Do You Still Have Stock Photos on Your Career Sites?

I fully realize I’m not blowing any minds here.

If you’ve read any of my posts or follow me on Twitter, you’re probably not even a little bit surprised I’m saying it. I’m all for the whole “real people” thing. Let your freak flag fly. Be who you are. When I brought this up in a tweet last week, people were responding, “Seriously? How do people not know that?”

Dude, I know. But people are not listening.

That’s not just a hypothesis. We tested our theory. A little data never hurts, right?

My team (just the ones with thumbs) went hunting for bad stock photos on careers sites. And instead of a random mish-mash of careers sites, we started at the “best in class.” The brands everyone idolizes: the Fortune 50. They’re supposed to be the “best in class” and all that, right?

Of the Fortune 50, less than half had photos that were obviously not stock or actors.

I don’t want to name names, but let’s say this: if the most successful companies in America right now (by Fortune’s standards) don’t have employee photos, it’s safe to assume most companies aren’t doing a great job with this seemingly simple opportunity.

But why do real employee photos even matter?

If they can get away with it, what’s the big deal right? Clearly it’s not hurting their brand. It’s not hurting us.

Wrong. You’re not Fortune’s top.

Most likely, you’re existing somewhere between a Mom and Pop shop and 10,000 employees, and you don’t have the luxury of skipping the details. The details are all you’ve got in the “your company vs. everyone else” hiring war going on right now.

Bonus for you? Quick win. This is a really easy detail to take care of in the big scheme of things.

Now, I’m not an expert in photography, but I do know a thing or two about recruitment marketing. Bottom line, that’s where these photos will make the biggest impact.

Putting your people on your website and job collateral is about building a relationship and showing people who work for you (and the ones who wish they did) that you care in a way that’s simple and tangible.

And do not even start with the whole “but what if they leave?” thing. So what? An ex-employee is still better than Stock Susan or Buy Now Bill. Besides, candidates have no idea who still works there when they’re looking at your careers site. I mean, when was the last time a candidate walked in and said, “I’d really like to meet the girl on the marketing page. Can you introduce me?”

So, get permission from employees, plan out your visual story, and work with your team to take photos of employees doing interesting things. Or hell, take some pictures with the nice camera. Just make sure the content on your site isn’t generic. Candidates can tell, and right now, no one can afford to lose an apply because of those cheesy stock photos.

Candidate Generation and Nurturing recruiting Recruitment Marketing Advice

Kat Kibben View All →

Kat Kibben [they/them] is a keynote speaker, writing expert, and LGBTQIA+ advocate who teaches hiring teams how to write inclusive job postings that will get the right person to apply faster.

Before founding Three Ears Media, Katrina was a CMO, Technical Copywriter, and Managing Editor for leading companies like Monster,, and Randstad Worldwide. With 15+ years of recruitment marketing and training experience, Katrina knows how to turn talented recruiting teams into talented writers who write for people, not about work.

Today, Katrina is frequently featured as an HR and recruiting expert in publications like The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, and Forbes. They’ve been named to numerous lists, including LinkedIn’s Top Voices in Job Search & Careers. When not speaking, writing, or training, you’ll find Katrina traveling the country in their van or spending some much needed downtime with the dogs that inspired the name Three Ears Media.

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