an employer wants to take a photo of me at my interview

A reader writes:

I have been invited to interview for a large global research company. This is the second stage interview, and as part of the email confirmation, I was told I would be doing a 2-hour interview with a task (normal enough) and that they would like to take a photo of me! (Exact wording: “We would also like to take a picture of you on the day if that is ok with you!”)

Is this normal? I’ve never been asked for a picture before. I work in market research, so I doubt it is necessary.

As there is a third stage interview after this, I am worried that I could be judged based on my appearance or race.

Should I reject this? Or is there anyway I can kindly reject this without sounding suspicious or difficult?

No, this isn’t normal, and yes, it’s weird, but no, I don’t think there’s any way to refuse the photo without shooting yourself in the foot.

The most likely explanation for why they want to take your photo is that they want to be able to keep track of the faces that match each candidate, because it can help jog people’s memories when they’re interviewing multiple candidates. But most employers do that with this crazy invention called note-taking. There’s really no need for photos, and it shows they haven’t been particularly thoughtful about all the reasons people might be uncomfortable with this.

But if you turn it down, then you’re the candidate who overreacted to a small request, and now you’re dramatic and difficult. So if you think you might want the job, I’d play along … but I’d also be alert to other signs of trouble through the interview process.

And anyone out there who hires: This is a bad idea. Do not request photos of your candidates, not at the application stage and not in person either.

{ 112 comments… read them below }

  1. Aunt Vixen*

    I once had to submit a photo along with a grad school application, and ditto ditto Alison’s last paragraph.

    1. bvt*

      The potential difference there is that to some extent, public graduate schools are allowed, under Title VII, to engage in a fair bit of affirmative action. And private graduate schools can definitely do so. So even if they wanted the picture to make acceptance decisions based on gender, race, etc. it would be more (legally) acceptable for a graduate school than for an employer.

      1. Aunt Vixen*

        This was in the UK, so Title VII was a non-issue. I don’t know what protections exist in that situation (I do know their privacy laws differ from US ones to degrees that can sometimes seem quite silly – when I studied abroad and was the first to arrive at my shared student housing, the residence director was legally precluded from telling me so much as the names of my housemates who had not yet arrived) – but if you think of the two most major UK universities, this was one of them, and the other one did not ask for a photograph. So it was clearly a discretionary move on the one university’s part. And, I still maintain, a dodgy one.

        1. UK HR Bod*

          If this was in the UK – the residence director wasn’t precluded legally from telling you – s/he just didn’t understand the law. Lots of people use the data protection laws to obstruct you (which it’s not intended for) but still use your personal data wrongly (e.g. assuming consent to send you rubbish when they should ask for it). Photos aren’t usual here though, so I’m with you on reading it as dodgy.

  2. Chocolate Teapot*

    If it’s a global company, maybe the photo-at-interview is normal in the country of origin?

    If there are lots of candidates being interviewed, then perhaps it is helpful to have a reminder of what Jane S and Jane T looked like.

    1. Meredith*

      Quite possible! A lot of countries outside the US do require a professional headshot photo to accompany an application. I have not heard of any countries where the photo would happen at the interview stage, but perhaps my global experience is too limited. However, I get the impression from the OP that this isn’t really the scenario at play.

    2. rando*

      This. There are a number of countries where photos are standard during the application process.

    3. Ask a Manager* Post author

      It very well might be helpful, but that’s trumped by all the reasons not to do it. It would also be helpful to ask candidates to spend the whole day at your office, rather than coming for a specific appointment, so that you can just see them whenever is convenient for you, but that would be rude and a bad idea. Same principle here.

    4. J*

      This is exactly what I was thinking. When I went for an interview for a company in Japan, it was required to bring a picture of yourself. The same thing was required when I applied to study abroad there as well. Pretty normal practice there, if no where else.

  3. Grey*

    Maybe it’s for an employee ID card and they want to have one ready for you on your first day at work?

    1. EM*

      I was thinking along the same lines, but it’s still kind of creepy and red flaggy. It would be better to just have the person who is hired get their photo taken on their 1st day at work for the ID.

    2. Jen RO*

      I was thinking that maybe a later phase of the interview process involves you having some sort of guest access card with a photo? But that seems overkill and wtf, who doesn’t realize this is so weird?!

    3. Jubilance*

      At every company I’ve worked for (all Fortune 100), you take your photo on your first day & then they print your badge in 2 mins. It’s really not an involved process.

