Seeing is better than not seeing—especially when it comes to faces looking for jobs. Nick Salter is an assistant psychology professor (Ramapo College in New Jersey) who wondered how much your profile picture influenced recruiters’ perceptions. Diane Stafford, career columnist for The Kansas City Star, recently reported on Salter’s findings:
“In a controlled experiment that offered identical professional profiles, except for the pictures, Salter found preferences to see a face, any face.”
As one might expect, an attractive face (how do we define “attractive”?, but that’s another blog post) was preferred over a less attractive face. Interestingly, even an unattractive face was preferred over the absence of a picture. Salter attributes the preference to the personal connection:
“‘A picture makes you more of a person and less of just a piece of paper.’”
This makes complete sense to me. In spite of the fact we must always be careful about illegal discrimination, and in spite of the fact many HR departments will immediately return any candidate photos so as not to be accused of illegal discrimination, the reality is we all like to see a picture. A picture really is worth a thousand words, and then some.
Presence, any presence, is better than no presence. Let’s face it—we are human. As people we enjoy and appreciate each other’s presence. It is always nice to see a person’s picture instead of just reading about that person.
The next time someone tells you, “it was good to see you,” you can take it literally. When Woody Allen said 90% of life is just showing up, little did he realize it is true in more ways than one!
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