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Image Bias: How To Overcome This Challenge In Financial Recruitment

Posted on 21/09/2018

When people are involved with the recruitment process, it is natural that human reactions will form part of the recruitment process. If recruiters have a bias, even an unconscious one, this will reflect on the decisions that are made in the recruitment process. Some people will say that gut instincts and years of experience help recruiters and HR personnel to make informed decisions but with any bias, there is a risk that the right candidate may be overlooked.

There are many ways for a person to be biased against others, and there are several laws and regulations which hopefully minimise these acts. However, it may be that image bias exists in a person or even an organisation, and this could impact on the recruitment process. A recent study undertaken by LinkedIn suggests that 88% of respondents, which includes recruiters and HR staff members, believe a tattoo could limit the career development and progress of an individual.

A tattoo could be an issue

With three-quarters of respondents saying that the image a person presents is a major factor in the recruitment process, there is a strong chance that a tattoo or some other form of instantly definable feature could hold someone back or lead a firm to miss out on their ideal candidate.

The same study also suggested that four out of 10 people said they have rejected a candidate because of a visible tattoo and that close to two-fifths of respondents said that they have rejected a candidate with a tattoo because of the dress code imposed by an employer.

It is improtant to create a positive impression

When it comes to financial recruitment, visible tattoos may be an issue. When a professional meets with a firm and is the public face of an organisation, which is the case with front office employees, the company wants the individual to create the best impression. Without discussing the skills or talents of any individual, many firms hold the opinion that they don’t want their representative with other organisations to have tattoos on display.

While tattoos are an obvious issue for image bias in recruitment, the study highlighted other problematic areas including:

  • 34% of respondents saying they would feel uncomfortable employing a candidate who attended in casual clothing
  • 26% of respondents said they would feel uncomfortable employing a candidate who had visible piercings
  • 21% of respondents admitted to being unsure about employing someone who had brightly-dyed hair

Alongside the study, LinkedIn released a statement from Rebecca Drew, the sales manager at LinkedIn Talent Solutions, who said; “With almost a fifth of UK adults currently estimated as having a tattoo, the current attitude around visible tattoos and physical image means that businesses and recruiters could be missing out on top talent.”

While firms have their image to consider, they also need to find the best possible talent. If the ideal candidate has visible tattoos, firms need to consider if this is an issue that is worth missing out on an ideal employee. While applicants should try to conceal any tattoos, they have for the interview process, the overall importance of tattoos may become less crucial in the recruitment process.

At City Wharf Financial Recruitment, we work closely with firms to find the clients who meet all their needs.

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