      1. Zillah*

        Yeah, this is my experience as well – at the nonprofit where I work, it took about 5 minutes to take my picture, program in appropriate security clearances, and create the ID. Ditto the colleges I’ve attended in the last few years.

      2. Windchime*

        Same here. That way, they get a standard background, lighting, etc. (My badge photo still looks like a prison ID, though, same as my Costco card.)

    4. thenoiseinspace*

      That’s what I thought too, but isn’t it kind of odd to do this in the middle of the interview process, when OP knows there’s at least one interview after this?

  4. Sarah*

    I’m surprised no one pointed this out, I think the photo is for others to judge your appearance. Do you fit into their ideal of the kind of person they want working for their company, whatever that may be. There’s no way out of it without looking bad, but I don’t think its just to jog anyone’s memory later on.

    1. Jen RO*

      No one pointed it out because it is so outrageous. I personally can’t believe a company could be so straightforward, even asking applicants for permission, if they were going to use the photos for something so shady. I think it’s just cluelessness, not maliciousness.

      1. Sunflower*

        Yea that’s what I was thinking. If a company was really that concerned with hiring people on the basis of looks, they would have some sort of back story already set as to why the picture was needed

    2. KarenT*

      It’s very possible that is what it’s for, but taking the photo is still strange. The employer doesn’t need a photograph to discriminate based on race, age, or how attractive someone is. They’ll see you when you walk in the door.

        1. Mike C.*

          Unless the picture is for the benefit of those who aren’t attending the earlier interviews.

      1. fposte*

        That’s my guess. Somebody worked at a place that did this once and it became a thing that they do without questioning it here.

        Honestly, a lot of things happen not because people have a reason for doing it, but because nobody’s articulated a reason not to.

    3. Celeste*

      I agree, and even though they can weed you out on looks early on, if looks are that important to them they may use them as a tiebreaker at the end.

    4. Lalou*

      It seems more likely to me that its laziness more than deliberate weird discrimination because they were open about it beforehand. If they have a photo of someone to jog their memories about them, they may think they don’t have to make detailed notes. (Of course, this is all just conjecture. They could be asking for a photo because they want to make a doorstop out of a pile of photos and only photos of job applicants will do – without access to the employer’s reasoning any reason for the photos is theoretically possible.)

  5. Biff*

    If the team member will be working with the public as a large part of their duties, I can see where this would make sense.

    However, this has shades of the weird hiring practices at American Apparel that made the news.

    1. ClaireS*

      I don’t see how whether or not you work with the public would make a difference. I think the OP would have mentioned if this was a modelling or acting gig. Other than that, no one should be judged on appearances for jobs (not to say it doesn’t happen)

      1. MissDisplaced*

        This IS very common for actors, models, news reporters, on-air talent, DJ’s (yes even them) and probably also a few PR positions. A marketing job doesn’t really fit this though, so I don’t know what they’re thinking. And you can’t really back out if it’s part of the interview.

      2. Murrie*

        If you are going to be working with the public for a conservative company and you have lots of tatoos/piercings/gages, the company could very well judge that your appearance isn’t a match. That of course would be seen when you came for the interview.

        If this is a large corporation, I think it could very well be to match the person with the notes and application to jog the memory.

        At some organizations that have a parent company, it could be that the parent company does the interviewing to a certain level and then brings the agency in at a certain level so that might be a reason for the picture.

        It is odd but I’m not sure it’s a red flag.


    2. The Real Ash*

      How would this make sense in the context of working with the public? Better make sure OP doesn’t have crooked teeth/a unibrow/adult acne/etc.?

      1. Elle D*

        I think there’s a certain expectation that people who work with the public maintain a polished and professional appearance. To me, that doesn’t mean being of a certain race/weight/height/age or having /not having certain physical characteristics, but rather that they appear neat and put together. I’m not saying this is necessarily how it should be, but I think this is pretty commonplace. This is not something that would require a photo though – you would know the second they walked in the door.

        That said, I think the OP is a market researcher so this theory doesn’t apply to the situation at hand.

        1. Puddin*

          Unless you are in some strange Mad Men universe, I do not think this applies very much at all these days. For what job would you not care if someone looked unkempt at an interview? We all expect a certain amount of professional appearance relative to the position we are filling. To deliberately weed people out for physicality, is odd and out of place. I disagree with your statement that it is commonplace – at least here in the Midwest. Perhaps it is different in higher competition areas. I am not saying that it does not happen, but I believe the bias to be subliminal not overt nowadays.

