A Tale of Two Pictures

One of my longtime passions has been visual interpretation (I did my undergrad thesis on it). I have advised many people that you can’t escape from how you look. So, when I discovered PhotoFeeler I immediately uploaded two pictures from my LinkedIn profile to see how their system works, and how cruel the notes would be.

Both pictures are taken by professional photographers using the same standards for portraiture: 3/4 stance, shoulders to camera, and clothes that I feel comfortable in. The results were very different from each other, and, frankly surprising. Each photo was rated by 20-people; the scores reflect my percentile rank compared to other images rated by the same number of people.

Image Score
What I lack in competence I make up for in likability. Yikes!


What a competent near sighted fellow.
What a competent near-sighted fellow.

I was surprised by the huge difference in Competent and Likable between the two pictures. I was not surprised by the user comments that I am dressed too casual. Out of 6 user comments 3 were removed by the site moderators. Seriously, 50% of the people that took the time to add a note said something so offensive that the website removed their comment. Why do you think that is? 

I suggest you tryout PhotoFeeler. To use it for free you have to score other people’s pictures, and I think that is where the value is. After scoring 10 pictures I started feeling a bit uncomfortable about my answers. I was rating people with the same clothes, background, and framing differently. Why would I do that? What I was going through was like a test, specifically an Implicit Association Test (IAT). It was putting me up against my biases.

In the end I scored 80 people so I could test my current LinkedIn profile picture in two categories, my old picture once, and my long time Facebook profile picture. The end result is that I am happy I am self-employed and already married.

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