Enhancing diversity in recruitment by using video

At Video Intakes we try to learn from others as much as possible. We have decided to bundle our internal learning and research efforts in this Video Intakes case study. Using academic research, we explore how to use video best in your recruitment workflow. In this article we focus on how video can contribute to an increase of diversity in your organization.


Diversity is a hot topic in the recruitment world. Forbes Insights Research on Global Diversity and Inclusion stated that “75% of Fortune 1000 companies have diversity initiatives”. Why? Because diverse and inclusive teams outperform their peers by 80% in team-based assessments. The importance of a diverse workforce is industry-wide affirmed. However, achieving such an aspiration is easier said than done. The main obstacle in recruiting a diverse staff are the biases that are unintentionally influencing whom we hire. Enhancing a diverse workforce can be a though initiative. Therefore, this article will reveal how on-demand video interviewing can help you to achieve this.


Unbiased candidate assessment

Ethnic minorities, mostly non-western immigrants, generally need more time to find employment than native job seekers. Furthermore, they also work below their intelligence level more often. Dutch collaborative research between Ghent University and Erasmus University, found that there are differences between ethnic subgroups in how applicants set up their resumes. Compared to Western candidates, ethnic minorities are less frequently involved in internships, low job positions or any other type of secondary activities on their resume.

Even though this might seem like a small difference, it frequently results in lower job-fit assessments. The usage of video (next to a resume) will create a more comprehensive candidate assessment. It is also often perceived as fairer to applicants with a relatively weak labour market position. In addition, biases, which often lead to negative stereotyping and categorization, are less likely to occur when more information is available.

Overcoming subjectivity

When interviewing several candidates, it can be difficult to overcome the selection bias and to stay objective. According to the research of Harvard Business Review, companies should rely on structured interviews that have the same set of questions in the same order to eliminate subjectivity. This allows recruiters maintain objective in their comparisons among candidates.

By interviewing lawyers, bankers and consultants, sociologist Lauren Rivera found that, in job interviews, they commonly searched for candidates that match their own personalitiy. Replicating ourselves in the hiring process often contributes to the gender division of jobs. For instance, female teachers hiring more female teachers and male bankers hiring more male bankers. Actions like this hinder diversity enhancement which shows the importance of having a consistent hiring process. Adding on-demand video interviewing to your recruitment process will give recruiters the possibility to rewatch and share the videos with colleagues. Besides that, asynchronous video will give all your candidates the same interviewing experience, since each candidate will be asked the same questions. Hereby, both sides will benefit from a more objective and less biased assessment approach.

Flexible memory bias → Record and rewatch

Can we trust our memory of an applicant? You might think that is a strange question, but it is highly relevant in the assessment of a candidate. Our memory has imperfections. The famous ‘forgetting curve’ revealed that people are unable to retrieve roughly 50% of information one hour after the event. Besides simply forgetting, memories also become routinely distorted. Subsequently, the gaps in our memory are filled in by our brain and biases will occur. An example is the availability bias which refers to the greater likelihood of recalling recent events and placing them above others. Another example is the mood-congruent memory bias; the improved recall of information congruent with one’s current mood. Using video interviews will create an external and reliable memory and thus decrease the chance of unintentional biases.

So, what does this teach us? Following the suggestions derived from research, asynchronous videos can contribute in several ways to an increase of diversity and inclusion in your organization. So, to answer our main question: how to use video best?

  1. Create an online (asynchronous video) assessment with multiple structured questions and invite applicants, to make sure every applicant has the same (interview) experience. Also, rank the questions for every candidate in the same order.
  2. Offer an (optional) possibility to record a personal video in your application form. Hereby you also give ethnic minorities the means to equally present themselves.
  3. Involve colleagues to review submitted assessments and rewatch videos multiple times to reduce subjectivity.

Happy hiring!

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