Job Seeker Blog - Spark Hire

Using Video in Your Hiring Process: The Discrimination Question

Today’s modern technology connects us in ways big and small. It makes it easier to discover what’s happening all over the world and to share stories and ideas. Video is just one of the tools making communication easier in our new digitally-focused life. You can now use video to chat with friends and family members from all over the world. You can view videos of far flung places or watch your favorite movie on the go. The power of video is even being felt in the hiring process, allowing employers to streamline their practices.

The matter of discrimination is the elephant in the room when it comes to video resumes and interviewing. But, how does video fit into this puzzle? The same way that all other hiring practices do, with thoughtful consideration for discrimination issues. After all, most hiring managers will eventually see their candidates face to face in the interview process. Companies with compliant human resources will make sure that discrimination concerns are accounted for. The same goes for the use of video in the hiring process.

For instance, you can “see” a candidate’s age on their resume or application if they have a birthdate included. This means there is the chance for age-based discrimination, the same as would be present viewing the video resume of an older candidate. In both cases, it’s up to the hiring managers and department to use best judgement and make sure that safeguards are in place to protect candidates against discrimination.

The hiring process involves, or should involve, many ways to safeguard a candidate from discrimination. One of the easiest is to avoid asking candidates questions about sensitive areas. Included in this don’t-ask pile are age, race, religion, gender-specific questions, and disability just to name a few. It’s important for employers to look at video resumes and interviews as they would meeting a candidate face to face for the first time. If the concern you’re having is not something you could ask the candidate about directly, than it could be discriminatory.

Even the EEOC doesn’t see a problem with using video in the hiring process, provided the same safeguards exist that protect candidates in any other setting. In both a letter from 2004 and 2010 the EEOC directly addressed the legalities of incorporating video recruitment. According to assistant legal counsel Carol R. Miaskoff, the use of video is completely legal and in compliance with EEOC guidelines. In fact, the EEOC does not generally rule on hiring technologies. These letters stress the importance of having guidelines and practices in place to minimize discrimination. This isn’t just important for the use of video, but the good of the overall hiring process.

Look at a video screen the same as you would any in-person hiring interaction. For video resumes, it could help to make a set of criteria on which resumes will be judged. Are you looking for communication skills and experience? Then make sure all candidates are judged on these merits. Judging all candidates based on the same scale will help cut down on the possibility of discrimination.

Another way to avoid discrimination is to get more than one person involved in the hiring process. This collaborative process is a good idea in general, not just when it comes to stomping out personal biases. Spark Hire allows Profile Videos, Spotlight Interviews, and Live Interviews to be shared within your organization. This facilitates collaboration and promotes “multiple eyes on the videos.” You can even take notes and pass those notes around to everyone involved in the hiring process. By getting more people involved in the process, you automatically expel the biases of any one individual.

Discrimination is a touchy subject, but that doesn’t mean it should not be addressed at all. Employers and recruiters should work hard to use best hiring practices so all candidates get a fair shot. Video is a new tool in the hiring toolbox and like any tool, it can be misused. At the end of the day, discrimination concerns cannot be pinned on technology, they must be addressed at the personnel level. Videos don’t discriminate, people do.

Image Courtesy of SophisticatedEdge.

Heather Huhman

Heather R. Huhman is the Career & Recruiting Advisor for Spark Hire. She writers 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). Connect with Heather and Spark Hire on Facebook and Twitter.