Viewpoint: Consider the Benefits of Using Video Interviews as a Hiring Tool

By Greg E. Dietz June 10, 2019

The teacher shortage has reached crisis levels in nearly all states, and the future looks even more grim. To address their hiring needs, many school districts have embarked on costly national recruitment campaigns. Often, those efforts include social media marketing strategies and the use of new technologies to help districts gain a competitive edge over neighboring schools. One such technology is video interviewing (VI) software for screening and selecting job applicants.

VI technology generally comes in two forms: synchronous, which is used for live interviews, and asynchronous, which is used for prerecorded interviewing. When employers talk of using video interviews, they are mostly referring to the prerecorded interview. The hiring manager enters questions into the software and invites job candidates to answer them. Candidates view an introductory video that describes the employer and informs them about the position. Then they are asked to respond to interview questions, and they must use the technology to record their responses using a webcam-equipped device or smartphone.

To video interview or not to video interview? That's the question on the minds of many employers. But is there a statistical cause for concern that outweighs the demonstrated benefits that VI provides to hiring managers? That's the real question to be answered.

More Efficient Hiring Process

By integrating VI strategies into their talent acquisition processes, employers have captured several benefits, including reduced time-to-hire, increased interviewing efficiency, positive candidate experiences, and expanded branding and marketing opportunities. In addition, they have realized substantial cost savings associated with higher employee retention rates.

However, the proven advantages that VI platforms provide have not been convincing enough for some employers to set aside their fears of the legal risks they associate with using VI technology to hire staff.

Most Discrimination Charges Filed Post-Hire

Data from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) illustrate that employers are much more at risk of facing a discrimination charge when attempting to dismiss a current employee than when declining to hire a job applicant.

Many HR professionals are concerned that VI will reveal certain information that employers shouldn't consider during the hiring process, such as an applicant's race or gender. They're afraid that hiring managers may rule out applicants based on these protected characteristics. But these are low-risk concerns.

In 2010, the EEOC was asked for its opinion on the use and risks associated with video interviews. In response, Carol Miaskoff, assistant legal counsel for the EEOC at the time, wrote, "The EEO laws do not expressly prohibit the use of specific technologies or methods for selecting employees, and therefore do not prohibit the use of video resumes [interviews]. The key question under the EEO laws is how the selection tools are used." Technology itself does not discriminate.

Technology Provides Consistency

Using VI technology as a screening tool may actually reduce the employer's risk of a discrimination charge. Discrimination claims sometimes boil down to one person's word against another's. With VI, everything that happens is electronically recorded as proof of what was said or not said during an interview. In addition, asynchronous VI eliminates spontaneous questions that could veer into off-limits topics. For these reasons, VI provides increased transparency for employers during the talent acquisition process.

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Such technology also provides consistency in candidate interviews. With asynchronous VI, every applicant is asked the same question in the exact same manner. There is no opportunity for the interviewer to paraphrase for one candidate or explain the question differently for another. Candidates also are provided the same amount of time to think of a response, and they are all provided the same amount of time to answer each question.

Other features of VI platforms, such as approved question banks and cloud-stored interview data files, also protect employers against discrimination charges.

Employers that do not keep interview records or know about the nature of the questions their interviewers are asking applicants in face-to-face interviews are at more risk for liability than those using VI to screen applicants in a structured and consistent manner.

Lastly, VI allows employers to go beyond a quick scan of a resume to learn more about more applicants, which ultimately can lead to making better hiring decisions.

Greg E. Dietz is the assistant superintendent of human resources for Maine Township High School in Park Ridge, Ill.



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