Does a Picture on the CV lead to Hiring Discrimination?


For many job-seekers and fresh graduates, the job search after unemployment or university graduation can be challenging. Countless hours are put into researching different companies and their available vacancies. It is often believed that a well-written cover letter and an excellent CV with an impressive history of education, achievements and attained skills is all that matters. Well, that is not precisely the case. For some job positions and companies, it might help if the candidate looks a certain way…

Behavioural science studies have shown that people tend to have strong prejudice about someone’s intelligence and capabilities, merely based on their physical appearance, without even exchanging a single word.

It is well-known that unconscious biases can result in discrimination. Why do companies today still tolerate the risk of judging candidates based on their appearance? Candidates deserve the opportunity to be considered merely on the skill-set and qualities they can bring to the table and how their work ethic can contribute to the firm’s values and missions.

In countries such as the United States or the UK, candidates are not required to put a picture on the CV to prevent being victims of discrimination. However, in Switzerland, a picture on the CV is still preferred and often required. Is this soon an outdated practice? Trends have shown that more and more companies that advocate for diversity and inclusion request candidates not to add a picture or even disregard resumes that include one to avoid any possible accusations of discrimination or biases.

To advance equal opportunities, companies should indeed filter out the ideal candidate based on their expertise and prevent unconscious biases during a candidate’s evaluation process. Eliminating the picture requirement on the CV has shown to be an excellent step towards inclusive hiring. Emphasising on candidate’s overall qualities such as education, skills, work experience and motivation will improve the hiring experience on both sides and ultimately result in fair and inclusive recruitment practices.



Article written by Steven Müller (Marketing Manager, Kesecurix – Diversity Consultancy)

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