Video interviewing – Busting the discrimination myth

Blog_DiscriminationMore and more employers and candidates are waking up to the benefits of video interviewing, and the reduction in time and costs it brings. But if there’s one misconception, one worry, one niggling concern inhibiting some from embracing video, it’s this: “Doesn’t it encourage discrimination?”

Well, the short answer to that is, no it doesn’t. Admittedly, that isn’t a hugely comprehensive reply, so let’s expand on that and partake of some video interview myth-debunking, shall we?

It’s easy, perhaps, to understand the misgivings. After all, watching the candidate undertaking a pre-recorded interview, the employer or recruiter will be able to see – more or less – their age, ethnicity, gender, weight etc. A written CV, though likely to provide clues, will not allow such a complete insight into those characteristics – apart from the age and gender, naturally.

But here’s the thing. If the employer or recruiting manager is going to do what the BBC did to poor Arlene Phillips and Moira Stuart, and discriminate against, say, age, gender and (in Moira’s case) ethnicity, well, chances are they will have already done that before the video interviews have even taken place. They only have to scan the CV. If they are feeling in a particularly anti-Scottish mood, for instance, then all that’s needed is for them to unearth a CV with the name ‘McTaggart’ atop the sheet of A4 and, yep, you guessed it, ‘He’s probably Scottish – not interested’. Before anyone complains, I’m in no way anti-Scottish – that was merely an example.

Rather than actively causing discrimination, video interviews actually help to eliminate it. For example, each candidate is asked the same set of questions giving consistency in question delivery; questions are no longer modified by the interviewer to take account of particular personal prejudices. On top of that, the video responses can be shared with numerous decision makers, so the final decision of who to face-to-face interview is not left solely to one prejudicial Alf Garnett. And even when a tendency towards discrimination exists, the opportunity to experience a candidate’s personality may even overcome those latent thoughts.

Once again, it’s difficult to overstate the growing popularity of video interviewing. According to recruitment site, no fewer than 80% of companies employing more than 10,000 staff have either used or are using it. If more of the naysayers accept the fact that the discrimination argument is completely false, then that figure can only grow. Has this blog eased your mind on this subject at all? Will you dip your toe into the video interviewing waters?