          1. Kelly L.*

            I think you’ve misread. Elle D is saying that it is common to weed people out for unkemptness but that people shouldn’t weed people out for “beauty” or lack thereof.

  6. Anonymous*

    Could the picture be for background check purposes? My company does some government contracting and we submit a photo of all applicants that make it to the second interview round as part of the background check process for all of our jobs, even ones with no government involvement. In one case did find someone had gone by a completely different name in another state (caught matching previous addresses and dates), and after more investigation we found a lot of shady stuff and they were immediately removed from the hiring process.

    1. Lora*

      Don’t think so. I’m working on a super high-security government contract as of next week, they’re running my background check now–they look through a lot of court records and so forth, and I have to go through a medical check that includes all kinds of weird stuff, but no photo. I’ve done previous similar work in the past, and they didn’t ask for a photo then, either. They were more concerned about, did we have the facilities to handle what they needed. They came to our facility and met the team personally, but I wouldn’t think that was in lieu of a photo of our smiling faces.

    2. Brett*

      We use photos in our background checks to confirm identity (see my comment below). Some fed checks are actually less thorough than state, local, and private checks (especially for contractors).

  7. Sunflower*

    I think this is really silly- you’re opening yourself up to lawsuits when there are tons of ways to know what a person looks like by just using the internet. I’ve noticed, especially in the last 6 months, how many company’s job apps ask you to link up with social media pages. I would NEVER link up with my Facebook but I do link it with my LinkedIn and boom right there, you can see what I look like. A lot of people google candidates before they interview or hire them and their photos are right there.

      1. Sunflower*

        No- I think linking applications up with social media page is just for employer’s to get a better idea of you as a candidate and maybe see who you’re connected to in the company/industry. It’s also only an option- not required. But if you’re going to chose to link your Linkedin to an application, you should have a complete profile which includes a picture.

        1. Puddin*

          It could confirm a common name situation if hiring folks were to check on FB or LI. “Oh yeah THIS is the woman we interviewed, not that other Jane Smith we creeped FB on yesterday.”

    1. TL*

      Eh, googling my name won’t get you a picture of me and until very recently I didn’t have a picture on my LinkedIn, either. (And wouldn’t connect with my LinkedIn for a job application. Yuck.)

  8. Anon*

    OP – do you have any rapport with your contact for these interviews? If so, just ask them. Just say that you are curious about the reason for the interview photo shoot as that is a request you have not encountered yet.

  9. KatieinCC*

    Yeah, I’m thinking that in this case, it’s almost less likely that it’s going to be used for shady and or discriminatory practices. It could so easily be used as evidence later on if that were the case. Still weird, though.

  10. The IT Manager*

    As there is a third stage interview after this, I am worried that I could be judged based on my appearance or race.

    I agree with Alison (right up to suspecting the purpose is to jog the memory of the decionmakers after they interview a number of people), but I wanted to point out that if the company did want to make selections based on race and even appearance that the company can do it based on seeing you in person in the 2nd interview even without a picture for posterity. If you have in person interviews, there no way to prevent the possibility of discrimination based on physical characterics from occurring.

  11. Us, Too*

    At OldJob we used to do large, group interviews involving a team exercise and it was hard to keep track of who was who. We gave everyone nametags, but you couldn’t always see a name tag. We were counseled by our HR department NEVER to describe someone by their race, age, etc – anything that could be a protected class – even in our notes. So we used clothing items most of the time – red sweater, teal scarf, etc.

    1. Lora*

      This is a great system, until the day you forget your new colleague’s name and call him Yellow Shirt Guy.

    2. Artemesia*

      When we did a group challenge with about 8 people around a table working on the challenge, all the observers had a sheet with the names of the applicants in seating order and seating was assigned so we could do that. All notes could then be taken easily about each candidate. Of course someone could still write ‘teal scarf’ I suppose it it helped them, but they would have notes and ratings on various things we were looking for on the sheets organized by name of candidate.

      1. Puddin*

        At OldJob we assigned candidates to an interview team member. So there were a lot of “Who was your guy – what was his response?” kind of questions. I think it worked ok. Oh, and we also referred to them by the company they were coming from. “Bob’s guy from Global Teapots.”

