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Before we dive into the topic of bias, and how it relates specifically to video interviews, it's important to first understand what bias is.
Bias, simply put, is any unfair or unequal treatment of a person based on their membership in a particular group. This can be due to a person's race, gender, age, religion, or any number of other factors.
During the interview process, biases can show up in many forms.
Here are 6 of the most common interview biases:
1. Affinity bias: This is the tendency to hire or work with people who are like us in some way. We might share the same hobbies, come from similar backgrounds, or have the same educational experiences.
2. Confirmation bias: This is the tendency to look for information that confirms our pre-existing beliefs and ignore information that contradicts them.
3. Stereotyping: This is the act of making assumptions about someone based on their membership in a particular group. For example, if we think of women as being bad at math, we might be less likely to hire a woman for a math-related position.
4. Halo/ Horn Effect Bias: This is the tendency to judge someone based on one particular trait that we view as either positive (halo effect) or negative (horn effect). For example, if we think someone is smart, we might also think they are good at their job.
5. First Impression Bias: This is the tendency to form an opinion about someone based on our first meeting with them. This can be due to several factors, including their appearance, body language, and the way they speak.
6. Recency Bias: This is the tendency to give more weight to information that is fresh in our mind and less weight to information that is older.
These biases can have a serious influence on our ability to make fair and objective decisions and can have an impact on the future of the candidate's interview with your company.
When it comes to video interviews, there are two specific ways that bias can creep in.
First, there is the issue of first impressions and appearance. Long before we meet a candidate we might form judgments based on a hard-to-pronounce name, clothing, hairstyles, or another factor that will not affect their ability to do the job.
However, when we meet them in a video interview we have the opportunity to get to know them as a person and realize that their appearance is just one small part of who they are. This is an example of Halo/ Horn effect bias.
Second, there is the issue of body language, accents, and speech. When we meet someone in person or through a video interview, we can pick up on a lot of information through the way they talk and communicate through body language.
We can see if they are nervous or confident, engaged or disengaged, sincere or insincere.
Often we're most confident with people who talk, act, look like, or have similar traits to us. This is an example of affinity bias.When it comes to video interviews, bias can manifest itself in several different ways. However, there are steps you can take to mitigate the impact of bias and ensure that you're making objective decisions about your candidates.
Here are 4 tips to help reduce bias in video interviews:
1. Be aware of your own biases: Harvard collaborated with Project Implicit to make a great free test available to anyone who wants to begin working on their personal biases.
2. Create a structured interview process: By having set questions that you ask every candidate, you can avoid the trap of confirmation bias and ensure that you're getting the most accurate information possible.
3. Use interview intelligence software: Software like Pillar can help you to identify interviewer patterns in the data that might be indicative of bias. This data can help you coach interviewers and teams within your organization to be more objective when interviewing.
4. Train your team: Make sure that everyone who is involved in the interview process is aware of personal biases, and has access to the tools and training to eliminate them from the interview process.
Despite the many advantages of video interviews, there are also a few potential drawbacks that companies should be aware of.
Wifi issues, headphone connection issues, background noise, blinking battery symbols, video conferencing, and scheduling issues.
If any of these things go wrong, it can lead to a frustrating interview experience for both the interviewer and the candidate. Especially when connections are slow and people feel like they're talking over one another or interrupting.
Second, many people are not used to them.
Video interviews are only a few years old, which means that we're still getting used to the idea of talking to someone on a screen instead of in person. This can lead to awkwardness and unease on both sides.
Third, they can be less personal.
In a face-to-face interview, it's easier to build rapport, make a connection, and get to know someone on a personal level. The problem with video interviews is that this can be more difficult.
Body language and social cues are harder to read on video. Because we can't see the candidate's body language or read their social cues, it can be difficult to get an accurate sense of their personality and ability to communicate.
There are advantages and disadvantages of virtual interviews. Most of them can be mitigated with a well-designed hiring process, preparation, patience, and effective communication.
When interviewing someone virtually, it is important to keep in mind a few key things.
A great virtual interview starts with preparation.
You've already screened this person, so as a refresher, 10- 15 minutes before the interview, go through their resume, LinkedIn profile, and portfolio (if included) and compare their experience with the job posting.
While you're on their LinkedIn profile, make notes of any interesting things you can use as ice-breakers. Mutual interests or connections, for example.
Open any tools or interview intelligence software that you will use during the interview and make sure that you have a good connection. This means having a strong wifi signal and making sure that your headphones and microphone are connected and working properly.
Connection issues can make people on both sides of the screen feel frustrated and can lead to a poor interview experience, so we want to solve this problem before it becomes one.
How to interview someone:
1. Introduce yourself and refer to your ice-breaker to kick off the conversation.
2. Start with some light small talk to build connection and rapport.
3. Then, set an agenda for the interview.
4. Introduce your company and the open role.
5. Review the candidate's experience and skills in a semi-structured question format.
6. Go deeper into their past performance with the second round of questions.
7. Leave time for candidate questions.
8. Summarize the next steps and follow-up plan.4
9. Thank them for their time and sign off.
Don't forget to "care."
This sounds ambiguous but caring about the candidate and being genuinely interested in helping them find the best role for them will go a long way.
This can't be faked.
If they feel like you're on their side and want to help them, they will be more likely to open up and give you the information that you need to make an informed hiring decision.
You may be on the other side of the ocean, but if you show a candidate genuine warmth and concern, it will come through on the screen.
Two weeks ago, I got onto a virtual meeting immediately after updating the software on my MacBook. As I logged into the meeting my headphones and microphone wouldn't connect to Zoom.
It took almost 5 minutes to troubleshoot and reset settings so that everything connected properly.
Things like this happen, and sometimes we can't predict them, but they can derail an interview and ruin a candidate's experience if we're not prepared.
Here are some Zoom interview tips to make sure that your interviews go smoothly
:Check your equipment in advance.
Make sure that your microphone and headphones are working properly and that you have a strong wifi connection. It's also a good idea to test the lighting in the room to make sure that you're not too dark.
A great zoom interview background tip is to sit facing a bright light source with a dark wall to your back. That way you can be seen clearly on video.
If you're using Zoom as your video conferencing tool during interviews, don't forget to download the Pillar app.
With features like question prompts to keep the interview on track, candidate feedback, and video transcription so you can refer back to the conversation, Pillar is the only tool that you need to streamline your virtual interview experience.
If you're a hiring manager or recruiter looking to make better hires, check out Pillar's interview intelligence software powered by AI.
At Pillar, we help companies hire more effectively, efficiently, and equitably. Schedule a demo today!