Adams asks for photos of city job applicants in effort to increase diversity: report

Adams asks for photos of city job applicants in effort to increase diversity: report

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Mayor Eric Adams is collecting headshots of potential city workers in a thinly-veiled effort to increase diversity, according to a new report.

Adams has requested city agencies to provide photographs of potential hires to City Hall as candidates go through the interview process for city jobs ranging from assistant commissioner to departmental press secretary, Politico reported Thursday.

Several unnamed city officials told the outlet that the request is clearly an effort to hire more diverse staffers. However, Adams maintains that it will merely help him recognize his employees in the sprawling city workforce.

“Everyone knew what it was. There was no question. It was the first thing everybody said: ‘We’re going to start counting complexions now,’” one recently-departed City Hall employee told Politico.

The majority of the officials interviewed by the outlet — who requested anonymity to speak freely about the internal measure — said they supported a more diverse workforce but worried the practice is already causing the Adams administration to make hiring decisions with a greater emphasis on race and ethnicity. than merit.

Mayor Eric Adams believes the photos will recognize potential employees of color in the city's workforce.
Mayor Eric Adams believes the photos will recognize potential employees of color in the city’s workforce.
WireImage

Compounding the issue, nearly every official Politico spoke to also said the headshot request created another snag in the drawn-out hiring process — straying away from the mayor’s signature motto of “get stuff done” at a time when city job vacancies are unusually high. About 8 percent of municipal jobs were vacant as of April, according to data from the Citizens Budget Commission.

Politico obtained emails sent by the mayor’s team to about a dozen high-ranking officials at other city agencies asking them to submit headshots of people they hope to employ for Adam’s own review.

An April 19 email contained an attached template of photos and job descriptions of current high-ranking agency employees.

Mayor Eric Adams wants city agencies to provide photographs of potential hires to City Hall.
Mayor Eric Adams wants city agencies to provide photographs of potential hires to City Hall.
Getty Images

“Clarifying also that the avatars in the attached should be actual photos as the Mayor likes to start recognizing people’s faces,” a mayoral staffer wrote in the email, according to the publication.

One official said they were verbally told that Adams wanted agencies to hire people who “reflect the constituencies we serve.”

Hiring managers aren’t expected to ask job candidates for headshots, but instead grab photos from social media sites like LinkedIn to appease the mayor’s request, two sources told Politico.

“The whole hiring process this City Hall set up is difficult enough, and the photo requirement just takes it from hard to bizarre and uncomfortable,” another high-ranking agency official said.

Adams’ administration said the photo requests — which also apply to existing top staffers — is a way for the mayor to learn and recognize the faces of those he employs.

Politico obtained emails from Mayor Eric Adams' team asking high-ranking officials at other city agencies to submit headshots.
Politico obtained emails from Mayor Eric Adams’ team asking high-ranking officials at other city agencies to submit headshots.
Getty Images

“Nothing, I think, is more disrespectful than when people work for you on your executive team and you don’t know who they are,” Adams said when asked about the policy at an unrelated press conference in Queens Thursday. “I should know my employees.”

He said since he’s only been in office since Jan. 1, he’s still getting to know city workers.

He’s also asked all department heads to create an org chart “with the faces of my employees” so he can walk into a meeting and put a face to the name.

“Before I walk in, I look over the org chart. I look at their faces so I can walk in and say, “Hello,” he said.

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Adams asks for photos of city job applicants in effort to increase diversity: report

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