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Would this put you off applying?

Discussion in 'Career clinic' started by caterpillartobutterfly, Feb 19, 2020.

  1. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    After asking for a handwritten letter of application, of no more than two sides, the next point is:

    Applications will only be accepted from candidates completing the enclosed Application Form in full with an accompanying photograph.

    Why on earth would a school want a photograph before deciding whether to interview?
    I feel so utterly appalled by the request, it has put me off applying. Will I get a curt email later saying something like 'Sorry your application wasn't successful this time, but you were just too ugly.'?
    Is it just me?
  2. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    "handwritten' makes me think some HR person believes in graphology. Cranky but not illegal.

    But the photo request is something else. It could expose the school to a claim for discrimination unless it could show a non-discriminatory reason for asking for one.
  3. sbkrobson

    sbkrobson Star commenter

    Having worked overseas in various locations, I found asking for a photo on application was pretty standard practice in many many places, and I initially found it objectionable to have to do so. In the end though, I found my objections limiting to my job searches,and also unanimously overridden by locals who felt quite strongly that a photo was an essential step in the identification process. You'd apply for a job and then when you turned up, they could be pretty sure that you were the person who submitted the application. I did wonder what sort of scam was possibly conceivable by omitting a photo, but hey, i went along with it.
    Latterly in the UK I have been asked by more than one job agency to supply a photo with them, the scenario being that they send the photo of myself to the school before I turn up, thereby adding an extra layer of security into the process, so I suppose this could be argued in OPs case, that the photo would serve to verify candidates on arrival for interview.
    Makes sense. Watch out though, it is Maverick sense in a way, Says something about the school.
    Yes it is unlawful to use photographs at application stage to assist in selection, but clearly it can be legitimately argued they serve a greater purpose. If it came to challenging the concept, I suppose by them adding "Safeguarding" to the sentence, it automatically trumps the word "Discrimination".

    Fact is, you can never know or control how discriminatory a pre selection panel will operate-ditching those from scum postcodes, filtering the munters, binning every Abdul, jettisoning the oldies. It happens. They just don't need to tell anyone.
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2020
    alex_teccy and agathamorse like this.
  4. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    I can understand it for overseas (sort of) and certainly for agencies.
    But this is a slightly posh prep school in the home counties!

    The have photos on the website of the SLT and Headmaster and his wife. All are white and very middle class. Maybe the general teaching staff are allowed not to have flicky hair, full make-up and scarves?

    But it'll be such a faff to get a fancy photo and buy a decent pen to write the letter, that it puts me off.
    Just wondered if it was just me.
    new career and agathamorse like this.
  5. sbkrobson

    sbkrobson Star commenter

    I didn't mean applying to work overseas in a relative sense from the UK, I meant actually living overseas and applying in situ. Meaning it is simply the norm to require a photo at application stage in many countries. Regardless of which work sector in fact. I guess there's a value of a photo which we don't have in the UK which is mirrored in the fact of having to carry a photo ID card around with you, again, a legal requirement in many many places.

    If I had seen the job ad you describe I'd be sorely tempted to apply and attach a...misleading....photo of myself.
  6. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    Ahhh I see. Yes, that makes more sense now.
    If it wasn't for the handwriting of a two page letter I might have been tempted as well!
    sbkrobson likes this.
  7. sbkrobson

    sbkrobson Star commenter

    Ay, judgemental palaverists.
    I'm sure I saw another thread once not too long ago about requiring applications to be handwritten...?
    Perhaps somebody familiar with the fact of applying for work will add to this thread, who knows, perhaps refer us to a third source of advice about how best to apply in general terms,but without actually naming that source. Who knows.
    agathamorse likes this.
  8. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter


    Some overseas schools, in M.E. specially, ask for a photo to check that you are not of African descent . . . Sad to say so.

    In U.K. it could be very dicey, as Rott Weiler says

    The handwritten letter thing . . . I once asked a Head why they asked for it. "To see if people can follow instructions" was the reply!

    I am sure that by now @caterpillartobutterfly can find all the support they need!

    Best wishes

  9. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    Hmmm think my reference might point out that although I'm very good at following instructions, as long as I get to argue about them first!
    Yeps, it's just finding a job advertised in a sensible location and in a sensible school that's tricky!
    TheoGriff and Piranha like this.
  10. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    Just saying 'it's for safeguarding' wouldn't trump discrimination law automatically. School would have to show, among other things, that it actually was necessary for safeguarding children. I think a school would struggle to show that asking for a photo before shortlisting for interview contributed anything to safeguarding. The photo tells the school nothing (except of course their race....). They've never met the candidate and have no reference photo to compare it against. And as they only ask for a photo, not photo ID, it doesn't confirm their identity either.

