A  Washington state aviation company posted a job listing for a Human Resources Manager. Mostly, the job listing is pretty normal, mentioning things like employee relations, policies and procedures, and tracking vacation time. But, if you scroll down to the bottom, you find this gem:

"Those applicants that chose to include a photograph with their resume will be given first consideration for a personal interview."

Lena Smith found it and did what you should always do with a sketchy job posting: 

To be clear, it is not illegal to ask for a photograph. But, in the United States, submitting a photograph for anything outside of performing arts is not the norm, nor should it be. It is standard in many places in the world, and photographs on LinkedIn are common, but it just feels different say you'll give preference to someone who submits a picture. 

There is no reason why a Human Resources Manager position needs a picture. Your race, gender, age, eye color, height, make-up choices, or man bun do not indicate whether you have the knowledge, skills, and abilities to do the job. 

The only reason to want a picture is to make a judgment based on how people look. And while, technically, it's not illegal to say "no man buns," it's a bad idea (the bun and saying that). Asking to see a picture indicates that you will be making a judgment based on superficial (how pretty someone is, hairstyle) or illegal (race, gender, ethnicity, and even religion) grounds.

I emailed this company to ask them about it, and they didn't respond. But, they did update their job posting to remove the photograph request. They left in, however, the request tto explain who you are.

Knowing they previously asked for photo, the statement that they are "very interested in 'who you are'" still has a high degree of inappropriateness attached. Who the right applicants are, are people who are experienced human resources managers who, perhaps, have an interest in aviation.

Their non-aviation hobbies, marital status, or weekend activities are irrelevant. People talk about cultural fit, and that is important. But that means that you'll feel comfortable at work. It's not a demand that everyone be similar, and you certainly cannot tell cultural fit by a photograph.

I will, however, give credit where credit is due. They state an expected salary:

This is how job postings should be. Let your applicants know the range you're looking at. They will self select if that salary meets their expectations.

Remember, Washington State has a brand new law that went into effect at the end of July, that prohibits companies from asking for salary history. Make sure that when you ask for expectations, it's truly expectations and not a proxy for salary history.

Job postings can often be trickier than they seem on the surface. This company definitely needs a good HR manager to make sure they are in compliance with all laws--and no longer ask for pictures.

Published on: Sep 10, 2019
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.