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CVs with photos

We work with our clients to help them recruit and often act as the point of contact for people who are interested in applying.  Not only does that give us the opportunity to ensure that the customer’s employer brand is well looked after by keeping in touch with the applicants, answering their queries, acknowledging receipt of their applications etc, but it also means that we are usually the first ones to read the CVs.

Having received a CV this morning with the candidate’s photo on, I posed the question on Twitter as to how people feel about CVs with photos.  The responses ranged from “off-putting” to “should be mandatory”, both of which are rather extreme.

From experience of having seen a number of CVs over the years, I’d say that the ones with photos are much less frequent than ones without.

Personally I don’t find it off-putting but I am curious about the motivations of the person including their photo.  What does it say about them that they feel the need to include their photo?  Does it enhance their application in their opinion?

I wonder if they stop and think about how the perception of the person in whose inbox or on whose desk the CV lands.  Surely the desired effect is far from achieved if the person is of the “off-putting” school of thought?

The other point is one of common sense.  Most people know that adding their date of birth to a CV is unnecessary at best and can leave them open to potential discrimination at worst, but is there any difference between a date of birth and a photo?  It’s human nature to make snap decisions about people based on very little information – we do it all the time when meeting people.  We can take an instant like or dislike to someone based on their handshake or their shoes.  Arguably a CV should be the one place where a person can allow their knowledge and experience to shine through without the distractions of personal judgements based on what they look like.

Questions on this topic or anything else HR-related? We’d love to hear from you – 01487 815720.

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