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Wednesday, February 2, 2011

No Photos, Please

Yesterday I went to an event that was sponsored by WNYC Public Radio here in the Big Frozen Apple. It was called "Out From Behind the Apron" and it was a forum that discussed the state of the food service industry. I was happy to be invited to speak but I was even more excited that I got to meet a few readers who came out to voice their opinions. A super shout out to Michelle and Araby who work at Palo Santo in Brooklyn. They told me the next time I am in Brooklyn that I should come by and I am totes gonna take them up on that offer, so be ready, girls.

Anyhoo, at the event Araby brought up a point that touched a nerve with the room. She expressed her sheer and utter disgust (my description, not hers) at craigslist ads for servers that require a resume AND a photo. I have written about it before, but it bears repeating. When a restaurant asks that you submit a headshot, they may as well be saying "Please be young, attractive and sexy. Thanks." It pisses me off because no amount of attractiveness is going to beat my 127 years of experience waiting tables. (I started on May 1, 1884, the same day that the eight-hour work day was first proclaimed by the Federation of Organized Trades and Labor Unions in the United States. I was a busser at Ye Olde Fish and Chip Shoppe/Salad Bar.) One time I tried an experiment on craigslist. I sent in my resume and headshot for a job. I also sent in my resume with a headshot that I lifted from the Internet of a model. I expected that the hot guy's resume would get a call. As it turns out, they didn't call based on either headshot, so apparently my resume just sucks. Araby said that she doesn't send in pictures because she knows that since she wears glasses, they will never call her in. Araby, shame on you for believing that gentleman don't make passes at girls who wear glasses. Araby had a sexy Tina Fey thing going on and I'm pretty sure she wanted a piece of my pancake (wink, wink). Just sayin', but I digress. The point is that no restaurant should need a picture to hire someone. What other profession requires a headshot other than actor or model? Can you imagine a school district looking for a math teacher, but asking for a recent photo? That would never happen. Or a law firm asking for potential attorneys to do that? Nope. But waiters? Sure, why not? They think we servers are a dime a dozen and for every one who won't send a picture there will be ten who will. They're probably right. Thy will keep asking because people will keep sending them in. I guess eventually we will all have to head over to the mall and make an appointment at Glamour Shots if we want a fucking job serving food. Here's mine:







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20 comments:

Jamesrfitz said...

The sad fact is that our society has become so focused on celebrity and appearance that indeed people are more likely to make a purchase from an "attractive" person than a "plain" person. Taller people get hired more frequently than shorter people. Thinner people get preference over stout people. Believe it or not, blondes still get preference according to hiring statistics. So the current options are a) Be born beautiful b) Have surgery to correct your deficiencies c) develop your powers of persuasion no one can refuse you d) accept a lower paying job. Which did you do, Bitchy?

Bagel Fairy said...

I hate that shit. My cafe's franchise just got bought out, and they're deliberately putting all the girls in the FOH and guys in BOH, though they won't admit to it by making it official policy.

Some retail stores like Abercrombie are even worse - they don't even try to hide anymore that they only hire young, tan, white, skinny associates. Even the corporate offices and distribution centers are like that.

The shape of one's face and body should not provide a free pass for everything in life.

Anthony said...

All kidding aside...You're right. your body of work, and your merit...Should qualify you for a position. By the way, you look like a s--t disturber, just the same, Bitchy! IMHO.

Athena said...

That sucks, but unfortunately happens frequently all over the world. When I just graduated and needed a little job whilst looking for the one I studied for, I noticed that shops always asks for a picture, clothing shops, shoe shops you name it, they all ask for a picture. Discriminating really.. but the same can be said about foreign names. I they can choose between John or Yusef, there's no doubt who they'll pick. A friend of mine works in a job agency, and sometimes the companies clearly state that they don't want foreign candidates or for receptionist job or something, for someone 'nice looking and feminine'. Kinda illegal, but the agencies comply with them anyway.

Krissy said...

That is seriously screwed up. Maybe you should send your resume in with a note that says, "I'll show you mine if you show me yours." Just to see if they'll respond. Just sayin'.

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Stephanie said...

Wow...I guess I never realized that this sort of thing happens. (please forgive me, I have never worked in the restaurant biz.) It is really ridiculous. I would much rather have a competent server who gets my order right, rather than someone who is hot and will flirt with me for tips.

sally said...

