not get the job.

What do think? Should young people be told the truth so they can change their appearance and get a job?

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You’d know what’s allowed and what isn’t, as far as discrimination rules go. If it were me, I’d neither hire somebody with tats on the neck or face nor would I tell them why I’m not hiring them. If they don’t know why they can’t find work, you telling them won’t help them understand.

Are you obligated to tell somebody why you didn’t hire them?

No, but I truly want the best for people whether I hired them or not. Some might be under the delusion that their appearance is not frightening or grotesque to other people.

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I will assume you know the legalities involved and that it would be fine to provide this feedback.

My opinion: If an applicant comes to you and asks for feedback on how she did, why you did not hire her, what she could do differently, etc, I would tell her the truth. And, even if she does not like the feedback you gave, she will have asked for it.

Otherwise, if the applicant doesn’t come back and ask for feedback, I wouldn’t offer anything up on your own. I don’t see any good coming from that.


You realize that statement alone is an admission of illegal gender discrimination?

That aside, you can be upfront about the standards your office has if you want, at long as it’s legal. Your views on tattoos and piercings are outdated and few people among the public are going to be scared off as you seem to think. But, within the law, you can set the standards of the workplace. If you don’t want them, say so and people won’t waste their time applying;

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I agree, if Hank gives the advice unsolicited that’s him editorializing and taking a shot at somebody. No need to be mean about it.

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Henrius lives in the real world. Along with what he said, a ton of smaller companies won’t hire recently married women because of the likelihood of getting pregnant within a year or two. They would never publicly admit it. Smaller companies don’t have extra personnel to cover when some one is out.

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Not if he keeps it to himself.

But your point is valid.

The first Education Administration job my wife applied for she was asked “You have two young children, would you be able to balance the demands of this job and that?”
A man would never have been asked that question.

There are maybe 5 times in my life I have really wanted to punch someone and knew I could do nothing about it.

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Just curious, but how did they know that in the first place?

She worked in the District at the time.

He didn’t just keep it to himself. And, other than myself, he’s the only one on the board who doesn’t hide his identity. Illegal either way.

I would not tell them. It’s not your place in this world to tell someone that their appearance disqualify them for employment at your business. Plus you open yourself up to the karen’s of the world that will make your business go viral for all the wrong reasons. I would just have a company policy written up that says no visible tats and piercings if that is what you prefer.

I know companies like UPS had to ease up on their tat, beard, and maybe piercing policy.

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Good luck finding that statement in a lawsuit.

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I know that even 20 years ago on some Law Enforcement applications you could not have below elbow tats or a beard.
That has gone out the door.

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This policy prevented many former military men and women from going into the field.

It’s not like I’m going to sue Henrius.

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I get it, my point was nobody that this applies to would know what he said.

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I didn’t assume this board was the only place where he was saying it.

When I started to work for Corrections back in the 1970’s, beards were not allowed. Sometime in the 80’s, that restriction was relaxed.

I believe in not casting your pearls before swine.

Lecturing to a stranger who is not receptive to feedback will not go well. The latter will argue & deny & employ other dissonance reduction devices to preserve his ego. Furthermore, undeserved candor will deprive that person of the character development in observation that he sorely needs to go through.

I don’t think you owe an applicant any explanation whatsoever. They’re not your people…you don’t have to open up to them. I wouldn’t lie, but on the other hand I would not hesitate to dismiss them with a vague answer. “Just not the right fit. Good day.”

If someone seems to have potential & seems genuinely interested in your feedback, and humble enough to accept feedback, then by all means give it. But I suspect this does not describe even 10% of your interviewees.