Thanks to the wonderful world of social media, one would think that the question of whether or not to include a photo on your resume is virtually irrelevant. And yet, strangely enough, the whole issue of photos or non-photos remains.
In a bold attempt to tackle this problem, bright minds in the EU have created a unique job application format, which generally discourages the use of pictures, called the Europass CV. But that didn’t work out too well. In Germany, for example, if you do not follow the standard German CV format, which usually includes a photo, you will be convicted in practice (regardless of the anti-discrimination laws), while in the Netherlands and in Finland, pictures are frowning. In France, however, jobseekers insist on practically including pictures on their resumes (especially Parisians), while British standards support the idea that CVs without pictures are essentially fairer. Clearly, consensus on the issue will not be reached anytime soon.
Why not? When accessing images of potential recruits is just a click away on Facebook profile pages, why do some interest groups continue to oppose the practice of posting photos on a resume? As many recruiters will tell you, a photograph humanizes a candidate who would otherwise be limited to a straightforward list of skills and work history. Is it possible that hiring managers need to see photos of all potential candidates to make the most accurate and informed decisions possible? Perhaps it’s time to end the debate – ditch the politically correct charade of fair and impartial hiring practices – and happily offer photographic evidence of our outside appearances rather than running anonymously and wishing for the best.
The debate over blind hearings
The problem is: not all hiring managers are the same. Some of them may, in fact, be idiots. And when the person examining your resume has a penchant for excluding candidates based on assumptions about age, gender, or ethnicity – attributes that are likely to be shown in a clear, well-lit picture of you yourself – what should you do?
Without a systematic change in the hiring practices of companies, it is difficult to imagine an easy answer to this question. Fortunately, approaches have already been developed to reduce discriminatory hiring practices that prioritize skills bias. And one of these approaches was pioneered in classical music.
In the 1970s and 1980s, in response to allegations of gender bias in predominantly male symphony orchestras in the United States and Europe, musical candidates had to be auditioned behind a screen in order to be judged according to their ability to play their instruments only. As a result, the percentage of women employed between 1970 and 1993 went from 6% to 21%; and, in multi-shift auditions, screen usage increased the likelihood of women progressing to the next round by 11 percentage points. According to the study that cited these results, “during the final round,” blind “auditions increased the probability of being selected by female musicians by 30%.”
Miraculously, women did not learn to master their equipment in the 1970s. When the hiring bias was eliminated, the best candidates were finally found.
Next step blind audition
“We brought the tried and tested blind audition method from the orchestra stage to the business world.”
That’s the assertion behind GapJumpers, a software platform that helps companies find the best employees by getting candidates to complete a series of job-specific challenges online. Designed by the GapJumpers team, these challenges ensure that only people who can perform them with a high level of competence will move on to the next stage of the hiring process. Photos and resumes are irrelevant, which not only removes age, gender and ethnicity bias, but also socioeconomic prejudices. Whether you graduated from MIT or learned everything you know on your own, if you can test your skills through the GapJumpers challenges, your chances of getting a job are much greater than if you were Your destiny is based on the view of a potentially biased hiring manager. by relying on keyword matching algorithms and photographs.
Challenge the visibility of hiring managers
According to a 2015 study published by Harvard Business School entitled Discretion in Hiring, companies that rely on an “online questionnaire that includes a series of questions about personality, cognitive skills and work scenarios” do much better at finding talented and dedicated employees than companies. which depends on the views of their hiring managers (who are more likely to ignore empirical data in favor of “gut” responses – ie bias).
As job seekers around the world wait for that glorious age where discriminatory hiring practices are rare, we can help increase our chances of success by adopting creative strategies that highlight our talents. From creating innovative online portfolios or personalized websites that showcase highly regarded skills, to creating unique resumes that show ingenuity and leadership, we can find ways to challenge and hopefully overcome potential bias (and it never hurt to have an stellar list of addresses).
And hopefully, the next generation of entrepreneurs will receive the reminder that a proven performance beats a pretty picture every day and installs hiring practices that reward skill rather than appearance.