First It's Writing, Now Faces: Enough Is Enough!

I am going to take a short break form my series on lesser known sites to source from, to address …well something that is pretty silly. 

So first we have a company who is telling us they can tell if someone fits our core values by the way they write their, resumes, blogs, and linkedin profiles. Now there is a company saying they can tell what a persons traits are by their face.

In other words your face will be able to tell if your honest, passionate, trustworthy, hard working, loyal,  etc. Now I am not naming any names, but these companies are way off base.  

First off lets take the writing one. A few things that make this unlikely is they are making several assumptions. First they assume you wrote your own resume, which is not always the case. In fact you cannot even guarantee that a person put together their own LinkedIn profile anymore. Second they are not taking into account that a person’s mood will impact the way the write. I actually had them do an analysis of my resume, my Linkedin Profile and my blog posts. I was amazed at the difference, and I write all my own stuff. On a scale of 1-10 with 10 meaning they are a perfect fit for a companies core values, and comparing my writing to my companies core values I was a 9 based on my Resume a 7 based on linkedin, and a 5 based on my blogs. Now keep in mind this is a simplistic version of what happens, they actually rate you on each value and then over all. However despite that, how in the heck can you take something seriously when the differences are that big, despite all the writings they analyzed were written by me. Answers simple you cannot, and you should not. 

Now this new thing, facial patterns to determine core values. Lets get real there is no way you can tell if someone in honest, hard working, determined or just about any core value or trait form their face, at least not with any real accuracy.  A study done by and published in 2008 in the Oxford Journals by several experts specifically states that “the relatively poor discrimination between trustworthy- and untrustworthy-looking faces”, this means it is really hard to tell the difference between a trustworthy face and an untrustworthy face. Yet there is a company, again no names, that is saying they can. 

In my opinion these two supposed tools, have major flaws and you would have a better chance of using a crystal ball to get these answers than relying on either facial patterns or writing styles to determine the core values or fit of a candidate.

Views: 677

Comment by Dean Da Costa on April 2, 2014 at 6:35pm

Hey Keith thanks for the post, what you just posted is related to a tell. Which means some event happened that resulted in a change in facial expression, which allows an observant person to deduce information. This is something most of us staffing professionals are very aware of. The issue here is can you tell if someone meets the core values of a company from a picture, with no other info? The answer is NO.

Comment by Linda Ferrante on April 3, 2014 at 1:31pm

....and then it's printed in some news article somewhere that someone says, 'Well, he didn't look like a pedophile'.....REALLY?!

Comment by Keith Halperin on April 3, 2014 at 4:16pm

Thanks, Dean. Here's a study which says ordinary untrained people are lousy (53% right) at guessing if somebody's telling the truth from looking at them (


Comment by Dean Da Costa on April 3, 2014 at 4:32pm

Thanks Keith, while not the same it does prove a point, if even with tells, as the study outlines people are only 53% correct, which is as they said like flipping a coin, how can doing it just off a picture with no tells or outside stimulus be as good. However given it is 50/50 to guess, you can get lucky, but that is all it would be luck, like flipping a coin, and as such the answer still is NO.

Comment by Keith Halperin on April 3, 2014 at 7:56pm

You're welcome, Dean. Talked w., a hiring manage\er while back about when to/not to use video and why:  He felt video cuts down on some of the cues (tells?) people get F2F. It's for such reasons I prefer the more indirect forms of communication to get basic info- phone to F2F- text/email to phone. (As the saying goes: "on the internet, nobody can tell you're a recruiter".) The F2F is the place for "getting" somebody.

Comment by Dean Da Costa on April 3, 2014 at 9:04pm

Hey Keith, I can understand, video interviewing does make it harder to get tells, not impossible but harder. The thing to remember is to be careful not going into an video interview or F2F meeting looking for something. There is an old saying if you look hard enough you will always find something, but if you have to look that hard it is probably not a biggie anyway. Just go in and be aware, and double check the tells you see, to ensure you are reading them right.

Comment by PAUL FOREL on April 5, 2014 at 2:42am


Thanks for adding this.

What is surprising to me is that no one has stepped forward asking how to learn any of this 'stuff' but those who did participate were only interested in throwing rocks at the conversation.

And this is a forum for HR professionals.

Very Funny!

Comment by Dean Da Costa on April 5, 2014 at 4:04am

Paul what Keith brought to the table is much different then your claim or what was discussed in the blog. Your claim of being able to tell just from a picture someone's core values, is ridiculous. What Keith is talking about is non verbal communication and tells from that communication, which as I told you I have written about many times, and in fact with in the comments here I even mention Joe Navarro and his book "What Every Body is Saying" which is all about tells and non verbal communication. However that, like what Keith brought to the table is far different then you claim. So lets not try to confuse anyone into thinking they are the same, they are not. Non verbal tells are legitimate and useful. Trying to tell some ones core values from a picture is fantasy land.

Comment by Keith D. Halperin on April 6, 2014 at 12:25pm

Thanks again, Gents. On reflection- I'm thinking that drilling down to thisdegree amy be unnecessary in most (interview) cases. I tell interviewers they need to answer just two questions for themselves:

1) Is the person competent (to do what we need them to do)?

2) Do you like them? (*Would you be comfortable being around them 40hr/week?)

*The more remote work they can do, the less important this is...

Comment by Dean Da Costa on April 6, 2014 at 3:42pm

Keith those are 2 good questions to ask.


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