A Picture is Worth a Thousand...Applications

Posted by Jessica Morales

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May 17, 2013

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These days, online dating has become somewhat of a norm. You create a profile, write a brief description about yourself, upload the best picture of the bunch, and BOOM – instant date notifications.Like it or not, your picture is worth a thousand words. People are immediately drawn to you, what you like, where you work. Didn’t upload your picture? Don’t expect the same results. The fear of not knowing who you’re talking to can be daunting, especially in an online setting.  In a way, online job-hunting is just like online dating. 

For the past two years, I’ve been an Account Manager on the Recruiter Relations team and consistently hear on a daily basis, “How can I get more job seekers to apply to my position?” Our answer is always the same, “It appears your profile is incomplete. To get the most effective results on our site, you’ll need to upload a picture of yourself.”  

In a recent blog post about our eye-tracking study, we revealed that most job seekers spend only 60 seconds looking at a JReq. However, the white paper did not include that jobs with a photo received almost 80% more viewing timeby the job seekers. With that in mind, TheLadders set out to learn more about the power of a profile picture. We ran a study measuring the success rate of a job posting attached to a recruiter profile with a picture vs. a job posting attached to a profile without a picture. Here’s what we uncovered:

  • In an industry where your looks could help close the deal, sales jobs with a profile picture averaged more than 10% of applications than those without a picture
  • Sales jobs posted by a recruiter with a profile picture were filled nearly a week faster than those with no associated picture
  • The largest effect was that engineering jobs with a picture saw a 20% lift in applications
  • Interestingly, job seekers applying to tech jobs saw no real difference when a picture was included. Could it be these coders are more interested in your coding skills than your close-up?

As we have seen time and again, gender is also a significant factor in the power of a profile picture.

  • Female recruiters with a picture received 19% more applies per job than their female counterpart with no picture. Males in this scenario saw a 6% bump
  • Sales jobs actually displayed a pretty massive gender gap
    • Females with a picture received applies by more than 57% than females with no picture
    • Jobs posted by males with a picture had a 12% bump over jobs posted by males without a picture. Compare to other industries, this is a fairly large picture bump.

Across the board, the presence of a picture had a positive effect on the number of applications received for all jobs when compared to jobs that only have a generic avatar. Based on these results, it’s clear that just like online dating, job seekers want to make the most meaningful human connection as possible, even though they are using the internet. Maybe the best part about this study is that generating more applications is as easy as uploading an image. So, log in to your account and update your profile today (maybe don’t use a picture from that last wild trip to Vegas).


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Jessica Morales is an Account Manager at TheLadders. When she’s not managing her accounts, Jessica loves to travel, watch or go to football games (go GIANTS!) and  spend time with family and friends.