« Buried on the Bottom in TOP | Main | Curtain Falls on 67II and 645NII »

Wednesday, 25 March 2009


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Congratulations Scott for not only a great idea but a job well done by the looks of the pictures AND the smiles. I think this gives a nice answer to all the voiced doubts in the original post

well in my country (Philippines), every job application requires a photo, from blue to white collar, from full-time to temp jobs.

and yes, hirers do discriminate based on what you look like, but most resumes won't be accepted here without a photo.

so is it common for people in the US to opt out of putting a photo in their resume if they feel there's a good reason for doing that?

Photos aren't customary on resumes in the U.S. I've never had one on my resume and have never seen a resume that includes one. However, people use photos on networking sites and sometimes even on their business cards.


Using photos on resumes allows employers to discriminate based on gender, age, beauty, health, style, and that more subtle indicator, whether they think you're going to "fit in." It's skill-neutral, however, and for this reason I don't think it's a good idea to include a photo. What kind of job are we looking for you to do? Can you do the job? How much money are you going to ask for? These basic questions get obfuscated by questions of confidence, and psychological assumptions based on your appearance. A photo isn't a fair interview, but give it to an employer and it may be the only interview you get.

One explanation for the lack of non-white sitters: Minneapolis, and especially Minnesota at large, has much much higher density of whites than African Americans (65% white, 16% black, and only 15% Asian and Latino combined). Minnesota is even more surprising: almost 88% white!

Contrast that with, say, here in Baltimore, where whites are only 31% vs. 64% African American, and the results would without question be different.

In companies where I have worked in the Human Resources Departments, photos were routinely removed from personnel files and resumes to avoid any "silent selection" based on anything other than a person's work qualifications. Including a photograph when making a decision was considered not legally defensible.

It is interesting that now people who have accounts on Facebook, MySpace, et.al. seem to think that having their photo and VERY personal information is good for them. Some are finding out that that "big party night" picture has done them more harm.

This is just a "modern" example of controlling the image, regardless if it is a photograph or a online page. If people want to manage their "images", they should consider where the images go and how they could be used.


After talking with everyone who came to my studio, only a few mentioned using the photo on a resume. The photos were going to be placed primarily on web-based networking sites that accompany profiles. I also had a few people who were starting consulting businesses, who found it an advantage to have an image of themselves on their websites. A few were in the performing arts, where it is customary to have a headshot attached to a resume. I wanted to address this before this discussion again migrates to the ethics of having a photo on a resume.

I think that saying you won't get an interview because of your photo revealing your race is improbable in most businesses in America in this day and age. The majority of businesses are looking to increase their number of minorities. This is highly encouraged by the government in many ways and it just plain looks good. Even if you have personal biases a great way to look like you are open is to specifically interview people and then later turn them down. Not including a picture will not prevent the company from deciding that "you won't fit in" based on your appearances during the interview. So preselecting them out because of their race in a photo just would not be smart. I have always had to include a photo in my higher education and job resumes. I find it odd that others have not. My suspicion is that it boils down to a city that is predominantly white and perhaps additionally cultural differences that so often are a part of the different races in America.

I again applaud your gesture, Scott. A very positive public relations move that simultaneously made, I'm sure, most of your sitters feel better about their prospects.

Rick said, "It is interesting that now people who have accounts on Facebook, MySpace, et.al. seem to think that having their photo and VERY personal information is good for them. Some are finding out that that "big party night" picture has done them more harm."

Rick, you are right. I have heard many anecdotes about companies searching Myspace and Facebook for applicants for any reason not to hire them. I do not condone employers doing that but I would think a lawyer would consider it public knowledge and protecting the interests of the company from future problems. I advised a friend who lost his job to make his Facebook page private until he finds another job and he agreed.

Great to see the pictures that Scott shot. Interesting discussion, esp. re: race. Back when I had resume, we never put our pictures on them, but hey, I'm in Canada. Maybe we're different. Maybe we do it now too.

There is a reason why the vertical camera orientation is called Portrait. Still, it was very nice of Scott to do all of this work for so many people that he did not know. I hope that he hears from some of them in the future.

I'm always surprised by the carelessness with which people present themselves online, whether visually or textually. I won't claim that I'm a model for others to follow, but I do pay a fair amount of attention to which photographs of myself I place in which venues. There are breadcrumbs connecting my sites if people bother looking for them, so it's not like I'm trying to hide various sides of myself; more it's that I try to set a certain mood or emphasize a certain "persona" depending on the purpose a given site is serving.

For those of us trying to market ourselves to a visually savvy audience, paying attention to how we present ourselves in public seems pretty basic - yet I've known a number of photographers who are happy to slap up some random image of themselves and call it a day. This seems odd to me.

I'd be happy to display any of Scott's portraits on a public site, if I were the individual in question.

Very nicely done.

The comments to this entry are closed.



Blog powered by Typepad
Member since 06/2007