Unconscious Bias

To CV Photo or To Not CV Photo

I am frequently asked whether or not a person should include a photo on their CV, it seems like a simple question but in reality it provides a lot of anxiety for some people. We always stand by the opinion that you should simply ask yourself: “What do I think?” because after all it is your CV, however, we know that life isn’t that simple and even the most confident of people still question themselves a little, so we did a bit of research for you.

It is Illegal To Discriminate But We Do Live In A Multi-Media Age

In the UK it is illegal to discriminate against a person because of their age, gender, marital status, whether they are pregnant or on maternity leave, disabled, their race, their religion, their sex, or their sexual orientation, as a result of this, many companies, for legal justification, prefer that you don’t include a photo on your CV. In some cases, usually financed based companies, a CV photo is a firm no. This is understandable, but in reality it is likely they will see a photo of you elsewhere.
In today’s multi-media age it can be important for companies to know what your social media accounts look like, especially if they are public, as such it is pretty likely that prior to hiring you, a company would have searched for you across various platforms as a means of assurance. Unless you are a private person and/or don’t use Social Media it is likely then that a photo of you will appear on a companies radar.

In Some Countries A CV Photo Is The Norm

According to MoveHub.com’s 2017 Global Moving Trend Report 60% of 18-35 year olds enquired about moving abroad, citing reasons such as better salaries and new cultures as the reason. With this is mind it’s worth mentioning that in some countries CV photo’s are expected. It seems to be both Mid to Eastern Asia and Eastern Europe where a CV photo is quite normal, especially for customer-facing service jobs. So if you are considering a move it might be worth investigating.

Who Are You Applying To

Not only do companies have different CV requirements, but you might also want to consider the following study: Two economists from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, found the following response results after sending out 5,312 CV’s in pairs to 2,656 jobs, including no CV photos and CV photos of what they deemed attractive & plain people:

Men

Women

Attractive females received fewer job responses than attractive males, why is this? The team did a subsequent follow-up study and found that 96% of people receiving the CV’s were female, the average age was 29 years old, and 67% of them were single. To the team at Ben-Gurion this suggested that women were being biased towards other women.
It’s worth baring in mind that this is one study, and based in Israel, but for some, perhaps if you are in a notoriously competitive industry, this bias might be something to consider.

Our Thoughts

Be smart. Unconscious bias will always be a factor, even the most aware fall prey to it unknowingly, but laws and specific company requirements do change, so know who you are applying to, where they are and what message you specifically want to send across. And if you need a headshot, you know who to call.

Good luck!

Sources:

https://www.uibk.ac.at/econometrics/lit/cv_goodlooking.pdf

https://www.movehub.com/blog/no-nation-generation/