Jonathan Whistman

Guest Columnist and Strategic Partner of Kinsey Management

“Poor, biased hiring selections due to vague ‘intuition’ and face-value likeability are an unimaginable waste of time and money. All other efforts are in vain when a company suffers from subpar job performance and high turnover. The solution is relying on objective assessments, sound logic, and reasoning to reliably find and appoint genuinely distinguished, suitable people.”

Today’s workforce has largely moved online, and so has the hiring process. There are clear benefits to remotely handling certain recruiting and hiring tasks. But unexpected biases can arise from virtual hiring practices.

Biases unique to remote recruiting and hiring do not have to interfere with identifying the legitimate best person for the job. From recruiting to interviews, understand the prevalence of hiring bias in virtual spaces and how to combat it.

What Is Hiring Bias In Recruiting?

People automatically develop mental shortcuts through external and internal factors such as upbringing, culture, and beliefs. These unconscious biases manifest as stereotypes, assumptions, misconceptions, and inaccurate judgments about others. From job listings to interviews and resumes, attitudes, notions, and hasty assumptions lead decision-makers astray in recruitment and hiring. Bias causes hiring managers and executives to subconsciously overestimate or minimize candidates’ potential performance.

Feeling natural preferences for some people over others is a natural part of being human. Everyone likes being around people with similarities. But success or failure hinges solely on new hires’ real-world adequacy. Bias clouds judgment during recruiting and hiring, favoring individuals who are ultimately ill-suited or underprepared for the position. Recruiting tactics that favor some groups and exclude others can become discriminatory and precipitate legal issues.

Poor, biased hiring selections due to vague ‘intuition’ and face-value likeability are an unimaginable waste of time and money. All other efforts are in vain when a company suffers from subpar job performance and high turnover. The solution is relying on objective assessments, sound logic, and reasoning to reliably find and appoint genuinely distinguished, suitable people.

The Difference Between Hiring In-Person and Through Video

In the new era of COVID, businesses have become virtual more than ever before, including recruiting and hiring activities. Video interviewing is taking over in this post-pandemic age. There are emerging and unfamiliar bias-related challenges that originate from video interviewing.

The in-person setting provides a chance for the interviewer and interviewee to converse as free from distractions as possible. Both parties are likely relatively familiar and comfortable with the situation of speaking privately in the same room. Traditional interviews are a simpler, more controlled framework. The door is closed, the room is quiet for uninterrupted talk, and the participants probably feel more prepared and unhindered.

Video interviews and their pitfalls are uncharted territories. The candidate is at home. Children, pets, and other family members may be present. There might be disruptive noise coming from within the household or the surrounding neighborhood. Technical difficulties with internet connection or equipment could interfere with the interview. The appearance of a person’s home might trigger bias in the interviewer’s mind. 

Potential distractions and disruptions, and/or unfamiliarity with the virtual interview format may very well cause anxiety and awkwardness Feeling unnatural or stressed can affect a candidate’s mannerisms and communication and impede them from making an accurate, organic impression.

The Top Ten Ways to Reduce Virtual Hiring Bias

It is no surprise that new ways of conducting business generate new sources of hiring bias to overcome. Stay knowledgeable, vigilant, and deliberate about preventing unconscious bias in hiring.

  1. Preparing candidates and interviewers
    Give job candidates a fighting chance to prove themselves during the interview. There are more technical preparations in setting up video interviews. Make sure everyone involved knows what equipment, connectivity, and software they need. Carry out testing in advance. Communicate beforehand about any assessments, what you plan to discuss, and who the candidate should expect to meet.

  2. Create a structured interview process
    With the virtual interview, consistency is as crucial as ever. Structured interviews have shown strong efficacy in reducing unconscious bias’s effects in hiring. Developing a standardized process ensures that objective criteria prevail in decision-making. This should be the standard in virtual interviewing with its unprecedented sources of distracting and personal information.

    Structured interviews help hiring managers to disregard irrelevant information to directly compare applicants’ job strengths. Standardized, objective assessments eliminate variable factors in evaluating candidates. Looking at candidate work samples during the interview stage can also enhance impartiality in hiring.

  3. Employ predictive analytics
    Implementing predictive analytics also improves neutrality in assessing video interviews. Predictive analytics distill the most relevant data about someone’s potential in the context of a role. Video interviews introduce abundant disturbances and information that can subtly seep in to influence interviewer perceptions.

    PerceptionPredict’s Performance Fingerprints turn down the static to reveal someone’s true fit for a given job and environment. To locate the perfect person, the AI tool dissects traits and behaviors that dependably predict substantive performance metrics

  4. Have a diverse group of decision-makers
    A team or committee can make virtual hiring more equitable. If all tasks fall on one person, applicants may be at the mercy of that individual’s unconscious biases. The group comes together to contribute diverse experiences and attitudes, improving balance. A group’s collaborative hiring evaluations might serve to cancel out biases. Collectively, a team is more likely to consider how video interviews can obstruct a qualified person’s ability to shine.

  5. Record interviews for independent assessment
    A variety of perspectives is important. But avoiding biases that arise from knee-jerk reactions and group dynamics matters too. Recording interviews gives decision-makers an opportunity to revisit the interview individually with a fresh mindset. This is especially important with virtual hiring. The organic feeling of in-person interviews is preferable. This can make people mistakenly view those they interface with virtually as less likable in comparison. Counteracting this sneaky virtual hiring bias is a necessity.

  6. Conducting asynchronous video interviews
    Asynchronous video interviews combine the advantages of structured and recorded interviews. All candidates record themselves answering standardized interview questions and submit the videos. Because the conversations do not happen in real-time, there is less variability in how the interviewer and potential hire interact. Only the important information shows through. That is, how people responded, and what the responses indicate about future performance.

  7. Removing biased wording from job listings
    Job listings filter particular groups out of recruitment long before anyone sits down for a video interview. The internet is a vast and useful recruiting resource. But using online platforms to target certain groups can backfire and detrimentally exclude talent. Double-check internet job ads for coded language and filters that implicitly aim towards age groups, ethnicities, or genders while alienating others.

  8. Specific expectations
    Craft a recruiting and hiring scheme that comprehensively emphasizes raw skills, behaviors, and traits with laser focus. Critical job-specific metrics will be more likely to stay at the forefront confronted with the extra biases that accompany virtual hiring.

  9. Being proactive about accommodations
    Communicate your willingness to meet any necessary accommodations. Supplementing video interviews with closed captions or a chatbox for written questions is an easy way to stay inclusive.

  10. Keep administrators and recruiters informed about biases
    Everyone participating in virtual hiring and recruiting should be informed and trained in unconscious biases. Keep recruiters and administrators up to date on how virtual hiring practices present their own biases.

How PerceptionPredict Eliminates Bias With Sales Hiring

Meeting someone through the computer screen can distort your image of them. PerceptionPredict completes the picture with a thorough model of workplace- and role-specific attributes. PerceptionPredict has repeatedly proven its capacity to revamp the quality of companies’ hires. Our AI diminishes bias in favor of objective, research-based psychographic traits that predict real-world job performance with accuracy we can replicate.