      2. Us, Too*

        Our challenge required them to move around the room, change locations, etc. Which is why sometimes you couldn’t see their nametags. :?

  12. Elizabeth*

    I work at a private school, and the admissions folks take photos of the kindergarten applicants to help the committee remember who’s who. There are over 100 applicants each year, and to remember 100 four-year-olds without any visual reminders would be a serious feat of memory, especially because some members of the admissions committee only observe the kids in group settings.

    But when we interview 4 to 6 adult candidates for a job, we don’t take pictures. Our memories should be good enough for that…

  13. coffeedevil*

    I think the reason for the photo is totally above board – that this is to match up the ‘you’ that did the interview, with the ‘you’ that turns up for the 3rd stage and first day at work. Possibly they have had previous fraudulent candidates (they do this at times with drivign tests here in the UK).
    It would have been polite to say this clearly to you to avoid the stress though.

      1. Elle D*

        I’m wondering about this as well – does anyone have a story like this? It’s fascinating!

        1. Jen RO*

          I was told by my HR manager that they did this when they were hiring in India. They were using an agency and the agency took photos of all the candidates at the interview. Apparently they had had situations where one person showed up at the (technical) interview and another person showed up on the first day of work… with zero technical knowledge. Crazy!

          I also had to submit photos when I took my university admission exams, but they had to be included with my paperwork, a month before actually taking the exams. These photos were stapled to a form that was glued to the exam desk, so they helped us find our spots and also helped the teachers make sure that no fraud went on.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Unless the particular hiring manager is hiring hundreds of people to work under her (which is very unusual, but not impossible), I would think any typical hiring manager will remember what people look like!

    2. Brett*

      Some of the specialized screening interviews, though, might be people other than the hiring manager who will not have much contact with the candidate after the interview.

      I have done technical interviews for candidates who I only see 1-2 times per year after they are hired. The officer who did my background interview never saw me again until I went to his retirement party about 3 years after I started working here.

  14. Jax*

    I’m picturing this like a bunch of casting directors digging through headshots, which isn’t particularly helpful when trying to hire a new CPA.

  15. Sherri*

    I once had a position at a large apartment complex. It was bought out by another company. Upon the other company taking over, their first day….they gathered all of us in a circle for a meeting to discuss changes. We were asked to state our names and a little bit of what we do as the new boss got out his cell phone without warning and took photos of each of us. He never even asked permission. He simply stated oh this is how I will remember you by matching faces with names. Then he proceeded to explain how the installation of cameras to watch his staff was being implemented so that when he was not there we would be on camera at all times which he could view from his laptop. Totally understand your being uncomfortable! I know I was! I left shortly after.

  16. thenoiseinspace*

    There’s no chance that part of this job will be on camera, is there? Like maybe for this job “doing research” involves interviewing people on camera? Or is there some part of the job that this could be a test for (being comfortable on camera could translate into some other skill, maybe, and this is their way of testing for it?) I realize this is a reach, I’m just trying to think of something that doesn’t involve malice and works at this point in the interview process. If the job involved being on camera (say, a Skype international meeting?) then this might make sense as a test for that skill. Maybe.

    1. The Real Ash*

      How would having a picture taken of yourself show that you are good at being on video? I know you’re just spitballing there, but in now way does that make sense.

      1. thenoiseinspace*

        A lot of people are uncomfortable in front of even a still-shot camera. Lots of pauses and asking the photographer “is this okay?” every few seconds instead of just posing comfortably. It stresses some people out, and some people can roll with it. I mean, it’s not a modeling job, so being good at having a picture taken can’t be part of the job – I’m just wondering if there’s any part of the job that uses similar skills or would make this relevant.

        From the brief description of the job that we have, I can’t figure out how it would be relevant, but this request is just odd enough to make me wonder if there is a legitimate purpose behind doing it, and at this stage in the process. A lot of the things you do at second interviews are tests, though usually something more formal than this (editing test, programming test, whatever the job is.) That’s why I’m wondering if there’s any way that that’s what this is. I mean, if that’s the purpose, then it’s a pretty bad test, but it makes more sense than discrimination (which, as others have pointed out, you don’t need a photo to do.)

  17. Brett*

    Um, we take photos of applicants because we have access to a facial recognition service that runs identity checks, particularly against arrest records.

