Does Video Interviewing Encourages Discrimination?

There used to be speculation about video interviewing encouraging discrimination. Some were worried that seeing candidates face-to-face earlier on in the process would lead to a biased hiring process. As our understanding and total embrace of this tool has grown stronger, we have collectively realized that tools aren’t bias, people are. Transversely, we are now starting to see the ways that video interviewing can actually facilitate diversity in the workforce.

Video interviewing allows companies to reach a wider audience. The incredible efficiency that video interviewing lends HR departments and recruiters allows them to broaden their reach. When we initially think about diversity we immediately think about racial diversity, but there’s a lot more to it. There are several types of diversity that are often overlooked in recruiting initiatives.

  • Physical Disability
  • Communication style
  • Origin
  • Income level
  • Skill set
  • Values and belief sets

Location, Location, Location

From the candidate’s perspective, video interviewing is so convenient, that more applicants, especially passive ones, will be quicker to engage and go farther in the hiring process. This is especially true for interviewing people from different locations. While the candidate is not usually responsible for the cost of travel and stay associated with interviewing in a different location, they still must take time off of work, spend time away from their family and might even need child care while they are away.

The personal resources that candidate’s save by not having to travel to interview makes location far less of an impediment in hiring. This built in convenience makes those hard-to-fill positions much easier due to the sheer amount of possible candidates. Recruiters and hiring managers can engage with candidates who are no longer out of their reach. Recruiting from different locations as part of a diversity initiative is much easier and convenient with video interviewing.

Physically Disabled Candidates

As video interviewing went mainstream, there was concern that physically disabled candidates would be discriminated against. They would be eliminated from the pool of possible matches earlier on in the hiring process, leaving no room to prove themselves as a viable candidate. We are finding that quite the opposite is true. Physically disabled candidates can enjoy the convenience of interviewing from their home, and thus will be more likely to engage. Recruiters and hiring managers can gain a lot of important information from these interviews. They can assess a potential work from home environment, gauge communication style and cultural fit.

Diversity Initiatives

Cultivating a work culture that embraces diversity won’t just happen because you want it to; it takes real, planned initiatives. It could mean diversity training, social media initiatives and a diversity statement that is adhered to with guidance. Again, none of these things will happen at the snap of a finger, they will require resources.

If there are two things that we never seem to have enough of in business life, they are time and money. Turns out video interviewing lends us more of both. We’ve all read the stats on the ROI of video interviewing, but in case you haven’t, here’s one very surprising one: Employers can conduct 10 video screens in the time it takes to do one phone screen. Let’s put that time to good use with diversity initiatives planning and implementation.

If you were thinking that is time that could be well spent elsewhere, you’d be wrong. A diverse workforce can be an incredibly strong tool in business.

“Teams comprised with diversity in mind will display higher creativity levels and their broadened perspectives can lead to increased innovation. Diversity also grants companies access to new market segments and therefore facilitates financial growth. Additionally, it is reported that companies that put an emphasis on diversity in their hiring practices benefit from higher customer loyalty rates.”

Customer markets and the global workplace in general become more diverse with each passing day. Organizations need to drive diversity by creating a new hiring culture, and it turns out that video interviewing is an extremely effective tool to do just that.

photo credit: Jonathan Guy via photopin cc

Views: 366

Comment by Tim Spagnola on February 18, 2014 at 12:36pm
Julie - interesting post and interesting
Topic to consider. Good to see your findings are finding a positive result. I never gave this much consideration, but can certainly see how a case can be made that video interviewing can lead to discrimination. We rely on it a great bit with our recruitment activity. To date it really has been a huge tool to keep our interview process efficient. I appreciate you sharing the post.
Comment by Valentino Martinez on February 18, 2014 at 1:39pm

If discrimination is part of your standard operating procedure video interviewing will certainly allow you to speed up the process at a cost savings.

Video interviewing, like testing, or any other assessment tool for that matter, has the capacity to be a positive addition to the recruitment process, as you point out -- or it can be Exhibit "A" in a deposition for a claim of discrimination as well.  How you administer those tools and safeguard against abuse or misuse will make all the difference in positive outcomes or not so positive outcomes. 


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