Blick in das LC Gebäude

Research Talk by Lan Luo, University of Southern California (US)

24. November 2022

As our latest guest in our Research Seminar Series, we welcomed Lan Luo from the Marshall School of Business, University of Southern California (US). She shared her recent work on the role of profile pictures in online job markets.

In online job markets employers hire freelancers based on their perceived fit for the job. In her joint work together with Isamar Trocoso from Harvard business School (US), Lan shows that this perception of job fit is influenced by the characteristics of the freelancer’s profile picture. In addition to the well-known effects of demographics and beauty, it turned out that profile pictures that look the part (i.e., have a job-suited appearance) have a significant impact on hiring outcomes. Once a candidate made it through the consideration stage to the choice stage of the decision-making process, a profile picture that looks the part can serve as a decisive factor. Even though a profile picture that looks the part does not imply higher abilities, it can outshine differences to the other considered candidates in ratings or the asking price. In a second study, Lan found that a more diagnostic reputation system and platform recommendations can help to mitigate the effects of profile pictures.

Thank you, Lan, for your visit and sharing your work with us!

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