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In Singapore, it is the norm to demand from candidates a “non-returnable” photograph with their job applications.
Many companies – small and medium enterprises (SMEs), multinational corporations (MNCs) and government linked companies (GLCs) – simply parrot this nonsense.
This creates a perception of discrimination in hiring.
But I also believe that many so-called HR professionals in Singapore are ignorant and merely copying and pasting stuff that they had seen and experienced when they first applied for a job.
Too bad, the photo can’t talk. Sometimes you see a pleasant and presentable photo but when you engage the person on the telephone, the basic telephone mannerism and warmth is lacking. This person may not be suitable for a Customer Service position but If it is for a backroom data processing job that does not require communications, perhaps this person might fit.
The conclusion still lies on what is the requirement of the hirer and what qualifications and expertise the candidate brings.
However if it is for modelling or an air stewardess as such, photo is one of the selection criteria I believe. In putting up a job advertisement, the company should list only that which is necessary to meet their job requirement.
Why ask for the sake of “nice to have”. Hiring is serious. I agree with you on this post, Eric.
Eric Alagan said:
Thank you, Windy,
For your well thought out comment.
What is shocking and surprising is, some employers demand photos even for senior level positions.
Photographs are potential means to discriminate along looks, age and racial lines.
All good wishes,
A very significant point, Eric.
This was a recent experience I had. A candidate submitted his photograph and in it he looks like the K-Pop star with the typical hairdo and special effect photo shoot. When he turned up for the interview, reality is far from imagery.
So what’s the point of sending a photo, just to get a step in for the interview? Admittedly at that instance, I felt slightly disappointed, fortunately this was not crucial for me. What I did not like was, I felt that the candidate was not totally honest. He was referred to us by a Temp agency whom we have been using and had a good track record of sending us very good temp staff.
Desperate and very short handed, we decided to overlook the misled photo, did a very short interview since he will be on a 3 months contract and doing simple admin work, and took him in. Bad mistake, within two weeks, he came up with all sorts of excuses not to turn up for work, ranging from grandma in hospital, family going overseas and he has to follow, girlfriend’s relative sick and drinking late with friends on Christmas eve.
On hind side, I should have trusted my instinct about the misled photo.
Eric Alagan said:
It’s interesting what you say, Jasey.
I too had similar experiences when using employment agencies. They routinely enclose the candidate’s photograph even when I did not request for it.
And there have been several cases where the photo and the person who presents him/herself are two totally different entities. This might indicate their fear, lack of confidence and perhaps even integrity.
At best – this gives a poor first impression.
All good wishes,