Human Resources Blog - Spark Hire

Video Interviewing and The Discrimination Question

When it comes to video interviewing, the discrimination question often looms large in the minds of employers. Companies might be afraid to try out video interviewing due to discrimination concerns. The truth is, these companies would be missing out on a great new hiring tool for no reason. According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), video interviewing is 100 percent compliant with all regulations.

The best way to protect against discrimination, after all, is to be informed and vigilant. Here are some common questions and answers about how to spot discrimination in the hiring process and the compliance of video interviews:

What is Hiring Discrimination?
Clearly, discrimination can occur at all levels of a worker’s career. In the hiring process, discrimination often takes the form of decreased opportunities for certain individuals. For instance, if a candidate isn’t considered for the position because of their race or religious background, this would be a clear case of hiring discrimination. Another example of hiring discrimination occurs when candidates aren’t considered for a job due to a disability which would have no impact on job performance.

Asking discriminatory questions is another huge problem during the hiring process. Employers want to steer away from questioning aspects of a candidate which have no impact on job performance, like gender or religion. Discrimination can seem tricky, but essentially it occurs when employers are looking at attributes besides skills, qualifications and fit to bar a candidate from moving forward in the process.

How Compliant is a Video Interview?
Here’s the good news: an online video interview is 100 percent compliant with all EEOC regulations. This means online job interviews can be performed without worrying about opening up the company to litigation worries.

Using online video shortens the hiring process and makes it faster and more efficient, but it doesn’t up the odds of discrimination in any considerable way. In both 2004 and 2010 the EEOC supported the use of online video as a non-discriminatory tool in the hiring process. This makes a lot of sense if you think critically about the role of online video interviews. Video interviewing is just a component of the overall hiring process. Your webcam and video platform cannot make decisions for your company- discriminatory or otherwise. Technology doesn’t have opinions or biases, which is why online video is only as good as the people using it.

How Can We Guard Against Hiring Discrimination?
First and foremost, stop blaming your technology. Video resumes, one way video interviews and live video interviews do not hold discriminatory points of view. Your webcam doesn’t care who is sitting on the other side of the computer monitor. To truly safeguard your company against discrimination concerns, you must first release the idea that technology is in some way impacting discrimination during hiring.

Once you’ve stopped playing the blame game, it’s time to take a good look at the human side of the equation. After all technology doesn’t discriminate, people do. To fix the discrimination problem, you need to look at the human elements of your hiring process. Has your staff been trained properly to spot discrimination and avoid discriminatory policies? Training your staff in hiring best practices is one easy way to avoid discrimination and find the best candidates for the job.

Another way to avoid discrimination in the hiring process is to use a standard set of evaluating criteria. This is a good idea, not just for avoiding discrimination, but also for making the lives of hiring managers easier.

Before you open up your webcam, ask yourself exactly what you’re looking for from an ideal candidate for the position. Write down the skills, personality attributes, and qualifications you want this superstar employee to have. Now you have a ‘wish list’ of evaluation criteria on which to judge potential candidates. This will help you take better notes on each candidate and will make it easier to compare your applicants to decide who will be the best fit for the position.

Avoiding discrimination is supremely important for employees, candidates, and even for the future of your company. Discriminatory attitudes could rob your company of a great potential employee with top notch ideas to share. If your company adheres to hiring best practices and focuses on the human element instead of blaming technology, you’ll be well on your way to avoiding discrimination pitfalls.

Video interviewing can be a powerful tool for finding great candidates, but it’s just a tool. Make sure to invest time and energy into the people wielding this tool for the best and most fair results.

What do you think? What are some ways your company can avoid discrimination in the hiring process? Share in the comments!

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Heather Huhman

Heather R. Huhman is the Career & Recruiting Advisor for Spark Hire. She writes career and recruiting advice for numerous outlets, and is the author of Lies, Damned Lies & Internships: The Truth About Getting from Classroom to Cubicle (2011), and #ENTRYLEVELtweet: Taking Your Career from Classroom to Cubicle (2010).