Missing Social Media Photos Spook Employers

It has long been said that a picture is worth a thousand words, but new research has found a picture may also be worth a job. A new study found that job candidates with pictures on their LinkedIn profiles were viewed more favorably than candidates without pictures.

Moreover, people would rather hire the candidates with pictures, researchers found. And applicants with pictures rated "attractive" were more likely to get hired than those job seekers with pictures deemed "unattractive."

"For profiles that had pictures considered 'attractive,' not only was that person preferred over the person without a picture, but the 'attractive' person was also rated as a fundamentally better potential employee," said Nicholas Salter, assistant professor of psychology at Ramapo College of New Jersey, who conducted the research with Tiffany Poeppelman, a member of the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology (SIOP), which published the research.

Respondents reported that a picture made candidates seem more thorough in their work. Additionally, Salter says, respondents wondered if candidates without pictures might be hiding something.

"These findings stress the importance of including pictures (and more generally, to fully complete) one's LinkedIn profile," said Salter. "Potential employers may make incorrect assumptions about people if they don't [include pictures].

"It's unlikely that someone who forgets to upload a profile picture is a less qualified employee than someone who does upload one, but they may be perceived as such. This may be the difference between being offered the job and not."

Salter warns first-time job seekers in particular not to overlook the findings.

"In my opinion, this is also especially important for recent graduates and other people just entering the workforce," said Salter. "They may feel that it isn't as important for them to have a complete LinkedIn profile because they are looking for entry-level jobs. They may think LinkedIn profiles only apply to high-level jobs, but this isn't true.

"Potential employers may still make judgments about you regardless of what level of employment you are looking for."

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