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I changed my LinkedIn avatar to include my toddler (twitter.com/yipe)
76 points by luu 3 months ago | hide | past | favorite | 73 comments

A somewhat related story of someone who changed their CV from “Kim <lastname>” (also noting that they were married with children to imply stability) to “Mr Kim <lastname>”: https://whatwouldkingleonidasdo.tumblr.com/post/54989171152/...

Interesting. I’ve experienced similar despite being a black man. My name is pretty similar to a woman’s name. Recruiters are probably surprised to get a deep voice on the phone when they reach out to me. I’ve also been referred to as ‘miss’ or ‘she/her’ on emails several times until I clarify I’m a man :P

I deleted my Linkedin about a month ago and have also seen a sharp decline in recruiter interest.

2 months ago was April/May. The stock market was crashing, layoffs were surging, and hiring freezes were everywhere. Absurd time to test this and declare the reason.

The market crash happened in mid March, and immediately started to recover. I don't think that had anything to do with it.

I haven't been looking but I am not under the impression that hiring has bounced back. Didn't I see articles saying some big cos had a hiring freeze for at least the rest of the year?

And with the market flooded with big layoffs from businesses hit hard by lockdowns (Uber, Airbnb, probably others), whatever jobs are available probably have more competition than usual. Although perhaps enough time has passed so that the dust has settled for people affected.

I don't really have a good sense of whether hiring has "bounced back" except based on the volume of LinkedIn messages I get, which seems to have remained about the same (I haven't actually gone and checked). But, it's not clear to me that, within the tech industry, enough people got laid off that it would have made hiring measurably more competitive.

New unemployment claims are consistently dropping. The labor market isn’t as good as it was February, but it’s much better than it was in April.

I think a lot of companies have really cut back on hiring, even if the market bounced back.

Anecdotally, I got hit up on LinkedIn as much as ever by recruiters during this time.

Probably because recruiters work on commissions and they had to work extra hard to get the whatever openings were left filled ASAP to get paid.

Would you bring your kid to the job interview? Being able to separate your work and family life is important to productivity.

It's not discrimination, it's that the author lacks professional boundaries.

Why is showing your child a professional boundary? Different phases of life necessitate different accomodations.

This person is advertising their priorities upfront. Startups might see it as a weakness. Established companies might see it as a sign of stability.

LinkedIn is a historical anomaly anyways. It's generally considered bad form to include any photo on a technical resume.

> It's generally considered bad form to include any photo on a technical resume.

This varies culture by culture, in much of Asia it's standard to include a head/shoulders shot photo with a CV.

Same goes for Germany. Companies may not ask for one by law, but its considered good form by most (through some progressive companies are starting to ask you not to send one).

What could the possible justification be to prefer a photo be included, besides discrimination?

For one it's a bit of a cultural standard - like appearing in a suit for the interview; it doesn't show your qualification, but it shows basic etiquette (it's no longer as usual as it used to be and not the best example, but I think it gets the point across). Also, an image helps you form a more personal connection to a person.

But I'm not a recruiter myself, so take that with a grain of salt.

I think that ‘personal connection’ is a easy way towards discrimination, just like ‘cultural fit’.

Humans are naturally more inclined to feel a connection to people who are in their same group.

Some societies believe it is acceptable to judge people based on their appearance. Arguably, most people do it instinctively. It is just that in America it was deemed illegal. I know there's an epidemic of plastic surgery taking place in some Asian cultures - people getting cosmetic surgery so that they can be employable.

Right or wrong, that is how some societies are functioning.

Sure, it is, and that's why you may not require one. But I can see why people would want that, even with no malicious intention, which was your question :)

Yeah, ditto for Estonia - when I was screening resumes I was shocked to see that everyone was including an (unsolicited) headshot... also many people would write their age too and even sometime their marital status.

Honestly I wish I could bring a kid to work on a regular basis. Before Covid I brought my dog to work every day. Provided the kid is well behaved, why can’t I bring a kid everyday?

Wait a minute how is this even a question? I have interviewed (and taken interviews) during the covid and had kids walk in (both sides). Not only was this totally ok, I actually had the candidates take time off during the interview to take care of their kid and given extra time at the end or even helped with rescheduling or given them the benefit of the doubts.

Yes typically you wouldnt bring your child to your "real-world" interview but if I had parent struggling to find day care during interviews I'd be more than happy to accommodate (as long as it was legally ok etc). We are living in crazy times and to project the illusion that professionally everything is ok is disingenuous and highly unhealthy.

That's a pretty big inferential leap to make from a single picture. I wonder what you would make of my refusal to post pictures anywhere. "Candidate is hiding something," perhaps?

Anything to shrink the resume pile.

I don’t think it means he’s going to bring his kid into work.

An avatar photo on the world's shittiest Facebook clone is not "a lack of professional boundaries". Or do you scoff at coworkers who put up photos of their kids at their desk, too?

I think your username is going to be more of a challenge than the photo of your kid.


