At its core, recruiting is a biased task—judging people from a piece of paper that lists their accomplishments; interacting with them in what most describe as a nerve-racking ordeal (the interview); ultimately choosing someone as best you can, based on a compilation of clues and assumptions that they’ll do the job right. The inherent bias in recruiting is necessary for the job. Hiring has to be a judgment call; something tells a recruiting manager that one candidate is better than the rest. But what happens when bias and judgment affects the recruiting process negatively?
Humans are programmed to judge people. We make first impressions based on looks, age, gender, race, all in an instant, and those first impressions are hard to break. Unfortunately, our own judgmental nature can be detrimental to our recruiting job. If what really matters is a person’s ability to do a job, then it’s important to get past judging the aspects of a person that we wouldn’t necessarily judge as A+ and seek what we are truly looking for in an employee.
This brings into question what happens when candidates include a photo of themselves with their resume. Although this is not as common a practice anymore, one recruiting method that has exponentially grown in popularity over the last few years comes with a photo included: social recruiting. LinkedIn, Facebook, Google Plus, Twitter—many users on these networks have profile photos, and not just one but many. Does seeing a candidate’s photo hinder our ability to look past their appearance and focus on their job skills?
As it turns out, many job-seekers believe that a photo may hurt their chances of landing an interview. In a recent LinkedIn survey, 45 percent of respondents said they would not include a photo of themselves on their resume and 34 percent said they would “only if asked to.”
Interestingly, job-seekers may have nothing to fear. Another LinkedIn survey found that only 21 percent of recruiters would not hire someone with piercings or facial tattoos. That means that 79 percent of recruiters would choose a candidate “if they’re the right one for the job,” “if their resume was excellent,” or “if they came highly recommended,” regardless of their appearance.
Either way, making sure that your recruiting process is done in a way that minimizes first-impression judgment calls is beneficial to finding the best candidates. A few things to consider:
The idea is to look past the surface clutter—the looks, the piercings or tattoos, the bubbly personality, or the apparent self-confidence—and see what will really make the candidate successful in the job.