Winz have admitted to bungling a job advertisement by asking
applicants to submit a photograph of themselves along with
The online ad for a customer service representative in
Henderson sparked criticism from the public, some suggesting
it was discrimination and against the Human Rights Act.
Winz has now confirmed the request for a "recent photo
included in your CV'' was a mistake.
But it couldn't explain how the request had made it into the
final version of the job advert.
"This advertisement should not have included a reference to
photographs - it's not Ministry policy to request one,'' a
spokesman said. "The reference has since been removed.''
H2R Consulting recruitment manager Campbell Hepburn said it
wasn't standard practice to ask candidates for a photograph.
"It's certainly not something that you're required to do. It
tends to be, from an international perspective, more
prevalent in the northern hemisphere,'' he said.
"It was a trend that evolved probably about six or eight
years ago. It's not prevalent at all in the New Zealand
It could be seen as discriminatory if the job didn't require
employees to appear a certain way, Mr Hepburn said.
"Your qualifications, skills and experience are what is
relevant as opposed to what you look like.''
Darren A'Court, recruitment consultant with Hays Specialist
Recruitment, said only about 5 per cent of New Zealand job
applicants included photographs, and the company removed them
before sending CVs to clients.
"It's standard practice to take them off because it's not
going to add anything to you professionally, it's all about
what you've done rather than what you look like,'' he said.
Sindy Ward, a senior recruitment consultant with Robert
Walters Recruitment, agreed, saying they never send candidate
photos to clients.
"We've got to keep things neutral, so nobody gets favoured or
biased at all.''
She said most photos came from overseas applicants: "It's
definitely not a trend [in NZ] at all.''
Employers and Manufacturers Association employment services
manager David Lowe said asking for a photo could be a way of
screening for a professional presentation, instead of
screening at the interview stage.
"Asking for a photo to be submitted with a CV could be to
screen for that earlier,'' Mr Lowe said.
Human Rights lawyer Carole Curtis said the Winz photo request
Ms Curtis said asking for a photo with a job application was
not unlawful under the Human Rights Act 1993, but could be
seen as grounds for discrimination if the photo was used to
determine who got the job.
The request was removed from the online ad yesterday, but had
earlier prompted a strong reaction on social media.
"I would have thought Winz should be the last place to judge
people by appearance,'' Morgan Clare tweeted.
Jo Hubris tweeted: '' I'd say asking for a photo could be
seen as discrimination and against Human Rights Act 1993.''
- By Brendan Manning and Patrice Dougan of APNZ