Videos Don’t Discriminate, People Do

Video Interviewing and Screening – Discrimination

I get asked in almost every meeting I attend whether video interviewing and screening encourages discrimination in the hiring process. It’s a fair question. It’s something that every business and hiring manager wants to avoid.

Under the Equality Act 2010 there are 9 protected characteristics on which people can be discriminated: age, disability, gender reassignment, marital status, pregnancy, race, religion, sex and sexual orientation.

Employers must not discriminate against a person:

  • In the arrangements it makes for deciding to whom to offer employment;
  • As to the terms on which it offers a candidate employment; or
  • by not offering employment to a candidate.

We have probably all heard the story where a candidate has sent their CV for a job and not been successful,  then later sent the same CV under a different name and subsequently been invited to interview; or other similar stories where discrimination has seemingly taken place.

How does Fidio alleviate the risk of an employer unintentionally discriminating against a candidate?

  • It reduces the risk of an interviewer asking a subjective question about a candidate which is not relevant, as the interview questions via Fidio will be fixed and consistent for all applicants
  • Flexibility and convenience – e.g. with a face to face interview, a disabled person might complain that reasonable adjustments have not been made to enable them to safely attend; or a mother who is only offered a face to face interview during hours which she has childcare responsibilities
  • Fidio therefore allows employers to assess candidates as if they were being interviewed face to face, but without the associated risks
  • The Equality and Human Rights Commission code of practice recommends standardised process during recruitment, i.e. if one candidate is interviewed via Fidio at a particular stage, then so should all the others – this ensures the employer can make an objective assessment on the candidate’s ability to do the job
  • Video interviews can help hiring managers spot things they might have missed in a face to face meeting. Because the video can be viewed more than once by the hiring manager or recruiter, they may be able to pay more attention to details missed in an interview

What are the risks?

  • Potentially sensitive information relating to a protected characteristic may be provided at an earlier stage in the recruitment process – i.e. the age, disability or religion of an applicant may become obvious when using Fidio
  • However, this doesn’t mean that Fidio increases the risk of discrimination occurring, since these factors may be picked up on when scanning a CV, and in any event, would become clear during a face to face interview anyway
  • In fact, using Fidio could actually help eliminate the risk of discrimination – for example, even where a tendency to discriminate may exist (whether intentionally or not), the ability to observe a candidate’s personality may outweigh those tendencies

Practical considerations:

  • As always, it is essential for employers to remember that at all stages of the recruitment process, information relating to a protected characteristic must not be used to discriminate against a candidate
  • Whatever process an employer uses, it must be fair, consistent and result in the appointment of the best person for the job

The most important thing to remember when it comes to video interviews is that technology is only a tool. It can be used for good or for bad, depending on how a human being applies it.

The challenge is ensuring consistency in the process — that’s what protects the organisation. If you have a video screening with one candidate at one stage, other candidates should be treated in the same manner.

Technology can’t practice discrimination. Fidio doesn’t hold discriminatory opinions or beliefs. Only humans can discriminate, and therefore video interviews can become an important tool in your hiring toolbox without increasing the risk to your business; and maybe even eliminating it altogether.

Video Interviews Don’t Discriminate, People Do!

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