    That might seem a bit out there, but I am guessing that a company described as a “large global research company” could have access to the same service or a similar service and use that photo for an identity check too.

      1. Brett*

        They definitely should. It might even violate the terms of the service to use it for a background check without the express consent of the person being investigated.

  18. Anonymous*

    I can see a photo request being totally reasonable in an interview for a model or an actor/actress, in roles where appearance is important. (For example, as a 5’11” overweight white guy, I would never be chosen for the title role in “Shaq: The Musical”, and a quick glance at my photo in advance could save everyone the time of me having to interview in that situation) But for a research company? Nope, doesn’t really make sense.

    1. TL*

      Yeah but generally they’re allowed to put appearance requests – tall, African-American, tall, fit – on those job ads.

      Also, I think actors/models usually send their headshots in, so it’s generally not asked for. (Maybe? Someone with experience in the industry could say for certain.)

      1. some1*

        When I was a kid I was into theater used to audition for my local children’s theaters. They took polaroids of us at the audition because most of us weren’t professionals (head shots are expensive). But as a general rule, I think you are correct, the head shot is supplied by actor/model or her agent.

      2. Loose Seal*

        In the professional theatre, the actors (or their agents) send in 8″x10″ headshots with their resumes on the back. The actors have the ability to hire the photographer of their choice and gets to choose the final picture(s).

        Generally speaking, a lot of theaters will cast without regard to race, age, or gender unless it’s necessary for the role; it’s called non-traditional casting. But they all still want pictures up front. Sometimes those pictures are used in the playbill or framed in the lobby but other times they are just for the casting team to review.

  19. NewDoc*

    We were required to upload pictures for our residency applications. Now having been on the other side, it makes sense…most places interview 200-300 applicants and then have to rank them in order of preference for the match…since interview season lasts from October to January with 1-2 interviews a week, it would be really hard to do even with notes, without the photos to jog your memory. But then, most jobs don’t have a “match” so are interviewing fewer candidates…

  20. Lalou*

    I had my photo taken when I arrived for my first (and only) interview for the job I have now. It did not occur to me as strange at the time as its a secure site and I think security takes pictures of all visitors. I would find it strange if it was my interviewer wanting the photo though – I’d hope that my skills and personality which I would demonstrate in the interview would be memorable enough, and I’d be worried that even just a tiny part of them may be judging me on my appearance rather than my ability to do the job.

    1. NutellaNutterson*

      I was just thinking that if they wanted it for nefarious purposes, the easiest way would be to start a policy of photo id security badges for all visitors. Most people wouldn’t think twice about it.

  21. Apollo Warbucks*

    Maybe you could ask the person taking the photo what they are going to be used for, if you asked in a casual manner at the time the photo is taken then it will just look like you’re making conversation rather than coming across as difficult or demanding

  22. the_scientist*

    This doesn’t strike me as being super unusual, although it’s obviously less common in a job setting than the academic world. I have an interview for an extremely competitive professional graduate program this week, and I’ve been asked to provide a picture of myself at my interview. When I interviewed last year at two different schools, they took a picture of me at the end of the interview (that was awkward- I’m sure my face was flushed as anything and I looked uncomfortable). I think it’s pretty common for medical school interviews as well, based on my friends’ experience. At any rate, to me it’s a visual cue to “put a face to the name”; nothing more, although I can see how it’s problematic for all sorts of reasons.

  23. Kimberlee, Esq.*

    I just wanna say, I haven’t even done that many interviews, and having pictures of applicants would be SO handy. I absolutely wouldn’t do it, for all the reasons Alison suggests and more, but part of me wants this to be OK for purely benign reasons. One of those “if the world were a totally different place…” wistful ideas.

    1. KayDay*

      Yep, agree with all this, especially the part about absolutely not doing this in real life! But it’s so much easier for me to remember things about a person by their face than by their name (ummm, was Jessica the pink-shirted girl from Idaho who ran a summer camp or was she the green-shirted girl from Minnesota who ran an ice-cream shop?) But again, wouldn’t do it IRL for all the many, many, many reasons described above.

