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August 05, 2009


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Steve Bissen

I've just started tweaking my LinkedIn profile and I've been thinking about the same thing.

I have an old friend that added a photo to their profile, and it is far from flattering.

I'm looking at making a career switch in my mid 40's and hoping people don't use my age against me. I figure I have my most productive years still in front of me.


I would say I am leaning towards a picture versus no picture. I personally feel like I can trust someone more if there is a picture up (more credibility); but I can totally see where someone might feel that they might be discrimated against. But truthfully I too question a person if they dont put a picture up.

laurie ruettimann - punk rock hr

I would skip it unless you are building a brand. Pictures are overrated and may influence decisions.

Jim R

I've struggled with this one, but decided to include a photo. Flip it around: it's not that you don't want to work for them, it's that they aren't going to hire you anyway. Without a photo, if you are going to be discriminated against it's going to happen as soon as you meet in person for the interview. Maybe you are good enough at interviewing to convince someone that your value outweighs their discriminatory tendencies, but I know I'm not. And the likelihood that you could successfully sue after such an interview is slim to none at best. About the only value you'll get out of the interview is a shortened practice session. Why waste your time?

My suggestion of the photo itself though (and I need to take my own advice) is the younger you are, the more conservatively you should dress in the photo. The older you are, the more casual. Age appropriate of course. Helps avoid stereotypes both ways.

Sally Savage

I have had people ask if they should put theirs out there too. I don't recommend the photo. I don't understand the purpose of having it on there. I have suggested to friends that they might want to change their photos or remove them. Some of them are just not good.

HR Minion

This is a tough question! On the one hand, when trying to find people on Linkedin for networking it is easier if they have a picture. On the other hand, I totally understand why people would be afraid of being judged unfairly by it. However, if they are savvy enough to look at Linkedin for info about a candidate, they could probably find a picture somewhere else. Or some other information to use if they are hell bent on discriminating. And I agree, if they are jerks like this then you really don't want to work there.

Tim Esse

Some might think " why doesn't this person have a photo? " As a Recruiter I don't care either way. I would say if you are going to use one at least make a decent picture not some low resolution picture. You want to at least look like you have some grasp of technology.

Rita Ashley

Statistics show people who use a profile get more responses than people who don't. That's just a fact.

If your photo means some people don't call you because they are racists, or ageists or weightists, what a wonderful short cut; you don't want to associate with them anyway. Right?

The good for posting far outweighs the bad. Plus, no one can prove discrimination occurs at that level. It's like saying you didn't get hired because of your age when in fact, it was because you didn't interview well.

Rita Ashley, Job Search Coach


You can post a photo and adjust your profile settings so it is only visible to your connections. This is what I would recommend. Some HR departments' rules prevent them from contacting you should you have a posted photo.

Susan Burns

If it works for you use it. If it doesn't, don't. If your a professional and have any interest in LI leading to potential career opps, have a professional photo. You can put the family pics on Facebook.

I personally like seeing photos. Bias will always exist to a degree and what's important is that we recognize it when it appears and know how not to let it interfere with good decision making. I would rather see companies educate their recruiters and HR people on how not to let a photo influence a decision. This is the new reality and shouldn't be ignored just because policy hasn't advanced at the same rate as societal and technical changes.

Recruiters are educated on how to avoid bias when they look at a person's name on a resume, or when cultural difference leads to "fit questions" surrounding a weak handshake. Why can't we educate on seeing a photo? If we truly value diversity, isn't this where the conversation begins?

The HR Store

If the person viewing my profile is interested/keen in what I do, then why would he/she need a photo to decide? I wouldn'nt go with it, unless its needed as part of my job.


I was reading Freakonomics (again) last night, and there's a whole chapter about whether having a "black-sounding" name on your resume prevents you from getting an interview.

An interesting question they raised (modified to fit this situation) is:

If the hiring manager is going to discriminate against someone of a certain age, race etc., wouldn't not putting up a picture just delay the discrimination to the in-person interview stage, wasting everyone's time?

I'm really not sure, but it's an interesting thought.

Ed Kohler

I work with companies who have websites with profiles similar to LinkedIn. I've noticed, but not yet measured, different participation rates in including photos by race.

While I don't know how it would effect LinkedIn success, I do know that having a photo - on average and not accounting for age, race, gender, or quality of photo - does help improve site performance among the sites I work with.


I have always thought that a profile of any sort sans photo is less appealing and feels incomplete. There are plenty of reasons to not include a photo but on a site like LinkedIn you are using it, generally, for a specific purpose and if you're networking, a complete profile makes you look that much more qualified - showing that you know how to follow through with something to completion.

Mary Wasmuth

Photos are so common on LinkedIn that when I was looking for speakers for a workshop series, I hesitated about the one candidate who didn't use a picture. I actually wondered if she was trying to hide something about her appearance. I did get in touch and hire her, but it's another factor to keep in mind.

Oh, and then I added a photo to my profile.

Christine Smith

I am a visual person, so I like the photo. I hadn't thought about the discrimination part too much, but honestly, if a company is going to do that, would you want to work for them anyway? I meet and talk to so many people every day, seeing a photo helps tremendously.


Paul, I completely understand what you are deliberating over. I do not have my picture on my profile. However, I am considering adding it; but I ask myself, “Why, what is my goal?”

Last week I had a conversation with a recruiter from another organization that confessed they are using linked-in to find diversity candidates by means of looking at pictures. This fosters reverse discrimination.

In a perfect world – hiring should be based on skills, abilities, and experience. Unfortunately, we don’t live in a perfect world.

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  • Paul DeBettignies, Minnesota Recruiter, Minnesota Headhunter, Minnesota IT Jobs

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