What Atlanta hiring managers really think about your piercings

  • Candace Morrow
  • For the AJC
12:37 p.m Monday, March 13, 2017 Atlanta Jobs: Find a Job / Post a Job
Piercings in the workplace receive an A-OK by a few top creative companies based in Atlanta, especially if the talent level is there.

Believe it or not: Piercings garner office approval in some of today's most creative companies based in Atlanta.

For advertising agency 22squared, pierced prospective employees are welcomed — but you better back up these distinct non-verbal cues with talent.

"In our industry, piercings aren't a big deal," said Jenni McDonough, vice president of human resources at 22squared. "It's like the Mark Zuckerberg rule of walking into an office with a hoodie and jeans on: You have to be really good at what you do to pull that off. We're always looking for people who are sharp, strategic and have something amazing to share with our clients."

22squared is a full-service, employee-owned business, providing strategy, media, analytics, creative and production services. Its clients range from The Home DepotSunTrust and Toyota to Baskin-RobbinsDunkin' Donuts and Ad Council.

Within the ad agency, McDonough manages the culture, employee relations and talent acquisitions.

"Piercings are just an expression of personal style," she said. "I do recommend job seekers with piercings make sure the culture of a company matches with their personality and perspective."

Sarah Carpenter, president and owner of Atlanta Models & Talent (AM&T), agrees.

"If you're an employee of our company, piercings and tattoos are not a problem because we're a very creative group," said Carpenter, who serves as head of the commercial and industrial division of AM&T. "Our office environment is casual because we're mostly working on digital projects or by phone."

However, for professional talent searching for work in commercial, video, film and TV industries through AM&T's team, that is a different story, said Carpenter.

"Placing talent with piercings and even tattoos can be hard because we rarely get calls for that type of look or role," Carpenter said, whose clients include shows like "Stranger Things" and "Sleepy Hollow" to brands like Coca-ColaFord and Foot Locker. "In the past year, I've probably gotten two to three calls for someone with piercings or tattoos."

If piercings hold talent back from landing a gig, Carpenter offers this simple advice:

"Just remove it," she said. "You can put them back in after the job is done."

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