    More commonly candidates invited for interview are asked to bring photo id with them on the day. That's not discriminatory and is anyway justifiable on safeguarding grounds.
  11. stanley4shoes

    stanley4shoes Occasional commenter

    Hand written?! That'd stop me, let alone the photo. I think the last handwritten application I completed was my UCAS form in 1993. Having painstakingly written it legibly, no mean feat, a rather embarrassed head of sixth had to ask me to redo it after he'd made a mistake on the reference!
  12. Piranha

    Piranha Star commenter

    I am not at all convinced about the safeguarding side of things. When I applied to work at a rather posh private school, I was asked to bring photo ID, along with qualification proof, but this was after the shortlisting had been done. By the way, they wanted a hand-written letter. Given how bad my writing is, I was surprised to get an interview.

    I do some voluntary work helping long term unemployed people find work. One issue they have is that many online applications demand either a photo driving licence or a passport, which many of them don't have. Assuming this is legal (it is supposed to be part of a check that they are allowed to work in this country) then employers could do this to check what the applicant looks like.
    TheoGriff and agathamorse like this.
  13. lilachardy

    lilachardy Star commenter

    Does it specify a recent photo?
  14. TeacherMan19

    TeacherMan19 Occasional commenter

    It might be for later when they're discussing candidates just to try and identify you after an interview. It happens with auditions too so a director can remember who was who.
  15. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    You gave me all kinds of ideas, so I have just gone back to look again, it doesn't actually specify a photo of the applicant.

    Applications will only be accepted from candidates completing the enclosed Application Form in full with an accompanying photograph.

    The possibilities are endless...;)
  16. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    That's fair if they ask for photo to be brought to the interview by shortlisted candidates but it couldn't justify asking for photos with initial application form
  17. sbkrobson

    sbkrobson Star commenter

    Well, I've been thinking about this.
    I have absolutely no problem with the photo thing.
    Formal reasons aside, it does not make any difference to the outcome, because if they are going to be Judgy McJudgefaces about how somebody looks and whether they profile correctly in terms of age/ethnicity/gender whatever else you get from a face, then they will pass that judgement during interview when they do get to see your face.
    So filtering in advance with a photo is a de facto time saver for everyone.
    In this way, it is actually churlish to refuse-
    "Please send a photo with your application"
    "No way! I don't want you to see my face. I want to pretend I don't have a face, so that you can read about me and then invite me in. Allow me first to take a day off work, have all my classes covered ,pester referees for their time, make an effort with a lucky suit, stress about finding the place on time in the rush hour. Let me do all those things first and then tell me I'm too hideous when you meet me!"
    To put the same notion another way-
    If you object to sending a photo because of the risk of discrimination, then logically you ought to then attend all interviews, inlcuding meeting the panel, teaching a lesson, lunching with the department, guided tour with two Year8s, all of this with a sack over your head, Only on receipt of the job offer should you then take off the sack

    In short, you either have a face or you don't. And they either like it or they don't.
    Not submitting a photo with an application makes not a jot of difference.
    cheesypop and TeacherMan19 like this.
  18. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    I disagree.
    Some people are extremely photogenic and look far better in photos than real life. Submitting a photo at the application stage could give them an advantage in the pile of applicants being considered for interview.
    Someone people are the exact opposite of photogenic and look far worse in photos than real life. Submitting a photo at the application stage could give them a disadvantage in the pile of applicants being considered for interview.

    Add in, asking for a photo weeds out those who don't have one to hand and need to go to the trouble and expense of getting a decent one sorted. Just like you wouldn't handwrite your application letter on economy paper with a cheap bic biro, you'd not send a selfie printed on cheap paper for an application.

    All it does it weed out those who are not photogenic and those who can't afford the expense of sorting fancy extras.
    agathamorse likes this.
  19. TeacherMan19

    TeacherMan19 Occasional commenter

    I just have it attached to the top of my CV, digitally.
  20. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    Which works if the school accepts CVs.
    This particular one wants a handwritten letter, accompanied by a photograph and then their own application form. A further clause says 'CVs will not be accepted'.
    agathamorse likes this.

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