What were you inking? Nick Reed on tatts


Story by Nick Reed

Nick is the owner of new Geelong bar, Strasse

I recently held an employment day where I conducted over 25 interviews in one sitting. Afterwards I realised that there was a unique factor that linked all but three of the candidates: the existence of very obvious tattooing or body piercings. Now I feel I must qualify that I in fact have nothing against either of these expressions of self, I myself have two tattoos and also have both my ears pierced in some feeble attempt to stay hip. What I would like to discuss is the question of whether or not such “adornments” have become so prevalent that we potential employers are obliged to disregard them completely or do they still have an impact on our decision regarding the employability of an individual.

I remember two years ago when I worked for 666 vodka at the BarShow I was blown away by the popularity of our stand and the resident Tattoo artist Adam. We literally had dozens of requests for time-slots to receive free ink. In the end I think we only got through about 50 per cent of the list. It was then that I realised that our industry more than most has an obsession with body art. I’ve since wondered why that is the case. It could be that the extroverted personality required to excel in our field lends itself to such accessorising or more to do with the transient nature of hospitality in which we don’t like to stay stagnant too long and any sense of boredom often leads to a radical change, reflected by a new job or a new “piece” or sometimes both.


Perhaps it’s simply that it is an overwhelming societal trend where there is a need to be ahead of the curve in order to stand out and this is manifesting itself in a way that bigger and more prominent is better.

I guess that my own opinion on the matter lies somewhere in the middle. If I was looking for staff for a new cocktail bar in Brunswick Street Melbourne I would be looking for the person with the best skills and the most experience regardless of any tattoos or piercings. However when the requirement is for young staff to fill casual positions at a family restaurant and neither candidate has any relevant experience I would have to say I’d be more inclined to go with the more “clean cut” of the two prospects.

If I may then pass on a word of advice for potential job seekers, perhaps as part of your interview preparation you might remove some of the more outlandish piercings you might have and be sure to cover up any obvious body art. Don’t see it as a suppression of your individuality but more of a necessary evil in order for you to save up to finish that sleeve sooner rather than later.


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