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Eliminating Virtual Interview Bias

Tips for Fostering an Unbiased Video Interview

The growing prevalence of virtual interviews has changed the talent acquisition world as we know it. The days of in-person interviews are temporarily gone—and may never return to their pre-pandemic state. And while the act of conducting a digital interview may prove to be more convenient for both the interviewer and the job candidate, organizations must be cognizant of any unintentional biases that come with this new process.

Learn how to promote employee engagement in a virtual world.

Here are some dos and don’ts to help your organization remain unbiased and impartial throughout the video interview process.

Don’t: Pay attention to camera quality

Regardless of whether a candidate accesses a virtual interview from their ultra-modern laptop or takes the conversation from their low-quality cell phone, don’t assume that the former is better suited for the role than the latter. Many of us take technology for granted these days, and we forget that some people experience difficulty when attempting to gain access to high-speed internet connections. Don’t let yourself formulate a negative perception of a candidate if he/she experiences technical issues—they happen to the best of us!

Don’t: Pay attention to background noises

We all know how much people’s lives have been impacted over the past year, so don’t be surprised if some individuals may not be able to find a quiet place to conduct the interview. Whether you’re talking to a young mother with screaming children or a college student with noisy roommates, refrain from allowing these disruptions from influencing your perception of a candidate. These background noises prove nothing about the individual’s qualifications and their ability to effectively perform in a workplace environment.

Do: Pay attention to backdrops

While interviewers should look past potential background noise disruptions during a virtual interview, they should be mindful of the backdrop that a candidate chooses to display on camera. Organizations should pay attention to explicit posters, unethical symbols, or other inappropriate backgrounds. These signs—although subtle—can serve as a warning to your organization. If any backdrops are deemed unprofessional or unscrupulous, it may be time to remove your candidate from your shortlist.

Do: Establish strict protocols for recording interviews

Prominent virtual interview platforms like Zoom and Microsoft Teams enable the interviewer to record each conference call. This option may be enticing when some primary stakeholders within your organization are unable to attend a live interview with a candidate. However, before you choose to record your virtual interviews, it’s important to first confirm that such recordings are legal in your state. If so, setting up formal recording guidelines is imperative. For instance, the interviewer must confirm that all candidate interviews are recorded—not just a select few—and that each decision-maker will have equal access to the recordings. In addition, be sure that you have received permission from the candidate that they may be recorded. By establishing these formal protocols, you’ll ensure that each interview is conducted in a fair and equitable manner.

Summary

In the new age of virtual interviews, companies need to ensure that their interviewers are well informed on the importance of remaining impartial throughout the process. Not only do these decision-makers represent their organization’s brand to outside candidates, but they play a critical role in bringing in talent resources to further develop a positive workplace culture. By ridding the interview process of all biases—both conscious and unconscious—you’ll ensure greater success in your talent acquisition outreach.

For more thought leadership content from our team of workforce experts, check out our blog.

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By Dave Savarise, Executive Vice President.

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