  24. salad fingers*

    As an aside, I was recently told by our new HR director that I should never jot down notes, at all, period, on people’s resumes. Is anyone else familiar with this. Usually the notes have to do with the candidate’s availability (I manage shift work for folks who often work part time elsewhere), time period worked at a former job if it isn’t listed, reason for leaving, etc. Certainly nothing outrightly discriminatory, nothing that I think would be even borderline so. Anyway, it’s not a huge hassle to change this habit, but it did surprise me a bit.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Your HR director is being ridiculous. She doesn’t want you to jot down notes in case you write down something legally problematic (comments on race, age, etc.), but instead of training you in hiring without violating the law, she’s making a blanket rule that impedes your effectiveness.

      1. salad fingers*

        Thanks for clarifying — it seemed that way to me too. The other thing I found interesting is that she doesn’t want to take part in any interviews, where our last HR director close to insisted on it. A weird form of inconsistent micromanaging…

  25. Juni*

    I saw this happen at one organization – it was put into place specifically to help cover up a senior partner’s increasing dementia.

  26. Lizzie*

    I’m in a doctoral program that requires a full-year clinical internship to complete, and the competition for those slots is fierce. They often interview up to a dozen people for each of the slots they have available, and it’s fairly common to take photos of the applicants. When you’re interviewing and ranking dozens of (mostly) late-twenties women in similar suits, I can see how it becomes necessary. It didn’t bother me at all.

  27. Frustrated Job Seeker*

    I noticed something like this once at a hiring fair for a marketing/event planning agency I went to last year – for most of the people they interviewed (keep in mind these were first-time meetings), they took photos of everyone afterwards “so they could remember who they talked to/what they looked like” To me, having physical photos attached to paper applications with social security numbers and other personal info seems like the perfect storm for identity theft…

    The whole hiring fair was very disorganized anyway – no job descriptions, just a huge list of positions with no real context (my best guess is that it was a bunch of contact work) I never even got an opportunity to interview because they ran out of time (my friend that came along had her’s cut in half) – was just took to leave my materials and they would follow-up (“shockingly,” they did not) They even (accidentally?) gave me a list of interview questions and the scoring metrics beforehand.

  28. Rachel*

    I think you are reading into this far more than you need to. When my organization hires for a training program, in which we are looking to hire 10 – 20 people at the same time, we send along a photo release request asking for candidates to provide us with a professional picture of themselves for us to file with their interview profiles. It has absolutely nothing to do with appearance, other than can the candidate discern what is or is not an appropriate professional picture for this request. Aside from that simple fact, we are just looking to help jog our memories while going through the rigorous process of narrowing down the candidate pool to our top choices. It becomes hard to remember each candidate when you have interviewed so many individuals, even with good notes, they do tend to begin to blur together after awhile.

    1. KayDay*

      Also, not everyone has a professional portrait of themselves. A work-appropriate snapshot or maybe a passport photo might be the best a person can do.

      1. Jen RO*

        I read “professional” as in “not a photo of the candidate out clubbing”, not as “taken by a professional photographer”.

    2. Kerr*

      FWIW, whenever I see a photo request, I think very poorly of the company and don’t apply. If it isn’t strictly necessary, I’d strongly consider removing the requirement.

      With the growth of facial recognition technology, I could see candidates in the near future being concerned that nosy employers might try to use the image to find matches to other photos online that might otherwise be less easy to discover (buried in a friend’s Facebook album but not tagged, etc.).

  29. Anonymous*

    I’m glad someone wrote in about this, because I had an interview about 4 years ago, where they requested to take my photo, and I’m still totally uncomfortable about it! I was contacted for an HR Administrator position at one of those companies to which other companies outsource HR services (I didn’t apply for it). They had a TV screen in the waiting room playing a slideshow of ‘hilarious’ responses they had received to interview questions. Seemed kind of funny at first, but after about 5 minutes of watching it, it just seemed weird. Once they brought me in, they asked if they could take my photo. At that moment, I decided that the interview was creepy. During the interview, they had their boss come in (who was sitting behind a window, watching us), who aggressively questioned me on why I thought I should be earning more than I already was at my current (now previous) position. He was apparently offended that I would ever be looking to earn more income than I had been earning at the time. I’ve been to some strange interviews in my time, but I usually just assume it’s because the business doesn’t have much of an HR/Recruiting department. This company…just creepy.

