Recruiters encountering photographic faux pas: jobseeker’s ‘naked selfie’ dashes hopes of employment

In quite possibly the biggest text message blunder a jobseeker could ever make, an American man has dashed his hopes of employment after accidentally sending naked photos to his would-be new employer.


The 23-year-old man had been through an interview process with a company in Chicago, after which he was advised that he had been successful in obtaining a new job. He received a conditional offer of employment and was due to begin working with the company in September. However, the offer was quickly rescinded when the man mistakenly sent his new human resources manager two nude photographs of himself on August 11 and August 13.

The HR manager on the receiving end of the text messages informed her local law enforcement, Elmhurst Police, of the incident on August 14, and when questioned the man told the police it was all a big mistake.

“(Police) contacted the offender, who admitted to sending the photographs, explaining they were actually meant for another individual and were sent to the victim in error,” the police report states. “(Police) advised the offender to cease any contact with the victim.”


The HR manager involved followed appropriate procedures when faced with such an awkward and unprofessional situation. Inexperienced recruiters, on the other hand, may not know how to effectively respond to what is becoming an increasingly common problem, according to Elmhurst Police Chief Michael Ruth.

“We’re seeing it much more often now with our young people sending inappropriate photos of themselves,” he said. “They’re sharing it with someone else and the next thing you know it takes on a life of its own.”

While this particular incident took place overseas, jobseekers in Australia are just as likely to make a photographic misstep during the recruitment process, according to Andrew Sullivan from Hender Consulting. “Recruiting an executive role a few years ago, I received an application from a chap who decided that an A4 photo of him in his green Speedos was appropriate to include with his resume,” he explained to “I’ve seen resumes where candidates have included their Facebook profile picture, generally with a glass of champagne in their hand.”


Unprofessional images can prompt a recruiter to form an immediate, negative impression of a job candidate, which is why Sullivan suggests jobseekers avoid including a photo with their resume or letter of application, to discourage “employers [from] discriminating against you”.

This raises a valid point: that inexperienced recruiters may be more inclined to make snap judgements, based on information supplied by a job candidate. It’s important for those in a position responsible for recruiting new staff to be trained in the art of evaluating potential candidates, by developing their interviewing strategies and becoming equipped with the knowledge and skills required to prepare for interviews, determine the right questions to ask and effectively analyse a candidate’s answers.

This is particularly important for those who have yet to build their experience in employee recruitment and retention. To assist those who have identified a skills gap in this area, iHR Australia offers a program, Recruitment for Non-HR Managers, which is ideal for those new to a recruitment role and line managers.

During the full-day course, participants work through real-life scenarios with professional actors and an expert facilitator, using iHR’s unique Workplace Reality Theatre. Participants are also given the opportunity to practise newly acquired skills through interaction with the actors, building confidence and embedding learning.