Right off the bat those in the Human Resources profession may take offense to my use of the word “fear” for surely so small a thing as a webcam does not scare them. Search your soul though soldiers of compliance. I’ve been a part of enough discussions both in person and online to have learned by now that some of you want little to do with video interviewing. What have I learned? Well I’ve learned that some HR managers, far more so than any other group, believes video interviewing will make it easier for hiring managers to discriminate. Additionally you believe that having recorded videos on hand, perhaps potentially showing your manager’s discriminatory behavior, will expose you to litigation.
Many of these fears are born from a misunderstanding of how video interviewing technologies work. Here are a few ways that video interviewing actually counters discrimination.
- Structured interviews: A number of video interviewing vendors provide a solution where candidates can take the interview on their own and at their convenience by means of an automated interviewing solution. Each candidate applying for a particular position is administered the same set of questions. Structured interviews of this nature, whereby every candidate regardless of age, gender, race, ethnicity and so on, answers the same questions, reduces discrimination. Hiring managers, in other words, aren’t allowed to deviate from their script of questions based on the demographics of the candidate sitting before them.
- Video interviews provide a record of your non-discriminatory practices. You probably didn’t think of this, did you, while you were so preoccupied with the assumption that your biased managers would get caught red handed on tape. Imagine if an issue arose with a disgruntled candidate and you could point to a video interview clearly showing no discrimination took place. Furthermore by comparing the disgruntled candidate to the other candidates who applied for the role, you can demonstrate why one candidate made it further in the hiring process than another. Ever hear of the Hawthorne effect? This is a psychology term used to describe the increasing performance levels that occur amongst workers when they know they are being observed. When your hiring managers are conducting recorded live interviews, ones they will share with others, I imagine they understand that observing good interviewing practices are in their best interest.
- Video interviews can actually screen candidates into the process. One recruiter approached us after video interviewing a candidate and said his client had refused to move forward with the candidate because he thought the candidate, based on the candidate’s resume, lacked the energy level to do the job. This is a nice way of saying that the client thought the candidate was too old. After the recruiter showed the interview to the hiring manager, the hiring manager was able to see the candidate’s energy and enthusiasm for the opportunity. As a result, the candidate got the interview and eventually the job. An additional example is of a candidate that I encountered with a very ethnic name. He was originally dismissed because the hiring manager determined he probably could not speak English. Once he demonstrated his English speaking prowess on video, he got the job.
Now, after everything I’ve said, won’t you sleep easier tonight knowing that video interviewing means you no harm whatsoever?