What is that?
A candidate shows up at our house for a coaching session with our son Rob. Rob introduces Jim to me. He looks like he would fit the role of a firefighter. Tall, muscular, dressed in a suit, shoes shined, and a strong firm handshake with good eye contact. A great first impression if he had just entered an oral boardroom. Then, as he turned his head slightly, out of the corner of my eye, I see something on his neck behind his ear. I asked, "What is that?" As he turned his head more he said, "Thatís a tattoo of a scorpion." But, I have a good story to go along with it.Ē I said, "There isnít a story you could tell me in an oral board, without opening a can or worms, that would convince me it was a good idea you planted a scorpion that spread out behind your ear down your neck."
Now if I saw it that soon, so would a panel member.
Whatever your opinion is on tattoos; understand whoís doing the hiring. Itís not you or any one of your friends who also like tattoos, color, so called art work or tatts.
As one officer wrote:
"Tattoos donít change people"
No, but they do tell everyone who sees them something about you. And that something is nothing you can control, change or alter in most cases. Ask yourself why you did or would get inked. You want to tell the world something about yourself, make a statement or be different. Yep you did. Just like the way you choose to cut your hair, the number of piercings, type of clothes, or the people you associate with.
Then, I heard a comedian on XM Radio say about a guy with a neck tattoo, ďOh, you forget not to do it. You were considering getting the neck tattoo but you decided it would be stupid. Then you forgot how stupid it was.Ē
I was at a written test for a department recently and because it was hot, many of the candidates were wearing shorts and t-shirts. I was more than surprised by how many tattoos were visible on arms and legs. I already knew this department will not hire you with tattoos.
One candidate told me that the more candidates that show up with tats, the agencies will have to change the policy of allowing tattoos. He was completing a shirt sleeve tattoo down his left arm.
As Dr. Phil says, get back to me on that.
I ran into a new rookie female from a large department with a strict tattoo policy at the gym with a large tattoo on her ankle. I asked her what the agency and psych doc said about the color. She just laughed and said they knew it was there but didn't say anything. We should all be this lucky.
Rob went on an EMS call recently. When he asked the guy his name, he pointed to a tattoo of his name on his neck. Cute.
Youíre not auditioning to be a pirate in a movie, but a firefighter. Anything about being patriotic, a lot of firefighters have tattoos (probably not before they got hired), doesnít carry any weight.
So, maybe your tattoo is not visible with a suit on. Remember there will be an agility, a medical in your future where every inch of your body will be seen, a background and psych questionnaire will more than likely ask you if your have any tattoos or have you ever branded your self. This will not work in your favor.
The candidate with the scorpion tattoo said as he was leaving, ďI have already looked into having it removed and was going to go ahead and do it. Cost? $2,000. Before then, he would take the suggestion of using morticianís wax to cover it up for any upcoming oral boards.
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