Video vs. Phone Interviews: Accessibility & Eliminating Bias

March 17, 2022
Darrian Mikell
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The traditional interview process can leave room for implicit biases. That is why many companies are looking for asynchronous interview tools to help their companies meet diversity goals.

When recruiters want to incorporate asynchronous interview tools into their hiring cycle, they have two choices — one-way phone interviews or one-way video interviews.

One-way phone interviews are shown to provide more accessibility than video interviews and reduce bias in the hiring process. Recruiters need to understand how each interview method impacts their DEI efforts to find the best hiring tool for them.

What Is An Asynchronous Interview?

Synchronous interviews involve a recruiter and a candidate being in conversation simultaneously. Asynchronous interviews, or one-way interviews, mean each side responds at separate times. Both one-way video interviews or one-way phone interviews allow a recruiter to review more candidates than they would typically be able to with a traditional interview. 

Once the candidate receives the recruiter recorded questions, their interview is self-guided. The candidate can answer these pre-recorded questions at any time that is convenient to them. Once a recruiter receives their response, the recruiter can listen or watch the interview at any point. 

While technology has dramatically evolved to make asynchronous interviews a seamless process, recruiters must choose between one-way phone or one-way video interviews. These two types of asynchronous interview methods hold similarities but create vastly different impacts on companies attempting to eliminate bias.

What is Biased Hiring? 

Biased hiring happens when a recruiter either hires a candidate based on an unbacked positive opinion of them or disqualifies a candidate based on a perceived negative opinion of them. Everyone has their own implicit biases that form throughout their lifetime. These implicit biases can grow to impact an entire company’s hiring decisions. 

There are layered and intersecting biases a person may have that can affect their hiring decisions. This is despite the fact that these factors are irrelevant to a candidate’s job performance. 

Here are a few types of bias that recruiters should be aware of at all times:

  • Gender Bias - Sexism and narrow gender roles often contribute to biased recruiter decisions. Some may see women as unable to perform in leadership or perceive men as more capable — despite gender having no correlation to job performance. A person may prefer a specific gender because the position calls for traits that are often seen as more “masculine” like leadership or more “feminine” traits like administration and organization.
  • Race and Ethnicity Bias - Racist and nationalist bias derived from a subconscious (or conscious) prejudice of a person's skin color, heritage, or first language can greatly impact an organization's future. 
  • Name Bias - If a name is longer and more challenging to read or pronounce on an application, it can be perceived as “ethnic” and falls under racial bias.
  • Generational - A recruiter may form an opinion of a candidate based on their age. They may perceive older candidates as more experienced or younger candidates as better with technology.  
  • Religious - If a candidate believes in a different religion than the recruiter, the recruiter may form a negative opinion, consciously or unconsciously, based on nationalism, racism, and/or xenophobia.  
  • Sexual Orientation - A recruiter may assume a candidate's sexual identity and negatively perceive them based on it or want to hire them as their identity may be similar to the recruiter’s. 

Unfortunately, these biases are often unexamined and can lead to a homogenized workplace. If an organization doesn’t take action, implicit bias can go unquestioned and continue to influence the hiring process. 

While a person’s implicit biases are often not purposeful, it is still crucial to be aware of them.

Awareness of one’s bias is key to making workplaces more diverse. As recruiters and hiring managers begin to recognize their own biases, they can analyze how it affects their decisions. Then they can make decisions based on what is best for their companies rather than their bias. According to the World Economic Forum, as workplaces become more diverse, their innovation increases by 20% and their innovation revenue increases by 19%. 

Are Video or Phone Interviews Better in Preventing Bias?  

Both one-way video and one-way phone interviews provide candidates with a consistent interview experience. No matter the candidate, they will be asked the same questions and given the same opportunity to answer them. However, an automated phone interview reduces appearance bias by nature.

When a recruiter sees a candidate's appearance, they can be influenced by a myriad of biases. With a one-way phone interview, the recruiter doesn’t see a candidate's face or demeanor and can focus on the candidate's experience and skills. 

In one-way phone interviews, a recruiter doesn’t have the chance to subconsciously judge or discriminate against candidates, inherently providing a more diverse talent pool. This way, recruiters can consciously make more moral decisions. When companies are more diverse, they heighten their innovation, increase their performance, and improve their employee retention. In fact, companies that build a more diverse team see a 22% lower turnover rate

Do Video or Phone Interviews Offer More Accessibility? 

When interview processes become more accessible, recruiters can widen their talent pool and heighten their chance of finding the perfect hire. Asynchronous interviews are the best way to make interviews more accessible. Whether a person does not have means of transportation, they can still easily access on-demand interviews.

Automated phone interviews, however, take accessibility a step further. Some candidates may not have access to the internet or a webcam to conduct a video interview. Other candidates may have a disability that prevents them from easily using such technology.

One-way phone interviews remove many technological barriers which make them more accessible. 

Your perfect candidate may be someone with a busy schedule, a stay-at-home parent, or someone without access to Wi-Fi. With phone interviews, a candidate doesn't have to worry about their kid appearing in the video background or about their housemates slowing down the Wi-Fi. 

Because phone interviews take away appearance biases, candidates start from an even playing field. In video interviews, candidates have to be dressed up, worry about their background appearing professional enough, and be mindful of their demeanor. A one-way phone interview gets rid of this stress. A top-tier candidate may not have access to a “neutral” background.

Phone interviews are more accessible to every economic class. 

Increase Diversity With Qualifi 

The right hiring tool can make your interview process accessible and promote diversity. Qualifi’s on-demand interviews are audio-based, immediately eliminating appearance bias and providing accessibility to more candidates. Recruiters can record their questions, and Qualfi can simultaneously invite hundreds of candidates to participate in an asynchronous interview. 

Qualifi is the perfect hiring tool to help mitigate bias. When recruits listen to candidates' responses, they can focus on a candidate's experience and answers instead of their appearance. Qualifi levels the playing field for every candidate and helps recruiters view every interview objectively. Reap the benefits of a more diverse and accessible workplace today with Qualifi. 

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