Asking For A Photograph With Job Applications
I recently read a post on a facebook group that I follow called “Dive Jobs Worldwide” where the poster was complaining and calling to action other industry professionals regarding the common practice in the diving world to ask for a photo when people are applying for a job. It got me thinking whether there was any merit to the idea that looks shouldn’t have anything to do with whether you get a job or not. The more I thought about it, the more I formed an opinion that was completely contrary to this posters.
I understand the opinion he expressed and how it could be considered discriminatory but there is a whole lot wrong with the argument as far as I am concerned.
Now I think it is important to point out that there is a difference between government jobs in any country and private businesses. Governments have to live by a separate set of rules as they are elected by all people in that country and need to be accepting of a lot wider range of their people. Private businesses are owned by private people who, as far as I’m concerned, should be able to hire whoever they want. They are paying the person’s wages, why should they hire their employees based upon criteria that may not be important to them. They shouldn’t.
Working as a diving professional is no easy task. There is a lot of physical work diving all day, loading tanks and gear, etc. The applicant needs to be physically fit enough to be able to handle this type of work. This is something you can get a decent idea of in a photo.
I think another factor that weighs into this particular industry is the worldwide nature of the dive instructor and dive master trade, and chances are that the applicant is not in the same geographical location as the employer making a face to face interview less feasible. As some posters pointed out, in normal industries the discrimination based upon physical appearance generally occurs at this phase of the process and is subtly done by the employer.
When working as a diving professional you are also involved in sales, recreation and entertainment. You are providing a service or experience for the student or tourist who is looking to have a good time while learning to do something new and fun. While it is obviously important that the applicant that is hired is qualified and able to lead a dive or teach a course safely. This isn’t the end of the story though when it comes to diving. It is a long proven fact that people are much more likely to buy things from good looking people. Be honest and think about it. Are you more likely to be upsold by a young, bubbly, good looking female, or an overweight, heavily tattooed male? There is no doubt which one I would choose. So when divers are asked at the end of a day if they want to dive another day, do another specialty course, buy some merchandise or scuba gear, or whatever, doesn’t the business owner have the right to have the person who is most likely to make these sales?
Then I got to thinking about other industries. The diving industry isn’t the only one doing this. Not even close! There are some occupations such as bar staff, waitresses, and other service based jobs where the percentage of young, good looking people is far too high to be a fluke. Go even further and look at cheerleaders, dancers, movie stars, etc. Can you imagine if the directors of a movie had to hire their actors and actresses without seeing them! Different people have different things going for them. Why can’t good looking people use this to their advantage?
This may be taking the argument a little far, but give it some thought. How can we say it is wrong to judge a person based upon how good looking they are when normal job application and interview processes judge people based upon how smart they are? It seems crazy but both are somewhat out of our control. Some people can read and study as much as they want and never be as smart as someone who is born with a higher learning capacity. On the other hand a lot of people can diet, work out, eat well, etc. and get a whole lot better looking quite quickly.
And at the end of the day, there are always other things you can do to set yourself apart from the crowd even if you aren’t good looking. Have a positive attitude, work hard, don’t complain, smile, have a sense of humor, be genuine with your customers and your love for the job, be knowledgeable, be patient, be personable and you will find jobs. A whole lot of jobs are filled based on referrals from other dive shops and never require a photo to be sent. While being good looking may help you get considered for a job, it doesn’t mean you will keep it. For every Jennifer Aniston or Anglina Jolie out there this is a Melissa McCarthy or Kevin James.
Anyways, the practice of asking people for photos is nothing that is going to change any time soon. I just thought it was an interesting thread getting all kinds of attention that I had an opinion I thought I would share.
Take care all and happy diving!
Photo Credit: Photo was shared by Matthew Mcmanus on Dive Jobs Worldwide