The Benefits and Pitfalls of On-Demand Video Interviewing

Tim Ihlefeld

President and CEO, HarQen

Tim Ihlefeld is the President and CEO of Harqen LLC. On-Demand Digital Interviewing and Assessment technologies.  Tim is an inspirational leader with a successful history of building profitable companies, collaborative teams, long term client partnerships, and innovative new business strategies.  Prior to joining HarQen, Tim held several executive leadership roles within the staffing industry, delivering robust business growth and efficient operational performance.  Possessing extensive turnaround experience, he has assisted firms to focus on primary business objectives, while executing effective strategies to deliver increased market share and sustainable bottom-line growth.

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It’s been nearly a decade since the venture capitalist Marc Andreessen famously wrote that software is eating the world. Since that time, we’ve seen even more transformative and disruptive technologies find their way across all facets of our personal and professional lives. This includes the talent acquisition space, where we’re seeing emerging tech like artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning become integral parts of the hiring process, from resume processing to candidate interviews.

A Gartner report last year found that 23 percent of organizations that were already using AI were using it in the HR and recruiting process. With growth in the AI industry expected to increase exponentially over the next few years, including in the HR domain, we can expect the use of AI in hiring to reach ubiquity within a generation. 

 

But as with any transformative period, there are real concerns to be mindful of. For those of us in the talent acquisition world, one major concern would be that these new technologies could foster or amplify unintentional biases within the hiring process, particularly when these tools are used for candidate interviews.

With video interviewing growing in popularity, how can employers take advantage of the very real benefits of the technology but also ensure that unintended biases do not creep in?

The Case for Video Interviewing

First, let’s discuss why on-demand video interviewing, and the AI technology behind some of these solutions, are seeing a rise in adoption. In a LinkedIn report last year, a majority of recruiters and hiring managers said that AI was helping them save time. This, of course, is the underlying current that drives most technology adoption – saving time (and money) through the automation of tasks. 

In this case, the time-consuming work of scheduling and conducting one-to-one phone screenings or interviews during business hours is replaced by self-service software that candidates can use to record their interviews on their own time (and thus allowing recruiters and hiring managers to review the recorded videos on their own time as well, optimizing their ability to manage their busy days). AI tools can take these efficiencies even further by automating part of the assessment process itself, allowing recruiters to focus their efforts on candidates that will be likelier fits.

 

Ultimately, on-demand interviewing compresses the overall hiring timeline and helps organizations find the best talent within their candidate pools faster. For industries experiencing talent shortages, such as nursing, assessing talent effectively in the shortest amount of time can mean the difference between meeting critical staffing levels or losing out to other employers. 

Concerns Around Video Interviewing 

If used correctly, video interviewing presents a real opportunity to reduce or eliminate potential biases by providing a structured and consistent interviewing experience across all candidates for a given job type; there is no opportunity in an automated, pre-configured interview to ask candidates differing questions that may stem from personal, unconscious biases, for example.

 

The notable concern around video interviewing, however, is more related to the application of AI as part of the video assessment process. Significant concerns have been expressed in the national media over the past few months, including in the Washington Post and New York Times, that highlight the problematic nature of using facial analysis to assess job candidates. In short, the science of making determinations from someone’s face or facial expressions may not be reliable, and it may also lead to some unintended biases.

Key Steps to Combat Bias in Video Interviews

To be competitive in today’s market, employers will need to leverage emerging tools that will boost productivity, control costs, and give them an edge. The challenge is to do this without fumbling the ball on the core ethics that guide the human resources profession. The following are a few keys to staying on the right path.

  •     Ensure your video interview questions are consistent for all candidates for a given position.
  •     If possible, vet and review your video interview questions by committee.
  •     Audit and review recorded interviews regularly.
  •     Avoid unproven facial or voice inflection analysis as part of your video interviewing solution.

As a final note, it’s important to remember that while we now have incredibly powerful tools at our fingertips, we shouldn’t lose touch with the human element that is still needed in the hiring process. Software should help our processes, not eat it.


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