Would you hire a naughty girl?

Shutterstock_865762One of the most tangible and visible aspects of any organization's brand are its employees.

How those employees look, act and perform their job functions speaks volumes to customers, prospects and even the other employees.

As I was driving into work this morning, I was behind a car with the vanity plate NAWTGRL.  At first I just laughed to myself but then I got to thinking about the consequences of a license plate like that.

Putting legalities aside…let's say that you had interviewed a woman and found her to be qualified for a client-centric job opening.  She would be out and about on your behalf (in her vehicle) and clients would not only see her but probably ride in her car to meetings, lunches etc.

In your mind, as the interview was winding down, you were thinking that she might be a good fit.  But as you walked her to the door, you noticed her license plate — NAWTGRL.

Would that influence your decision to hire her and have her represent your organization?  

How do you balance a prospective or current employee's right to express themselves (vanity plates, tattoos, hair color/style, piercings, extreme (either side) political opinions/signage in their office, etc.) or do you think that has no business being a part of your hiring decision?

I don't know the "right" answer — just curious to hear your thoughts.

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6 comments on “Would you hire a naughty girl?

  1. Brad Shorr says:

    Interesting question. I probably would not hire her unless I was in a business where that sort of representation was a positive. If I really thought she was a good fit, I might talk to her about the plates and see if she would be open to ditching them.

  2. Sam Hart says:

    That is a very interesting dilemma. While she may be an extremely qualified employee, you may want to consider the image that she is going to reflect to other clients or to people in general. Suppose she is driving her own vehicle to a lunch meeting with a potential customer. She is representing your brand, and the client may think less of her because of a license plate like that.

    Is it right not to hire her? I don’t know that it is fair, but you have to do what is best for your business. I think I would take my chance on her if she were the best candidate available. Between equally qualified applicants however I would probably choose the one without accessories that have the potential to harm my business.

  3. If I thought, prior to finding this out, that she was the absolute right candidate for the job, but would be using that car for company business I would simply ask her if she was willing to change the license plate. Her answer would be telling. If she said yes without hesitation then I would feel more comfortable with her doing what I ask her to do on behalf of the company. If she said no way, then I would be more hesitant to hire her because whenever her own feelings interfere with company business she would choose her own feelings over the company.

  4. If I thought she was well-suited to the position, and her resume indicated that she’d been successful in a similar role previously, I wouldn’t presume to tell her how to do the job I was hiring her for. What I *would* do is comment on the plate, and ask how it had been an asset in previous positions. How that was answered would tell me whether I’d want her on my team – maybe she’s discovered an edge we’ve been missing!

  5. Ronda Ceynar says:

    After reading all the other comments, I would have to agree. I would probably ask her if she’s willing to change her plates. Now, if it was something of a more physical issue-visible tattoos or piercings, that is different. In a professional world, those are deemed unprofessional, so she’d probably lose the position as soon as I saw those.

  6. It’s not particularly professional, so I’m not sure that I’d consider her. Unless of course she had an outstanding CV…

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