LinkedIn Profile Photo Series (2 of 3): Is a LinkedIn profile photo really that important for an Executive Recruiter? Well, I asked one.

Often, we hear about the speed of a first impression, or the time it takes to form an opinion about someone, can be less than a second.  Going even deeper, Vanessa Van Edwards, Lead Investigator at Science of People, says, “the face and its expressions, also known as microexpressions, are the window to the soul—if you know how to read them.”

So, what does your LinkedIn profile photo say about you?

I chatted with, Dan, a senior partner at an International Professional Executive Recruitment Firm, and asked about the importance of a LinkedIn profile photo. Dan has over 25 years experience in the recruitment field and has sifted through thousands of profiles and resumes, trying to find the perfect candidate. This is Part 2 of the LinkedIn Profile Photo series.


Should you smile in a LinkedIn profile photo?

Yes, for sure. But, I have worked with some cultures where they don’t smile, in any of their photos. You don’t need a huge, weekend, I just won the lottery smile, but something that shows you are confident, approachable, and authentic.

Do you need a professional headshot or will a selfie do?

Unless you are really good at taking selfies, or have access to a state-of-the-art photo booth, it is highly recommended to have a professional headshot. Take the time, spend the money that you can afford, for a professional headshot. Simply, you will be taken more seriously. Update it every few years, so it represents who you are and how you look today.

People should be more proactive to position themselves on how they want to be perceived, as opposed to “this is a nice photo I have on my phone that I can use”. It is about personal branding, and a bad photo can play against them, rather than, for them.

Are LinkedIn profile photos different depending on the job a candidate is seeking?

Absolutely, and it depends on the job market that a candidate interested in.  An actor will likely have a very different photo as compared to a lawyer. It makes a difference. For example, recently I was conducting a search for a Chief Information Officer and the candidate had a “cartoon caricature” as their profile. Perhaps they wanted to come across as being fun, or they don’t take themselves too seriously, but for this type of job, you need to put in the effort to make yourself presentable and professional.

Do LinkedIn profile photos every “mis-match” with the candidate when you meet them in person?

Some photos make me laugh because they were clearly taken a long time ago, perhaps when they were more in shape or younger, but they don’t influence the content of their experience and who they are as a potential candidate.

However, if a candidate’s photo is very different than how they actually do look, it does make you pause and think. If a candidate is going for an interview, in person, or virtually, and the person does not match their profile, it can be a negative start to the discussion. Really, not the best first impression.



Read Part 1 of 3: LinkedIn Profile Photo Series

Read Part 2 of 3: LinkedIn Profile Photo Series

Read Part 3 of 3: LinkedIn Profile Photo Series



In the Part 3, the final article, of the LinkedIn Profile Photo series, Dan talks about “bad” LinkedIn profile photos. He describes an image that is one of his most memorable, for all the wrong reasons!

#recruitment #jobsearch #linkedinprofile #personalbranding #headshots