LinkedIn is clearly aimed at the professional world and recruiters are arguably using it as a professional tool.

Putting you child into your profile picture is more akin to bringing it to the interview.

This implies that recruiters set the order and people using a tool should oblige the recruiters.

There are LinkedIn users who use it to just keep in contact with people they have worked with, don't accept recruiter contact requests and so forth (I am not one of those people, but I have seen their periodic articles on how they use LinkedIn, and also I know one guy who is basically like that - he has some recruiters but only the ones he actually worked with)

At any rate dependent on your job putting your child into your profile picture might not be a problem for the normally understood parameters of that job, as for me it wouldn't affect my view of the person's suitability for any position I can think of but then I tend to be more on the lax spectrum of social requirements and etiquette.

It really is insane to do this during COVID-19 where companies know that the US is on track for a second lockdown and thus slowing hiring. And doubly so around July which is EOFY and where hiring is massively impacted either side of this date.

Also I am probably unique but I prefer keeping my work and home lives very seperate and wouldn't be that keen to work with someone who was so publicly looking to blur that boundary.

> Also I am probably unique but I prefer keeping my work and home lives very seperate and wouldn't be that keen to work with someone who was so publicly looking to blur that boundary.

I don't understand what you mean here? You wouldn't want to work with someone who posts pictures of their children online?

This seems crazy to me.

I would just be wary of someone who was using Linkedin, which is a professional social network, for posting photos of their children.

When you're hiring someone all of the little details are amplified and things like this give you a window into their judgement.

>second lockdown

I don’t remember the first lockdown subsiding in any meaningful way. Outdoor dining with household members, maybe? Seems like a marginal economic impact.

Jesus Christ, it's an avatar photo, not a public declaration you're going to be bringing the kids to the office every day.

Sure, but it does suggest the person may have difficulty separating their personal and professional lives. Its not a strong indicator and it doesn’t mean they would be a bad hire at all, but I can see why it may be seen as a flag by some, rightly or wrongly.

I have a cartoon penguin as my LinkedIn profile picture. I’ve considered changing it to an actual photo of me to appear less “unprofessional”. But, I never have and honestly I don’t think I ever will. Why do people need to see what I look like to consider giving me a job?

I agree. My profile picture is not of me, either, but one of those generic "web avatar" thingies that kinda vaguely looks like me.

At least change it to a real penguin photo. It's the least you could do. With a cartoon, recruiters will know it's fake, but with a photo, there's a chance that an actual penguin will answer the phone.

because people are shallow,

a really intelligent platform would include more important data, like smell

you can't tell how bad someone smells until they come in for the interview, that's where zoom is lacking

This is a lacking feature. To much higher degree than appearance strong smell can inhibit other people’s work who are in close proximity at the office.

I used to work with someone who had such terrible breath that I would go out of my way to avoid communicating with them in person.

Change my view: it's unprofessional to have a group photo (2 or more people) as your LinkedIn avatar. Doesn't matter if the other person is your kid, SO, friend, or coworker. There's exceptions if you're the focus of the photo and other people are in the background, especially in a professional setting or if the photo represents a professional accomplishment.

If my LinkedIn avatar is me and my friends hanging out, it doesn't communicate that I value work-life balance, it means I don't pick up on social norms.

That’s certainly a valid interpretation, but it’s not everyone’s interpretation. Someone could post that picture with different intentions and be a potentially stellar coworker. So you’re welcome to your worldview of course, I‘d just suggest being careful about judging everyone according to it — otherwise you’re guaranteed to make miscalculations.

You could make the argument that it is marketing.

I suspect it might filter out specific job offers - it would be interesting to know the offers that are left.

Using a kid as a prop to get jobs resulted in less job offers, suprise!

And please stop publicly posting other people online. You don't have that moral right.

So kids are supposed to hamper productivity?

Twitter and LinkedIn are productivity killers, both at home AND at the office contrary to kids. Plus well behaved kids can typically leave you alone for a 1-3 hours. People active on Twitter, LinkedIn, etc can barely have 5 minutes of sustained focus.

Startups should actively hire people with kids, because it's way too hard for them to leave the job when the startup invariably ends up treating them like shit.

Why would it be harder? Software engineers generally have enough opportunities to leave with another offer in hand.

Depending in where you are located, and how much time your kids take away from networking, that may not be the case.

On the other hand, people with kids don’t have the time to work 120 hour weeks, sleep at the office and other BS like that.

So basically he is just showing he has zero interest in privacy, if he doesn't care about privacy of his own children.

Seeing a lot of, "if my employer wanted me to have a kid, they would have included it in my yearly bonus" going on in this thread.

causation is not correlation, something like that.

Seems a little presumptuous to assume that the decline in outreach was personal and not associated with the heavy decline in companies hiring during uncertain times.

> I was still getting tons of messages after covid and shelter in place started. My snapshot is from 2 months ago, not 4 months ago. Covid definitely caused some drop-off but not much tbh, I still got a ton of recruiters who are playing the long game.


