{ "media_type": "text", "post_content": "If you had a great candidate but the only thing \"off\" was his \"background\" would you hire him? I have two candidates to choose form and I really like one of them but he has neck tattoos and is \"different\" than the rest of the team. I think he had a rough past but he's doing great things in his career now. Still, I'm worried he might not \"fit in\" with the rest of the team. Thoughts? Anyone experience this?", "post_id": "61df37969a39110033d458d9", "reply_count": 55, "vote_count": 2, "bowl_id": "55375ce690f5eebe1d2a0f88", "bowl_name": "Tech", "feed_type": "crowd" }

If you had a great candidate but the only thing "off" was his "background" would you hire him? I have two candidates to choose form and I really like one of them but he has neck tattoos and is "different" than the rest of the team. I think he had a rough past but he's doing great things in his career now. Still, I'm worried he might not "fit in" with the rest of the team. Thoughts? Anyone experience this?

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So, tattoos (I don't have any) are much more common today than when I started my career 30 years ago....so I wouldn't give a second thought about those. Tattoos are more common today in the same way that suits and ties are much less common than before. People mostly don't really care. However, on the flip side, team dynamics and meshing well with the overall group is extremely important. You need to try and understand WHY you think he might not mesh well with others. No point in hiring an excellent candidate just to turn around and lose good existing folk.

I wouldn't make assumptions about fit based on tattoos and ethnicity. If he has the skills needed to do the job, he's a value add. Bringing in perspectives that aren't in line with the rest of the team is like taking off blinders to points of view you weren't even aware existed. You need this. I have a few (mostly hidden/small) tattoos and pink hair, and I've been told by most of the people I work with (peers AND bosses) that the energy I bring gives life to our meetings and team dynamics. I'm worried about the biases I'm hearing here - this is what people mean when they refer to systemic racism. I've never met another person with the same background as me (parents from different continents, born in U.S), but I grew up in a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic world and it would never occur to me to consider a person's packaging as a reason to disqualify them. This is a growth opportunity.

likeuplifting
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I am sorry if I misunderstood the post but I find this question offensive. Does his past/background and tattoos impact his ability to do the work? I guess not. Instead I do hope your team does some introspection if you feel the said candidate won't fit in. Nobody should need to apologise for who they are or where they come from just to make everyone in the room "comfortable".

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It's true that no one "SHOULD" have to struggle to fit in, but the facts demonstrate that we all do. Is there really anyone here who hasn't 'fit in' to a group?

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If they're doing great things I'd say go for it. I think culture and personality fit is important, but if you go too far for it you end up with a nondiverse monoculture. Different backgrounds can bring a lot of new ideas to the table that wouldn't exist if everyone has the same past.

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He sounds like he'd be a great addition! At our company we think of people as "culture adds" not "culture fits." More diversity gives you diversity of thought and experience, which can be a very positive and powerful thing. Sounds like he has great background. Also, isn't it illegal to not hire someone based on their race/gender? If you took those factors out... Let's say he was the same candidate but a white or Asian woman, would you hire him? If the answer's yes, I think you've arrived at the right choice. I urge you be a strong leader and encourage, foster and open up to diversity on your team. I think it can be very rewarding in so many ways. =) Good luck!

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I am one of those "off" people. I have facial piercings and tattoos. I have been at my current job for 12 years and have no plans to leave. I work hard and take great pride in my work. "Don't judge a book by its cover" as they always say.

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Expand your diversity. Your team will perform better. If you are worried about fit it is a reflection of the team that needs to change and this is a good opportunity to help that process along. Pair the person with a buddy to start to ensure they feel welcome and have ongoing support.

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Don’t pair Black people up just because they’re Black. Pair him with mentors that match based on his career goals.

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Seriously? Are we asking this in 2022? I'm assuming you have a white picket fence with your nuclear, All-American family too right?

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The OP really sounds extremely sheltered IMO.