  30. BCW*

    I’ll be honest, I was once involved in an interview process (not that I had final say) and there are times where it really would have been a LOT easier to compare 2 people if there was a picture to go along with it. Part of it was that we interviewed A LOT of people for one position (again, not my call). But after a while they all started running together. I had my notes of course so I knew that I liked this attribute, and didn’t like another. However, if I had to compare 2 people, I often didn’t know who was who. Also, our pool of interviewees wasn’t exactly diverse. It was like all white women 22-25, so people didn’t exactly stand out. Before it gets brought up, there was absolutely no racism involved at all. We all got resume’s without the name attached to rate, and the highest rated ones got called for an interview. Its just what it happened to be based on our applicant pool. Anyhow, I do understand WHY thats a bad idea, but as has been mentioned, if we wanted to discriminate based on appearance, we didn’t need a picture to do so.

  31. Amanda*

    I interviewed with the American branch of a company based out of western Europe. The final hiring decisions were made by headquarters, so they asked to take headshots of each candidate to get “better acquainted.” I didn’t think anything of it at the time (it was my first job out of college), but in many European countries, headshots are included in CVs. I think in my case it was purely cultural.

  32. Anonymous*

    I am a hiring manager at a large global corporation. We sometimes take a screenshot during a web interview to make sure that the person who interviewed is the same person who shows up on the first day since we have had more than one past instance of someone getting their more knowledgeable friend to take the skills interview for them. I wouldn’t think that would be necessary for a face to face interview, though.

  33. Katie C.*

    It does feel gross, but I agree with the advice here. If you don’t have your photo taken, that’s what they’ll remember about you.

    I once interviewed for a job at a student loan company, and after my initial interview, they requested that I make a short video explaining why I should be hired. The person who interviewed me explained that it was to show the board of hiring managers, so they could have a sense of who I was beyond my resume and their notes. That makes it a lot different from submitting a photo, but it was still super awkward.

  34. Reddy*

    My partner once commenced a new job a couple of months after the interview (they took a long time to decide & get the paperwork together).

    On his first day the manager said “Oh, you’ve grown a beard”. He’d had the beard for about 20 years, so we still wonder whether they thought they’d hired the other guy!

  35. Courtney*

    I had one interview and right in the beginning the interviewer told me he was taking my picture. I was caught off guard but smiled and let them take the photo. The interviewer’s excuse was that he had a bad memory and wanted to make sure he could remember the face with the resume and his resume notes. I really needed the job because it was in my industry and I was currently unemployed from a layoff. Fast forward a year later after I took the job. He was nothing but a dirty old man and wanted to make sure he hired a “young, pretty girl.” (I don’t necessarily agree with ANY of that description but that’s an aside.) Everything about that job was terrible. I now work where the only photo anyone took of me was to put on my badge. Now, it may have been that I just had one negative experience but I have no respect for anyone who needs a photo of me for an interview. Never letting that one happen to me again.

  36. Elizabeth*

    When I worked for State Parks, they took photos of us at the interviews. They let us know it was to help keep faces with the applications because some of the parks who needed employees did not have anyone there representing them that day. It may not be normal in all situations, but I can understand that no one has a perfect memory and may remember faces, but not names, or vice versa. :)

  37. Vick Barker*

    It’s hard to believe a large global research firm would make such an obvious legal faux pas. They’re opening themselves up to a discrimination lawsuit.

  38. Not photogenic*

    I had my photo asked to be taken when I walked into an interview for an art university. It was awkward but I didn’t think that deeply into it. I’m surprised to find this post here! Thing is, the moment I walked in I could tell that the interviewers already didn’t like me or the way I was. They were rushing and didn’t seem to want to see any of my works or hear me talk and they were also a bit adversarial to boot. I felt very uncomfortable and pretty much jammed up. I have no idea why they even bothered to invite me after that because it seemed to me I was already annoying them somehow or that they were tired of interviewing that day. Left a bad taste in my mouth. Did not get in and I feel like it was for the better now.

  39. Kristina*

    I moved to NYC 3 months ago. I am a former Federal Government Police Officer with a security clearance etc. My qualifications speak for themselves but almost EVERY single Administrative job i apply for in this state wants a headshot/recent photo and LOTS ask for one face & one body photo. Never in my life have I seen this unless I was doing Extra (acting) work on TV shows. Being your EA has no bearing on my face or body and with women dominant of administration work since te 1960’s I think it’s a skeevie trick by men who want a young, pretty assistant OR since females do the majority of hiring, a jealousy issue. There REALLY needs to be better regulations in business. No wonder so many of us former middle class & middle agers remain unemployed. It’s despicable and ppl should be fired for it.

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