Covid lockdowns started 4 months ago. Companies took longer to react. Google only rescinded contractor offers end of May. My organization was hiring right through April. Things take time to propagate.

I'm not sure whether I agree or disagree. I was just providing extra context from the Twitter poster, because Twitter is not good for context.


Yeah, my linkedin recruiter messages dropped significantly especially for management roles and I changed nothing. I'd say the drop began 1-2 months after covid started and only began recovering now. Seems to lineup with when he did his test.

I'm honestly suspicious of anyone that posts photos of their young children on public social media. It shows poor judgment and security/privacy precautions.

I think the point of this post was that they're trying to show that somebody who publicly demonstrates a commitment to their family, vs full time dedication to career, will be offered fewer senior roles.

But I see it from a different perspective. How would you feel as a 14 or 16 year old teenager someday in the future knowing that your parents had posted hundreds, or possibly thousands of photos of you from birth up to early teenage years all over the internet with no privacy precautions whatsoever?

I think at least some of us are fortunate enough to have grown up in the time period before widespread full-saturation use of camera phones, and parents who take pictures of literally everything and share it publicly as widely as possible.

Almost every parent and grandparent I know - even those who work in tech - post pictures of their (grand)kids to social media.

That doesn't make it a good thing.

It does mean that discriminating based on this would lower your candidate pool significantly, to the point where it's likely you will miss out on otherwise good candidates.

Disagree, respectfully. As long as you are declaring information about yourself that is true (via photo, summary, links to social media, blogs, etc), then you are talking about yourself as a 'culture', the way companies talk about their 'culture'.

If a company likes (or doesn't care) that you have a child in your photo (as in this instance), that is one step closer to a culture match. If they dislike it (legally or not), why even bother interviewing? Lots of companies out there -- and from there perspective, lots of employees.

In other words, assuming that what you share is important to you (your children, family status, opinions, blue hair color), and they like or see no conflict with it, steps are being made to form a long-lasting mutually-beneficial relationship.

Why go through the stress of pretending you're some clone of the way 'professional' imagery was touted in the 1950s-1980s (suit, shaved face, short hair, child-less, family-less, career accomplishments only) when you are clearly going to have to get to know your colleagues, spend 40+ hours a week with them (or on Zoom, sigh...), only to discover later that you are really the odd one out.

If we want to give lip service to 'diversity', it will only get us so far. Granted, every company is different, and every person is different. Putting a pic of one's children on LinkedIn may not be for everyone, but it's a solid move in my opinion.

In many of my workplaces, I've had to deal with dogs, hear about endless dog stories, see pictures of dogs on desks, and be 'forced' to pretend that dog memes are 'so cute' on Slack. Overtime, I've learned to just accept it. At first, it seemed weird and out of place at work (to me), but after ten years of it, I've become more tolerant about it. To dog people (you know who you are), their dogs are incredibly important to them. I may not ever want to own a small yapping dog, but I can appreciate more now that to those that do, it's a big part of their life. Near as I can tell, it enhances their life and doesn't detract from the quality and commitment of their work anymore than children do for dads and moms, or ultimate frisbee does for college students.

Let it go.

He didn't put a picture of himself wearing a Star Wars Resistance Pilot helmet on his head. Let's keep it in perspective. (Although if he had, I'd hire him on the spot).

Probably won't be bothered at all. Your face is publicly available information

Photos of yourself at a younger age and in comical ("cute") situations may be quite embarrassing for your more grown-up self. Especially if people who know you but are not your friends would discover them and use them to publicly make fun of you.

Such photos are not public by default, and should stay private to you and the circle of your friends and relatives.

You sound like a teenager. Adults aren't embarrassed by their family.

But your kids are teenagers at some point, that's exactly what he was getting at.

Being a teenager is very, very temporary.

Well, it's middle school + high school + likely the freshman year in a college. The time to make some key decisions, socialization choices, etc. Being severely embarassed in the process could reflect pretty badly on that.

Being bullied as a teenager can have long term detrimental effects.

but the scars formed are forever

Whatever works, works. I stopped caring about LinkedIn a while ago, so I just switched my profile pic to a pic of me shooting a flamethrower with a hawaiian shirt on about a year ago.

Results: interest from recruiters didn't drop at all, in fact, it increased (though I do not attribute it to the pic). However, a few recruiters specifically mentioned that they thought the pic was cool, and that alone was worth it.

Also, it isn't just recruiters from "hip tech startups" responding positively to it. I got hit up since then by a bunch of different places, including the usual FAANG, finance companies (Citadel/Two Sigma/etc.), tech startups, etc.

No one seems to have an issue with the profile pic, and I like it, so why not. And no, it wasn't intended as a humblebrag, a lot of people I know get hit up by recruiters in the same way, despite them having pretty standard pictures and not being some coding superstars. And I am not one either.

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