Gray & Associates Recruitment Services



To add a photo or not to add a photo? When applying for a role does the inclusion of a photograph on your CV have a positive or negative impact on your application…?

The wider opinion is that unless you are applying for a role in the entertainment industry a photograph should not be included on the CV. After all what relevance would the photograph have?  Prospective employers are only interested in your suitability for the role in terms of experience, education and other objective criteria.  Surely It is more beneficial for candidates to concentrate on highlighting their relevant skills and any experience that would be of interest to any future employer.

Photographs on CV’s are a contentious issue. Objectors suggest that the photograph can in itself become a tool for discrimination. Recruitment should be an objective process based on the skills and competencies of the applicant.  Inclusion of a photograph can lead to claims of bias and accusations that the decisions made were not objective. A photograph could provide employers with a tool to discriminate against sectors of the workforce and violate the equality of opportunities act.

Whilst research into discrimination is in progress there is plenty of other research available that suggests a photograph on your CV can have a negative effect. For example research by US Jobsite, ‘The Ladders’, looked at whether a photograph on your CV was detrimental to your application. Generally it is thought an employer will spend 4/5 minutes undertaking the initial vetting of a CV.  However ‘The ladders’ set up an eye-tracking software to record employers behaviour when assessing CVs.  Their findings showed that employers were spending 6 seconds on the initial evaluation rather than the 4/5 minutes assumed.  Other research evidenced that a photograph included on a CV leads to a recruiter spending 19% of their assessment time looking at the photograph rather than assessing other objective information

As we can see from ‘The Ladders’ research the inclusion of a photograph can distract the employer/recruiter from reading more poignant information. Indeed statistics show that candidates with a photograph on their CV face an 88% chance of rejection. However, the same research found that 68% of employers search for the candidates on face book and other social media.  This, it could be argued shows that employers are becoming more interested in what you do and how you represent yourself rather than what you look like.

The growth of social media platforms whether for personal or business use means it has never been easier to put a face to a name. On sites such as LinkedIn almost everybody has a photograph on their profile.   In fact having a photograph on your profile is actively encouraged.   The are 100’s of articles providing guidance on the do’s and don’ts to ensure you upload the right photograph for your profile.  A photograph on your LinkedIn profile is said to significantly increase your profile hits.  Indeed not having a photograph could be detrimental.

Personally I do not currently have my photograph on LinkedIn but I will be booking an appointment with a photographer soon! As for photographs on CV’s I would advise anyone to concentrate on other information eg your experience and expertise rather than the photograph.

If you have any views or experiences around this issue that you are happy to share I would be glad to hear from you.

Christina Gray

Managing Director

Gray & Associates Recruitment Services

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