Though LinkedIn is for professionals, it's still a social site, Adele said. And for social sites, she recommends students post wholesome profile pictures and limit their privacy settings so visitors “don't see a lot, if they're not friends.”
Meanwhile, Oklahoma consultants and recruiters confirm they frequently use LinkedIn and other sites for research.
“We help a lot of organizations hire leaders, managers, and sales professionals. Every one of them uses LinkedIn in the process,” said Mike Crandall of Sandler Training. “A picture goes a long ways to tell you how serious they are about professionalism, detail and following directions,” Crandall said. “LinkedIn strongly suggests a picture and will give you messages of an incomplete profile until you add one,” he said.
Karen Renee Elzea, an executive health care recruiter with Wolters Search Group in Tulsa, said, “Think about when MTV started playing videos to accompany songs we heard on the radio. All of a sudden these songs became multidimensional and took on new meaning. That is how I feel about pictures on LinkedIn profiles,” Elzea said. “Their picture gives the written word personality. Without one, it begs the questions, ‘What do they look like?' ‘Are they hiding something?' and ‘Why did they not take the time to complete their profile?'” she said.
Shawnee recruiter Wolf Gugler said business-appropriate pictures help job seekers make good first impressions and make them more human. “Personally though, I'd rather see no picture than one showing a guy in a bathing suit on his powerboat or a female displaying her winning smile and cleavage,” Gugler said.
That's the next phase of Salter's research at Ramapo — people's perceptions of professional profile photos versus nonprofessional ones. He's scheduled to present his research at a Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology conference in April in Houston.