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    Video interviewing! The future of recruitment? Or a barrier to Diversity and Inclusion?

    Disruption: D&I

    Video interviewing: is it the new ‘disrupter’ to the recruitment industry and a key differentiator between one organisation and another?

    Rather than sending over a regular CV, video interviewing brings a profile to life. I have conducted many video interviews to date on various different platforms and admit that I have had some success to date. However, after attending a number of Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) seminars over the last few months I am left with this question, can a business’s agenda surrounding D&I disrupt the latest disrupter to the recruitment world?

    We’ve all seen how the video interview platforms can work, a candidate is interviewed/qualified by a consultant as a first stage interview, this video is sent over to a prospective hiring manager who then can sit down at their leisure and watch the videos to decide who appears to possess the qualities needed to work within their team. The major selling feature of this technology is that it can save hiring managers time by conducting telephone interviews by supplying consultants with specific questions to use during the video interview.

    In practice this sounds wonderful, how can this technology do anything but help and enhance a recruitment process I hear you ask?

     Well my answer is, in an age where we are seeing organisations request that names, educational qualifications, industry sectors, ethnicity, locations etc. be removed from CV’s to prevent unconscious bias creeping in whilst their Hiring Managers assess and review candidates, how on earth can a video interview enable the removal of bias? Gender, approximate age, ethnicity, financial situation (if they can see somebody’s home environment during the interview) and others are all laid bare for the hiring manager to see.

    Now anybody conducting a video interview will often ask for someone to use a neutral backdrop in the hope no such questions, distractions or invasions of privacy (after all a person’s home is a personal and private place) can take place. However, how can you hide all the other issues previously stated? You could point the camera away from somebody in the hope that ethnicity and age are concealed (but why conduct a video interview if this is the case?), however, gender is more difficult to conceal. Also, isn’t one of the major selling features of these products that a hiring manager can see, listen and assess someone’s suitability from a ‘culture’ perspective?

    A solution to this could be that you have multiple managers watch the videos and provide their feedback. A diverse hiring panel is often seen as the best way to conduct face to face interviews in the hope that one person’s bias will not be reflected across the remaining interviewers. However, if 6 candidates were involved in a process and they had all been video interviewed and a group of 4 managers needed to watch the videos (one could easily argue that 4 people could never be diverse or representative of enough people to make this decision), that’s 24 pieces of feedback required in order to establish whether anybody should be progressed. If the candidates are rejected then this process is obviously protracted.

    With this in mind, can video interviewing realistically be seen as a speedy solution to any interview process?

    I want to stress that this is not an article which is bashing the video interviewing platform. I have enjoyed great success and I have had many happy clients with the results it has produced. However, with the changes on the horizon surrounding how HR needs to approach recruitment to create a more diverse and equal workforce, agencies and 3rd party suppliers need to look at where we can enhance and not potentially hinder these important developments.