In an ever-shifting working world, standard practices around job applications continue to change and evolve. The idea of walking into a business and distributing copies of your resume has more or less fallen completely out of favor, but certain questions have found a kind of staying power.
Like the question of whether or not you should write a cover letter, or the discussion around whether a photo or a headshot is appropriate to include in your application, is something that shifts with context but rarely yields as consensus. In an era marked by more deliberate approaches to inclusive hiring, photos on resumes remains a hot topic.
We’re at a moment in time where, thankfully, nobody hires professionals based on looks, yet they can subconsciously influence the decision to invite someone to an interview, based on any number of factors. Making use of a network of recruitment and tech professionals, Frank Recruitment Group, a Tenth Revolution Group company, has collected new data to assess attitudes on this time-honored job application conundrum in 2023.
|Should you include a photo on your resume?
With the vast majority of respondents declaring that the practice is outdated, it’s clear that businesses should be making an effort to discourage this from happening, or at least initiating policies that anonymize responses before they land on the desks of hiring decision-makers.
Responding to this new survey data, Frank Recruitment Group Chairman and CEO James Lloyd-Townshend commented: “It’s really interesting that the results come down so clearly on the side of not including a photo on your resume, but the results definitely make sense in the context of the conversation we’re seeing around more equitable hiring practice.”
Biased hiring decisions aren’t always conscious, but it’s a common theme that people hire candidates who reflect their own backgrounds. Whether that’s gender, ethnicity, or even class, it’s often done entirely subconsciously. That’s why so many companies have shifted to anonymized hiring practices in order to create more inclusive hiring practices.
“Of the comments we received from respondents,” said Lloyd-Townshend, “some highlighted exactly this—that including a photo can lead to candidates being judged on their appearance, whether favorably or unfavorably. That said, one respondent made the excellent point that recruiters will almost undoubtedly be checking out your LinkedIn page, and a lack of a headshot here can make your profile feel unprofessional or even slightly spammy.”
However, as Lloyd-Townshend added, there are still many details on a resume that can identify a candidate—making it vital that any changes to improve hiring practices are properly thought out and pro-actively actioned in order to avoid them simply becoming a box-checking exercise.
“Including a photograph can exert undue influence on the recruitment process, but it’s also true that not including one doesn’t automatically make for a fairer, more inclusive process either. Knowing a candidate’s name or gender, for example, can also bring unconscious bias into play. Fair hiring practice is definitely an important, wide-ranging conversation, with more work still to do.”
The survey was conducted on the Mason Frank International LinkedIn page in June 2023. Mason Frank International is a Tenth Revolution Group company. The poll was open to Mason Frank International’s network of recruitment and tech professionals, and the number of respondents totalled 743.