Although it is common use in Germany to add a photo to one’s application, it is still condemned as unfair and discriminatory.
From a scientific and practical point of view, this argument is unsustainable. The reasons for this have been discussed in our blog fairly often and we have even crafted a white paper on that subject. But the real question is, what do the candidates think? Do they, especially those with migrant backgrounds, want to conceal this type of personal information? Or would they like to reveal more of themselves so they are not simply reduced to the facts on their CV?
A Dutch research group has scientifically approached this issue for the first time and asked: Which type of application, CV or video application, do they perceive as fairer?
The results were clear: candidates with, and without, migrate backgrounds, prefer video applications!
445 study participants rated the fairness of the applications
A total of 445 study participants, with an average age of 32, rated the fairness of the application techniques within a general application training. The participants consisted of different ethnic subgroups: 36% Surinamese, 20% Dutch, 8.5% Turkish, 8.5% Moroccan and the other study participants, 27%, were from Western countries. In Holland, members of the Turkish and Moroccan minorities, in particular, repeatedly report workplace discrimination.
Video Applications popular – especially amongst ethnic minorities
Members of ethnic minorities had significantly higher positive reactions to the video-application format than the researchers had originally assumed. The report highlights:
- Members of the Turkish and Moroccan minorities felt that a video application was fairer than a conventional CV.
- Contrary to their hypothesis, the minority groups had stronger feelings about the benefits of video applicants than the majority groups.
- Variables such as how strongly they identified with their culture or their Dutch language skills had no major influence on how positively they rated the video application. Whereas for the CV, those with strong Dutch language skills perceived it to be fairer.
Individualization desired – anonymity rejected
Previous research has shown that multimedia assessments lead to more positive results than the traditional paper-pencils tests (Potosky & Bobko, 2004). This is supported by this study’s results as well: Applicants find that it is most helpful in the early stages of the applicant process. This is the point when they want to show more of their personal characteristics (e.g. video applications), instead of hiding their individuality (e.g. anonymous applications).
This way they choose what to present to a prospective employer from a selection of their personality, skills and qualifications. They are not reduced to the information on their CV.
Individuality, but not at any price!
The scientists behind the study are very positive about video applications. With all the praise it would be interesting to investigate if video applications are also valuable to the recruiting process.
Of course, such individualization causes confusion: If any candidate can create their own individual video clip – how do you evaluate them? How should a recruiter choose which candidates to interview in the next stage? Does the applicant win who has engaged the director better? How can the videos be compared? Today’s recruiters need to satisfy applicant’s desire for individuality, which can be done with videos, while still being able to make valid decisions.
What was done in the study? Study participants were given advice on their CVs, which are the first selection stage in Dutch recruitment processes. They also each shot a 45-60 second video application. There they presented themselves with some help from application experts. Afterwards, the participants completed questionnaires about both applications where they assessed different aspects of fairness.
Do you want to know how video interviews can enhance fairness in your recruiting and enthuse your candidates? Then you should have a look at our e-book on “Fairness and diversity in recruiting” or drop me a line:
Hiemstra, A. M. F., Derous, E. Serlie, A. W., & Born, M. Ph. (2012). Fairness perceptions of video resumes among ethnically diverse applicants. International Journal of Selection and Assessment, 20(4), 423–433.