Taking a Photo of a candidate

I have searched the forums to see if this has been addressed.  I was unable to find any related information, so here goes:

Legally, when our company conducts an interview with a candidate, can we take a photo of them to attach to their resume? 

I was approached with this today by my CEO, and am unsure if this can potentially open a can of worms. 


Thanks in advance for the guidance!


  • 5 Comments sorted by Votes Date Added
  • Legally - yes, you can. There is no law against it.

    Are you opening a potential can of worms - yes, you are.  This could lead to potential challenges of racial discrimination if you are not real careful.  Personally, I would not go down that path unless you have a position that the ability to photograph well was a bone fide job requirement (such as a swim-suit model, etc.)

  • I agree that this is a can of worms.  I think that it also sends up a flag to applicants.  Those who don’t get the job will wonder if it is because they are of a different race, sex,over weight, not pretty enough etc.  Your giving them ammunition before there is ever a problem.  <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />

    Did the CEO say why he wanted to do this?  If it's simply to remember one candidate from the other, then there are lots of ways to refresh your memory.  But again be careful of the notes you make.  You dont want to be in court and have the jury hear, "the one with the big nose". 


  • I'm the H/R guy of a mid size Fire and EMS organization. We used to take pictures at interviews as well. We have since discontinued that practice. In light of the potential problem of an accusation that the pictures could be used to identify protected classes, I had to ask myself "what is the business necessity of having a picture of a candidate?" There was no answer other than to identify or refresh my memory of who the candidate was. Actually all of the information that I needed to make a decision about the hire is contained in the pre-employment folder; test scores, background investigations, education, interview results, employment application and references. So why do I need a picture? I had to admit that I do not. I do not know if it is illegal to take the picture. I do know that if a compliant of discrimination arises either for a protected class or an ADEA complaint, that without a legitimate business necessity for the picture then it could be used against you. We have decided as a matter of best practice to NOT take pictures.


    Hope this helps

  • LadyAnn hit the nail on the head.  Why does the company want to the pictures?  Unless you have a business reason (like you work for a modeling agency) then I would stick with your application and interview guides attached to the resume. You are opening a can of worms that could get very costly if you don't hire someone and they challenge your decision. The judge and jury are going to want to know why you attached a picture.  If the person is claiming he/she was not hired because of their race or gender you are going to have a hard time convincing a judge and jury otherwise with the picture attached.

    So as LadyAnn said, it is not illegal but unless you have a good business reason why then I wouldn't do it. 

  • One could argue that the photograph doesn't provide any information that a person wouldn't normally have gotten in the first 3 seconds of an interview.

    The problem is that another person in the decision making process may be swayed by something in the photo before they do a second interview.  What job relevent criteria are available in the photo that you could defend playing a role in swinging a person's decision?  For most jobs, none.  In the end, I think most people will agree that seeing a picture of someone and meeting someone are not precisely the same thing.

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