A CV with, or without a photo? Does the first look decide our career?

published: 20.06.2022

A first impression is made once. It does not necessarily determine our success or failure, but it can significantly influence it. On the job market, this first impression is our CV, and its appearance in the post-pandemic reality, is even more important than before. Why? In recruitment processes, face-to-face meetings are becoming rare, the image on Teams or Zoom does not always reflect our professional image, either. The photo, especially for recruiters from external companies, is sometimes, the only image of the candidate in the process.

Does this mean that a photo in a CV is a must? No – because companies are increasingly moving away from this, not wanting to ‘judge a book by its cover’, but rather, by its content – i.e. competences. In this way, they avoid the usually unconscious, psychological, cognitive distortions: the halo effect, favouritism, or discrediting, due to appearance. Sometimes, they go even further: they make candidates anonymous  in the process, by concealing their gender or race. This applies mainly to large multinational companies, who   incorporate this approach into their standards.

Can a photo then, help or hurt a candidate? Of course! People are human – no matter how hard they try to be objective. Clothing, a smile, the quality of the photo – can all affect whether a CV gets attention… and what kind of attention. Two strong trends are taking shape in the job market. Corporate and H2H (human to human, individualised).

Standards and procedures

In the first trend, especially in large international corporations, great importance is attached to objectivity, measurability, and recruitment, according to standardised criteria. There are