It sounds like you're trying to forecast off into the future as to whether he'll stick around long enough. I wouldn't bother doing that. We recently hired a great candidate who left less than a month after he started. At an old job I referred someone who got hired and backed out 2 days before his start date. Some people may leave after a year for a better job. Who knows. Don't try to read the future too much. You can't predict it with much accuracy. You should be focusing on hiring someone who fits with the team and can get the job done. Nothing you've said really suggests that he wouldn't fit with the team because you've only talked about superficial issues like his race and tattoos. I've worked on plenty of teams where people have a number of outward differences in terms of ethnic background, native language, etc. Those are all bigger fit issues than what you're talking about. Some have been "hip" and others not. And things have generally worked. It just doesn't sound to me like you've raised any substantive issues about why he wouldn't be a good fit, it's just superficial stuff.

likesmart

PM: This is going to turn on how we define "superficial" but none of the biggest problems that I see the world facing (climate change, a political party that just tried to overturn the results of a democratic election, the possibility of world wars starting in the Ukraine or Taiwan) seem to involve real rather than superficial issues. Even after reading this whole thread, the issues you raised sound like they simply don't matter that much. Your company needs to make sure they can hire and onboard the best people. If you think your company can't make this new guy happy because he's black, then your firm has some enormous problems. If the issue is that he has neck tattoos, then I can understand how that could impact his role in a customer facing position but it shouldn't impact his ability to get the work done. I've worked internationally on teams with Lebanese Christians/Muslims along with Israelis, other teams with Pakistani Muslims with Indian Hindus, plenty of teams where I was the only native English speaker, and honestly, none of those things really seemed to matter as much despite being more substantive than the issues you're raising. I really fail to understand your concerns. Let the candidate decide if the culture will be a good fit for him or not, because you really haven't said anything that would suggest it would be a bad fit, unless you think that your colleagues won't like working with him because he's a black dude with tattoos, in which case your colleagues suck. As I said above, great candidates leave new jobs suddenly all the time for all sorts of reasons and if they do it's probably going to be for money or change of work more than anything.

It is legitimately illegal to discriminate candidates based on race / ethnicity / sex. People in this thread are way too lenient and forgiving to OP on this topic.

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Exactly. As I said above, the OP really hasn't raised a single substantive issue as to why this guy would be a problem other than his race and his tattoos. If those are problems it won't be because of the candidate, it's because the company the OP works for doesn't want to cast the widest net to attract the best people.

I’m covered in tattoos and i do not have a sorted past. I hate to think what your assumptions are on applicants who are part of truly marginalized groups.

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Most minorities are solo representatives on a team. Otherwise they would be majority and not minorities.

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But he would be a minority within a minority. Doesn't that count for something?

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Diversity is a good thing. Bring them in! They'll bring new perspective to the team. Do you best to make them feel welcome and included.

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Yes! Pretending like there are no differences is counter productive. Our differences are what can help us to contribute new visions and understanding of our problems and solutions.

Would you still be asking this question if your team was all-male white/Asian and the candidate was a black woman?

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Oh, yes!

Something is off with the ones asking this question.

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If you have a team photo already maybe send it enthusiastically, and if he doesn't like your lack of diversity, he can reject the offer. If he's seen the team, then he is already fine with it

@Op, culture fit is not about race and tattoos, it's about actual culture. A white software engineer probably has more culture in common with a black software engineer than with a white farmer

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I would actually consider diversity (any diversity) a small bonus point, both because it adds value to the team, and also because it offsets our biases - a black candidate with tattoos would probably need to be better than your classic candidate to get the same score. The only thing I'd be careful with is calling a negative attitude, toxicity, or aggressiveness "diversity" because that isn't a good kind of diversity. Beyond that, it might be a growth opportunity for everyone involved.

Are the tattoos overly offensive and always exposed? Are they a risk of causing physical threat by others in your office (ie active gang rivals?) If not, I cannot fathom a reason this should even be a conversation. Hire who can do the job without regard to appearance. Anyone who has a problem with the way someone looks in this regard is no better than another who discriminates for title 9 issues in my book.

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