Unconscious bias with Video CVs

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Last seen: 7 months 2 weeks ago
Joined: 07/12/2017 - 15:35
Unconscious bias with Video CVs

Hi all,


I'd love to hear your thoughts on James Ballard's recent announcement (https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:6290836887049371648/).


When moving from traditional written CVs to video CVs, what issues or concerns might that throw up?

For example, I'd suggest that unconscious bias could be a factor.  It might favour 'introverts', or those who have more client facing, outgoing roles.  It could affect older candidates who don't have the technology.  It could widen the potential for racial discrimination, or at least discrimination based on looks.  It might even favour those without mental health issues.

Can we mitigate those potential risks, in some way?

Do the benefits of video CVs outweigh the issues with written ones?

Or is it just time for the recruitment/OD world to catch up with the pace of tech change?

Justin Ukrainski
Last seen: 7 months 1 week ago
Joined: 07/13/2017 - 10:45

Video CVs was the first project I developed on my Org Psych Masters a few years ago. The brief was to create a business idea that helped Birkbeck students in their employment opportunities.

Whilst we were certainly conscious of bias and discrimination (my friend Kama will be along shortly to discuss it in more depth - she wrote her dissy on it) - our argument was that because it gave candidates the opportunity to demonstrate certain skills - like communication- it could affect decisions positively. Someone with a foreign sounding name for example may be discriminated against on a paper CV - but demonstrating their skills on video may moderate that.

Ill try and dig out the version we cobbled together for the presentation.

Last seen: 2 months 2 weeks ago
Joined: 11/25/2016 - 13:49

I'd love to see the results of the dissertation.

Last seen: 7 months 6 days ago
Joined: 07/19/2017 - 20:17

As Justin mentioned above he devleoped the idea of Video CV as  a way for Birkbeck students to stand out from other CVs/applications. I've deciced to reseach Video CV in more depth. 

When we are deciding to use video CV in recruitment process, it's crucial to understand recruiters' and candidates' perspective. Video CVs allows candidates to present more dynamic information such as auditory and verbal information, visual and non-verbal, which is very different to paper CVs but similar to interviews. Additionally, the video CV is a self-reporting technique where candidates can talk about his/her skills and knowledge through the use of multimedia. Hence, some may argue that the video CV is a modern use of multimedia when applying for a job. Indeed, presenting an applicant’s energy level and communication skills, was easier to show in video CVs.  Ethnic minority candidates prefer more personalised ways of applying for a position, such as a video CV. 

Just to give a little bit of background in terms of creation of the actual Video CV: two identical video CVs were produced and performed by the same female actor to control for confounding variables such as age, attractiveness and gender. The script included the applicant’s name, skills and professional background. The two video CVs were performed with different accents: an actress playing Amelie Caron spoke with a French accent and as Rosie Smith with an English accent. Recruiters received one of the video CVs either with an English or French accent.

The previous research has concentrated on candidates preception which of course is valid, however, recuiter is the person who makes the decision if the candidate will be invited to the next stage. This study assessed recruiters’ (n=94) fairness perception and actual judgmental bias, as well their impression of video CVs.

Recruiters’ perceived video CVs as less fair compared with paper CVs. However, because Video CVs are a relatively new tool used in the screening process, recruiters’ low fairness perceptions of them could be due to their lack of familiarity with it 

Results on recruiters’ perceptions of video CVs as an innovative tool suggest that video CVs are useful. In the current study recruiters perceived video CVs to be a better tool at predicting a candidate’s job performance. This was not surprising since recruiters have consistently have considered interpersonal and social skills, as well as confidence as essential for professionals to be successful.

The second part of this study addressed recruiters’ actual job discrimination. Despite equal qualifications, it was found that the candidate with English accent was considered to be more suitable for the Personal Assistant position, compared to the candidate with the French accent. These results support prior research on non-native accents in English as a cause for employment discrimination and judgmental bias against foreign-accented speech. Because of growing discriminatory and legal concerns regarding the ethnic diversity of the workforce, it is crucial to understand recruiters’ perception of video CVs to avoid an accusation of discrimination.

It is important to notice that results suggest that in recruiters’ opinions video CVs give an applicant the opportunity to present what they can do, in contrast to the paper CV, and that if recruiters are impressed with the applicant’s video CV they are more likely to invite him/her for a job interview.  Consequently, the knowledge about recruiters’ perceptions of the effectiveness of video CVs in recruitment is beneficial, for an organization as well as for the job applicants. We just have to be aware of the unconscious bias.