LinkedIn Profile Photo Series (3 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 3 of the LinkedIn Profile Photo series.

Have you ever seen any “bad” LinkedIn profile photos?

Yes, just yesterday, l was looking at a resume of a candidate applying for a very senior position at a financial firm, and I am looking at his photo thinking, why is he posting this, he will never be taken seriously.

Do any “bad” LinkedIn profiles photos come to mind?

I was recruiting for a large international engineering firm and the potential candidate had incredible and relevant experience. However, her photo showed her on the deck of a sailboat, looking disheveled, and with a glass of wine in her hand. Instantly, as a first impression, you think about this person needing to present to a Boards of Directors, high levels of government, an international collation, or interact with senior engineers. If the first image they are portraying to the public is showing them as chilling, relaxing, and drinking wine on a sailboat, you wonder how they are going perform when presenting to various stakeholders such as a private equity group?

Can a “bad” LinkedIn profile photo follow you, or haunt you?

The Internet does not forget. If you post a photo after a few beers because you think it is good, and then the next day, replace it, it does not go away that easily. When I search my name, an old, not very good photo still appears! So, keep in mind, even if you delete photos, they linger around in cyperspace, seemingly, forever!

How do you prepare to meet a candidate, based on their LinkedIn Profile photo?

When I am searching for a candidate, the first thing I will do is look at their photo, and assuming it is a professional one, an immediate impression of the person is made, simply by their photo. A lot can be expressed in a photo. Now, 9 times out 10, I am often wrong, because who knows, maybe they did not want to smile that day, or were not feeling well, but the photo does give you an instant feeling on how that person is going to be. It can dictate my approach depending on if they look intimidating or have a more engaging and down to earth look. First impressions, do exist.

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