Everyone’s talking about diversity and equal opportunity. All job applicants having the same chance to make it through the recruitment process, no matter if they’re Turkish or German, male or female, pretty or not. Has this wish become a reality?
In fact, there’s still a huge lack of objective decision-making in HR departments, despite all conversations about diversity. The fact that candidates should only be selected based on their skills, knowledge and experience doesn’t mean this is put into practice. But how can you achieve a fair selection process? What methods are suitable?
Especially when it comes to video recruiting, there are a lot of prejudices: “falsification of the first impression”, “the attractiveness of the candidate influenced the HR manager”, “candidates are not rated in a fair way in the video interview”. People think traditional methods such as CV screening or the familiar telephone interview are simply better.
Our study shows that this thinking is wrong — in fact the complete opposite is the case. Asynchronous video interviews demonstrably support a fair, discrimination free and objective personnel selection process.
Prof. Matthias Ziegler has held the Chair for Diagnostics at the Psychological Institute of the Humboldt University in Berlin since 2008 and was responsible for the implementation of the study. Together with two colleagues he examined to what extent the interview suite, viasto’s competency-based video interview software, was fair. Over 200 participants took part to find out whether objective decisions could be made with asynchronous video interviews.
You can download the white paper on the study here.
We’re pleased to be able to share Professor Ziegler’s assessment of the study with you (the original is available on our German blog).
viasto : Prof. Ziegler, what did you find most interesting about the study?
MZ : Above all, the results. They took me by surprise. It’s amazing that the fairness of the video evaluations was so high overall. Basically, there was absolutely no distorting effect caused by the gender or immigration background of a candidate. The study participants received only brief instructions before starting the experiment, and nobody was given detailed training [to allow them to address discrimination issues] . Nevertheless, they assessed the candidates’ performances soundly and were not distracted by other external influences such as the “foreign” appearance of an applicant.
That would certainly have been different in a face-to-face interview or by analysing their CV and motivation letter.
viasto : You had more than 200 participants in the study. What was their reaction to this selection method?
MZ : Everyone had a lot of fun when evaluating the interviews — the participants really enjoyed working with the time-shifted video interview method. And the principle is really easy to understand. Also, you can view a video as often as you want, which also makes it easier for the layperson to evaluate it. Many participants found it fascinating that this kind of aptitude testing exists and that such a thing is now possible.
viasto : Yes, we’re familiar with this reaction — the interview suite is still a relatively new method for personnel selection. In your opinion, where do you think this will lead — what does aptitude testing need to accomplish in the coming years? Also, with regard to diversity issues?
MZ : With increasing technological advances and improved systems, methods of aptitude testing are becoming more efficient and standardised, through which they’re tending to become more professional. This is a step towards objectivity. I believe that we also need a shift in focus in terms of competencies and requirements. We will need to select more and more according to basic cognitive ability and personality. It will become increasingly less common to find candidates whose skills and abilities fit the specific requirements for a position at the time of their assessment.
viasto : And what does that mean for HR managers?
MZ : We will increasingly need to consider the selection process from a personnel development perspective. But that also means that we need to use other tools.
viasto : That brings us back to the study again. Was there something, in terms of the outcome, which was surprising from your point of view?
MZ : As I said, for me it was quite unexpected that we managed to achieve these results with people who had never had anything to do with personnel diagnostics. That was impressive.
viasto : Let’s play devil’s advocate for a moment. The world managed perfectly well without the interview suite, so what does a time-shifted video interview really provide in comparison to other selection methods?
MZ : Well, we managed to live without electricity in earlier times, too… and today it’s far better to live with it, right? Competency-based and time-shifted video interviews are simply a process improvement for personnel selection. And we definitely need this. With the number of suitable candidates steadily decreasing, we are in the challenging position of finding candidates who meet ever more complex requirements. The importance of a good pre-selection is increasing.
As a HR manager, I have to think carefully about who I actually can and should exclude from the recruitment process. Using such a structured interview process as provided by the interview suite it’s pretty much perfect. The values for candidate quality that we’ve received from these video interviews definitely promise higher success rates in the subsequent selection steps. And the success rate in one step is always the basis for the next step. That makes it easier to achieve better results in the next steps with other selection tools.
viasto : We can surmise that psychology professors will be pleased with these statements. On the whole, for HR managers this means that the probability of keeping the best candidates in the process increases. Professor Ziegler — thank you very much for the interview!