Displaying one’s photo on the CV is rare in Quebec, because Quebec law prohibits discrimination on personal characteristics, a door that the photo opens. However, it is mandatory in Asia and Europe! Should you add a smile to your skills on paper?
It’s part of the new way of presenting oneself,” says Alain Houle, recruiter at Gestion Alain Houle & Associés. A photo immediately creates a bond with the person looking at it. “It’s very easy to find the candidate on social networks, where there is often already a photo. The paper is gone,” continues Alain Houle. If you’re a professional, you should be on LinkedIn, and I’ll be more comfortable talking to you if there’s a photo on your profile. »
He does not believe that a resume without a portrait eliminates systemic discrimination of candidates. A study by the Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse showed that a candidate with a Quebec family name is “at least 60% more likely to be invited to a job interview than someone with an African, Arabic or Latin American-sounding name.
Being chosen for the right reasons
Bianca* remembers putting her photo on her CV for her first student job, in a chocolate factory, for which she had no work experience: “My boss told me afterwards that she showed my CV to other colleagues to show them my photo, because she thought I was beautiful,” says the woman who now works in communications and culture. When she found out, she was flattered and then annoyed. “Later, she often told me that I was doing a good job, that she was happy to have me on her team and I know it was for other qualities than my physical appearance, but I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have been hired without my photo. »
Bianca later chose to remove her photo from her CV, even though she was often tempted to put it back for sales and communications positions: “Not putting my photo on my CV guarantees that I will stand out for what my expertise can bring to the company before my beautiful smile. And I think it’s unfortunately all the more important for a woman in today’s job market to make the distinction,” she adds.
She is one of those who believe that an application should not be judged on a person’s appearance at the screening stage, especially since there will always be time to make a statement in an interview through presentation and gestures.
In addition, since the photo on the CV is unusual in Quebec, it provokes negative reactions and questions. Some recruiters wonder why the candidate added it and may conclude that the candidate is trying to take advantage of his or her looks in the hiring process. Judgment is also subjective: even if the photo is professional, it is not known how the recruiter will perceive the candidate. It’s a risk you have to take!
*The name has been changed to protect the identity of the person.