Video resumes | How to reduce your bias in the hiring process

Video resumes | How to reduce your bias in the hiring process

There's no shortage of studies that show just how detrimental unconscious bias can be to a business' hiring process. No matter what sort of decision-making role you're in; hiring manager, human resources, or team leader, removing bias from the hiring process is always challenging.

Video CVs and resumes have a range of undeniable benefits, but the lingering question remains: will a video resume actually do more to feed into unconscious bias than help it? 

Generally speaking, if hiring bias is present at all throughout your recruitment process, there's a much bigger issue to address – regardless of whether the resumes being reviewed are printed or recorded. 

So where should you start, what changes can you make, and how can video resumes actually help combat unconscious bias in your hiring process?

What is unconscious bias? 

Unconscious bias, or implicit bias,  is the prejudice in favor of a certain thing, person, or group. It's made up of the automatic thoughts, assumptions, and judgments that are immediately triggered by our brain when we meet someone. They're out of our control, as they're mostly determined by our upbringing, cultural environment, and personal experiences. But they play an intrinsic role in forming the first impressions that feed into the selection process. 

Unconscious bias is often our biggest barrier to equality and a diverse workforce. We favor candidates from certain schools, ethnicities, genders, and backgrounds. Rather than candidate experience, qualifications, work samples, or culture fit. 

Types of unconscious bias in the recruitment process

There are a few kinds of unconscious biases you and your hiring teams can look out for during the interview process. Such as:

1. Affinity Bias

This happens when recruiters share a characteristic or trait with the candidate, like growing up in the same hometown or sharing a similar hobby. 

Finding these familiar qualities in a candidate can be crucial for company culture, but it becomes problematic when the hiring decision is impacted by those factors alone. 

Tip: When looking for like-minded individuals, cast your net into areas that seem more unfamiliar – you might be surprised just how much you have in common. 

2. Attribution Bias

Attribution bias happens when we allow previous interactions to determine our assumptions or opinions on an individual. 

For example, take a candidate who has only stayed at previous roles for short bursts at a time; it could be assumed that they're the problem, rather than outside factors that likely contributed to their experience. 

Tip: If attribution bias sneaks in, make sure to ask yourself whether the opinions you're forming are based on fact or assumptions. If you find yourself assuming, take the time to find out more about your concerns. 

3. Confirmation bias

Simply put, confirmation bias is only hearing what we want to; seeking information that reinforces what we already believe to be true. Everything else is quickly disregarded.  

A simple action, like reading a job candidate's name, and instantly assumptions can be made about the quality of education, experience, and social or cultural fit. 

Along with names, skin color, ethnicity, gender, and other various attributes can come into play. 

Tip: Avoid making these mistakes by prioritizing skill and job performance above other factors. Then you can make decisions based on ability and suitability alone. This way, you'll end up with a much more diverse talent pool if they're curated based on a skills test. 

 4. Contrast bias

If you find yourself meeting an ideal candidate early on in the interview process, chances are you'll start subconsciously comparing every other candidate to them and the standard they've set. This could alter your perception of what qualifies a "good candidate" and you'll end up hiring the best of a few, instead of the best overall. 

Tip: Set your standards ahead of time, and compare candidates to those benchmarks instead of each other. 

 5. Gender Bias

This bias is fairly self-explanatory and widely felt. Gender bias occurs when a candidate's suitability is determined by their gender, not their job experience. For example, outdated stereotypes might subconsciously lead us to believe that female candidates are better suited to more nurturing roles, like nursing or teaching. And male candidates suit high-power or high-logic roles like STEM industries. 

Tip: Always use gender-neutral language in your job descriptions as to not inadvertently deter those of the opposing gender. This is especially important in male or female-dominated industries.  

The benefit of video resumes

As much as it may seem as though a video resume might encourage unconscious bias, it can be extremely helpful to overcome some that may arise without us realizing it. 

When it comes to affinity bias, a video resume can really help you diversify candidates simply by being able to accept a larger quantity of applications from virtually anywhere. You'll probably encounter more remote applicants, and won't be relying on the same pool of local candidates dropping off their resumes or CVs in person. 

A video resume or CV can help combat attribution bias by allowing you a more in-depth view of the character of an applicant, rather than just what's just typed up on the page. They also allow for more thorough details to quash any assumptions.  

Confirmation bias is probably one to most easily overcome with help from a video resume or CV. Take our earlier example, if a team member reads a foreign-sounding name, they might quickly assume their language skills render them less of a qualified candidate. A video will quickly prove the candidate's abilities and competence for the role they're applying for, despite any presence of confirmation bias.

With a video resume, we can see so much more than what's listed on an applicant's resume or CV. So even though you may receive one strong option on paper, a video applicant's submission can show how much more they can bring through their attitude, confidence, and passion. 

Similar to the others, we can quickly overcome gender bias simply by seeing exactly what the candidates have to offer outside of their expected gender norms. A determined applicant's submission can really have the power to blow all expectations out of the water. 

Overall, by using video as a preliminary screening tool, we can ask more objective questions to mitigate many types of bias. Video allows you to meet every applicant in the same way, and receive answers to the same questions, eliminating bias that would exist in the early interview stages without video. 

Successful companies value diversity, set diversity goals, and strive for diverse candidates to bring a whole range of skills they would otherwise never be able to offer – especially when it comes to establishing an inclusive and understanding work environment. So, get started with some bias training to improve your hiring practices and inform initiatives and diversity metrics for you to set and work towards every day.

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