Friday, 25 January 2013

A (profile) picture speaks a thousand words, so choose yours carefully!

A recent post on this blog pointed an accusing and suspicious finger at female recruitment consultants whose profile images on LinkedIn revealed far more flesh than was considered to be appropriate.

It's interesting that since reading the initial blog, one of my fellow bloggers in the USA has undertaken some parallel research and seems to have discovered that the tendency to display expanses of flesh appears to be a UK phenomenon that is not mirrored across the Atlantic.

But debate with a couple of fellow bloggers and commentators has caused the editorial team of HR Case Studies to reflect that there is a worrying  parallel to this phenomenon among the members of the recruitment profession: where females display their cleavage, males display their cars!

OK, perhaps we're only talking about one specific individual (and again, the names and details have been changed to avoid further embarrassment) but what does the use of a shiny blue Lamborghini as a profile picture say to the watching world?

What it says to me is that the person is motivated by material gain, by the acquisition of expensive luxury items that are beyond the reach of the majority of the population, that I, as either a client or a candidate of that particular recruitment consultant are nothing more than a means to him acquiring (or perhaps funding) his lifestyle.

The use of such an image tells me that that particular individual is concerned with things rather than people, cares little for the environment, and (most importantly) considers himself to be a member of a group that will never include me.

The use of such an image also makes me wonder whether, were I to engage this particular individual in my capacity of purchaser of recruitment services, I would be screwed financially in order to assist him to maintain his expensive luxury lifestyle.

Significantly, it makes me reflect on whether this individual is an isolated case, or whether it's the entire recruitment  profession that thinks and feels like that.

So, before you upload your profile picture onto any social media site, question the effect it will have on your audience.

Incidentally, someone asked your humble editor what car he would use as a LinkedIn profile picture, and why. You'll see my choice above.  A Morris Traveller: solid, dependable, built to last, easy to maintain, a turner of heads for all the right reasons, a reminder of a bygone age when quality mattered. And, probably above all: delightfully quirky!


  1. To me - your picture suggestion evokes images of someone who is out of touch. Different strokes for different folks.

    Not everyone uses LinkedIn for the purpose you presume. Having a picture of a car means that in his own time, that guy probably likes cars. That's it. That has no bearing on what he is like as a person, how hard he works or how professional he is - he just probably likes cars.

    As for the previous post on LinkedIn pictures - again, it is no business of yours how people want to portray themselves and their photos have no bearing on the quality of work/recruitment they can produce. If you don't want to engage with people on the basis of a photo they like then I think that says more about you than them. Remember, an image you find provocative does not necessarily mean that the rest of the world does.

    They are only pictures. Lord of The Rings have had a lot of terrible covers but they're still great books.

  2. Anonymous: I'll sidestep the issue of what the picture of a Morris Traveller says about me, and just add that those people to whom I have circulated the "original" photographs that the previous post mentioned unanimously responded with a comment along the lines of "surely that's not a genuine picture from LinkedIn, is it?"

    Also, the inappropriateness of images used by certain recruitment "professionals" was in fact drawn to my attention by a number of members of that profession who were despairing at the antics of some of their peers and colleagues!

    It ain't just me!