Should candidates add their photo to their CV / resume?

November 3, 2014 — Leave a comment

Article by Rupert Sellers

Profile photos - smallIt’s a long standing debate about whether or not a candidate’s photo should appear in a CV.

More often than not, published articles advise candidates not to include their photo as it could lead to discrimination – and some quote that there is an “88% job rejection rate if candidates have a photo of themselves on their CV”. Really?? It’s worth noting that this ‘statistic’ was compiled by a company called ‘Be Hiring’ over two years ago (Try finding them on the internet; I don’t think they exist anymore).

It’s time to be more realistic in today’s visual, multimedia age about how a CV / resume should be presented. And employers should stop overly worrying about discrimination implications due to a photo.

Think about LinkedIn and how powerful this social network has become as a recruiting source. LinkedIn’s Nicole Williams makes the case that “You’re seven times more likely to have your profile viewed if you have (a photo). Like a house that’s on sale, the assumption is that if there’s no photo, something’s wrong.”

In Susan Joyce’s piece in the Huffington Post, she feels if you can be visually judged when you meet someone in person then why is a photo any different: “If someone doesn’t want to hire me because of my age (shown by my gray hair), they won’t hire me whether they see my gray hair in my LinkedIn photo or in person. So, I feel that I’m saving my valuable time and energy by making it clear who I am.”

We have all become far more visual in our communications, so why should a CV be any different? The photo personalises the CV and helps the individual to be more identifiable rather than just another applicant.

Video interviewing takes visual a step further (before any face-to-face interviews), giving candidates the opportunity to showcase themselves by answering questions on video that have been pre-set by the employer. Compact Interview provides this straightforward service as part of a growing number of employers’ recruitment process, and the visual and audio insight is proving invaluable.

It’s true that age, sex, race and possibly religion can be determined from a photo or a video, and of course when a candidate meets an employer in person. But instead of worrying about discrimination employers and recruiters should focus on best practice recruitment: Treat applications professionally and don’t be influenced by a candidate’s appearance other than grooming standards and dress sense (which are important factors for customer service industries such as hospitality).

Photos and video undoubtedly enrich a text CV, so let’s stop putting off candidates from including their photo and embrace the visual, multimedia age we all live in.

Rupert Sellers

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I spent most of my career in luxury hotel management which included senior roles with Ritz-Carlton and Four seasons, before specialising in recruitment 12 years ago. In 2012, I launched Compact Interview which enables employers to screen candidates directly with customised video interviews. Our privately held company is based in Shoreditch, London.

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