I'm pretty cynical, but I would be willing to bet that this is very much a racist thing-- but also that they don't want to even bother interviewing people with facial or neck tattoos, wild hair, multiple piercings, head scarves etc.

I KNOW that the best looking people often get the better jobs,
(that sort of discrimmination has been around forever) but I think in the case of restaurant servers and retail sales people -- it's a little more nefarious than just who is the prettiest.

Ester Jean said...

WOW - I had no idea that happened! For really realz? I HAVE been assuming that my potential-employers will do a google search to see what comes up, if I know how to work the privacy settings on FB, etc. But I have never been asked for a photo (I DO live in Alaska). I happen to have a symmetrical, ok-looking face and am young and white. And my name is ESTER, which I think is decieving to some. I have wondered many times if I don't get call-backs from employers because my name sounds old or sounds Hispanic or sounds any other number of ways that aren't what an employer is looking for. I don't know. I'm glad you brought this up on the WWW though because people should be aware of it and it's bullshittiness...

Mary A. said...

I once did some recruiting for a chiropractor who took photos of everyone he interviewed. He did it so he could "remember" what they looked like. As in "oh yeah, she's the fat one. Too bad -- her resume was good."

I reported him to the EEOC because I am passive aggressive like that sometimes.

pilgrimchick said...

That is really ridiculous. There are too many ways that marketing has gone too far.

Fanantique- By Elizabeth Lamb said...

If my waiter looked like a super model, I would probably feel self conscious and just order water and a salad!
As a side note I just decided not to go to a particular beauty spa because it advertised that it had professional models working there. (like I'd really feel comfortable to get my clothes off in front of a model)

The Restaurant Manager said...

I had no idea they did that! That's crazy!

Lola said...

I am job hunting and was shocked to find a job post on craigslist for an Administrative Assistant that asked that a photo be submitted with your resume. That's just absurd! No way was I sending a photo of my dykey, nerdy self! And yeah, I can hands down do the job better than any Barbie, but there's no point wasting the effort if they ask for a photo, cuz Barbie will get the job every time, no matter what her qualifications for the job are.

Anonymous said...

Isn't the "no photo on resume" credo in the US for doctors, lawyers, administrative assistants and whatnot a fairly new (20-30 years) development? I don't know, I'm just asking.

Here in Germany it is absolutely common to submit a photo with a resume for just about any job (although there are now some people demanding to do away with that practice). Just to put some perspective to your "can you imagine xyz having to submit a photo with their application" notion. Yes, I can imagine.

And I would say that there can be much more to a photo than judging whether a person is ugly or not. It allows the person to put a face to the information presented in the resume, and it allows me as the applicant to leave a stronger impression. Vice versa, whenever I'm doing interviews, I'm not looking at the photos to judge the applicant, but, being a visual person, it makes it much easier for me to remember how that person behaved, what he/she said in the interview etc. In other words, it forges a strong bond between the written resume and the person. As humans are inherently visual animals, I don't believe in stripping that information from a resume.

Of course all of that starts being irrelevant, once people start making judgements from the pictures. Having spent time in both the US and Germany, I believe that Germany is less of a beauty-focused society than the US, but that that is changing. Interestingly, opposition to photos on resumes here coincides with the influx of beauty standards.

So I don't want to dismiss your point, but I think it might help to give some perspective on the issue. The problem isn't the photo on the application, but the interviewer who cares only about that. That some interviewer will see you in person at some point and will still dismiss the ugly but highly qualified candidate then. So it is that mindset that needs criticizing, not the matter of including photos with the applications or not.

(As this is my first comment, I greatly enjoy reading your blog almost every day. It truly is brilliant!)

Kid Rock Tickets said...

Its great to see that people are sharing quite profitable information with each other and now we can move our selves to a new era.

Anonymous said...

Maybe you should have someone paint a portrait of you. wink.

I think people discriminate when you drop resume off anyways.

*If co-workers do that in front of me. I'll jump in and be a sweetie but thats just me.

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Courtney Burgess said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

ARE YOU A HOT & FIT WAITER/SERVER LOOKING 4 BIG $$
This is an ad on craigslist in Denver I came across today as I am looking for a job! WTF is happening to our country? LOL wow thats all I can say! I have been against sending my pic to any places but today I said screw it and sent two to a couple of places! Now I feel annoyed with myself. I am going to send some funny pics to these douche bags! I like the pic of dude petting his kitty!! That had me and my BF rolling!! Good stuff!! wish me luck on job hunt! I need all the luck i can get!!