April 21, 2016

Click, Click, Click…STOP! – Your LinkedIn Profile

We live in an age where image is everything. With the advent of social and professional networking sites, it has become more important than ever for candidates to present their best side to potential employers.

So how can candidates survive being discriminated against just by the way they look online and how can employers make sure they are getting the right candidates?

According to recent LinkedIn research 98% of professionals do not want to see photographs on CVs or Resumes in the UK and USA.

Yet, in another study (the Ladders) 68% of employers use social media to vet potential candidates before inviting them to attend an interview.  However, in Europe it is already considered normal practice to expect a photo to be included in a Resume.

Social Media

With the growth of social media platforms, whether for personal or professional means, it is easier to put a name to a face.

This is even more apparent on LinkedIn, where the professional users’ profile comes with a photo space included and we are made to feel obliged to attach a photo, however professional these appear to be.

According to LinkedIn, a photograph on your profile is said to significantly increase your profile hits.  Indeed, not having a photograph could be detrimental.

The problem is that, with the rise of social media, this seemingly sensible position of withholding physical appearance from resumes is becoming increasingly nonsensical.

In the LinkedIn tips to help create an effective profile, the number one tip is to include a photo. Now isn’t that the ultimate endorsement?

Discrimination and protected disclosures – The Law

Normally, any personal data should be excluded from a CV or Resume – such as religion, marital status, sexuality and this would include the addition of your photograph.

During the normal candidate selection process, any decisions that are made based upon the above characteristics and not the candidates professional abilities would be based on some discriminatory bias, an assumption or temptation that needs to be removed to ensure a fair and just selection process.  The Ladders research also concluded that there was an 88% chance of rejection by including your photo on a CV or Resume.

Equality campaigners have long argued that recruiters can – inadvertently – discriminate against candidates with foreign-sounding names or against women, when sifting through applications for roles.

However, there is nothing stopping an employer discriminating against an individual during the interview, or even earlier if they emailed or rang the candidate back to confirm details which would disclose their identity.

The British Government has taken some steps to tackle name-bias. In April 2012, deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, introduced the social mobility business compact, an initiative designed to make the process of getting a job fairer.

Under the compact, some of the UK’s biggest companies including Tesco, BP and Barclays have agreed to “recruit openly and fairly ensuring non-discrimination, including increased use of name-blank and school-blank applications”.

Top Tips for writing an excellent CV according to LinkedIn

  • Stick to the facts do not use buzz words or jargon
  • Include a professional introduction which highlights your experience
  • List all work experience in chronological order, most recent first.
  • Prioritise
  • Include any relevant academic achievements
  • Proofread

In conclusion

It can be said that if done well, a photo can promote a personal brand and demonstrate an affinity between you and the employer and make you literally leap of the page. As they say, a picture literally speaks a thousand words.  The inclusion of which could give you a further edge in the short-listing process. I also think it can help to create an affinity with the prospective employer as long as your picture is in tune with and reflects the employer’s company culture. It’s an opportunity not to be missed.

However, until we can completely extinguish any potential discrimination or bias from selection processes based on the inclusion of your photograph based upon your appearance then maybe, leaving your photo off your CV or Resume maybe the solution.  The choice is ultimately yours.

If you need support on any HR issue, or would like more information on Moorepay’s services, contact us.

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About the author

Stephen Johnson

Stephen has over 25 years experience in private sector HR and management roles, working as a Manager for over 10 years and eventually moving into the financial services industry. In his current role as an HR Policy Review Consultant he develops, reviews and maintains our clients’ employment documentation. With extensive knowledge of management initiatives and HR disciplines Stephen is commercially focused and supports clients in delivering their business objectives whilst minimising the risk of litigation.