Async Journal

How Does Asynchronous Hiring Reduce Discrimination?

Asynchronous hiring
"If you are human, you are biased." — Howard J. Ross said. Therefore, let's agree from the very first lines: we are all biased, and unfortunately, we will not soon overcome this evolutionarily. But, we are all developing and trying to be better, so let's take something more positive as the main thesis. What about “Less biases better karma”? Accepting biases’ impacts on our thinking is the first step to reducing it within ourselves.

The difficulties of women, older people, racial minorities, and LGBTQ people still exist in the working world. To make sure of such calculable things as the opportunity and wage gaps are around, read PayScale’s “The State of the Gender Pay Gap 2020”, just to remember how prevalent such a simple problem is.

However, we can hardly help such companies to get on the right track. This is beyond our power. But we can definitely help companies that have already made diversity a part of their company culture, and also see the great importance of equality and openness, to improve the hiring stage for their justice & objectivity efforts. We are here to tell you how asynchronous hiring can make your recruiting, among other things, less discriminatory, more fair and even bring you the best employees. The formula is simple:

Less biases better karma… and candidates.

1. What's good for jazz isn't good for hiring

When you record your opening interview video for all potential candidates and send them the same set of questions with the same intonation and mood, you start everyone on an equal stage.

Live interviews are mostly improvisation, but what's good for jazz isn't necessarily good for hiring. A spontaneous conversation may go in many different ways, differently for each candidate, that means it prevents you from effectively comparing candidates and finding the best one. What if you missed the question that would help the candidate to open up? What if you were tired and annoyed? We are not saying that being tired means being purposely biased; we are all human beings. We are only saying that it is possible to reduce all these "human elements", at least to a certain extent. Personalization, live communication is fine, but in this step, it can only hurt. 

Experienced employers and recruiters advise conducting structured interviews instead of standard, unstructured ones, which might be extremely biasing and unfair (read more about structured interviews' superiority in this article). Recommendations for conducting unbiased interviews usually include:
- drawing up a clear plan of questions,
- strictly following them in order,
- and even banning candidate questions until the end of this list, as they can affect the remaining questions and the employer's impartiality. 

By and large, the tips come down to robotizing the interviewer. Isn't it better to record a live video interview for candidates than to try to repeat the same thing identically over and over again?

2. Multi-subjectivity is almost objectivity

The fact is that your notes on the interview are also subjective, because this is only your personal (read: biased, sorry) view of the specialist, their skills and potential. But! If the interview is not an offline or Zoom meeting, but a candidate's recorded video response, you can:
- go back to it and check your first impression,
- share it with any stakeholder,
- see your colleagues’ assessments, their comments under candidates’ videos,
- get a better view of your candidates and validate your recruitment decision. 

All together that means asynchronous interviewing as a part of asynchronous hiring helps to build a transparent hiring process, which in turn causes reducing personal biases. 

Documentation → transparency →

higher objectivity ✔️

3. Hidden gems finally shine!

Do you know that studies estimate introverts make up 40-50% of the general population? That means about half of your potential candidates are introverts.

You don't need to be a psychologist to understand that stressful situations, like interviews, are much harder for them. They are less likely to change jobs and respond to job openings because they know that interviews follow next. First impressions about introverts are mostly mistaken — they may look confused, unsure, unprofessional, however, it isn’t an accurate reflection of who your introvert-candidate is. 

The best way to not miss out on half of your candidates and get a more truthful impression of them is to offer a different experience, and asynchronous interviews are just what they need. Candidates can choose a comfortable time and place to record the video answers with no need for them to feel under pressure and showcase their strengths.

We gave an example of introverts, but you can imagine how asynchronous interviews can help people with stutters or mental disorders cope with the interview stage and also help you find valuable employees who may have been hidden from you before.

4. Preventive measures against time zone discrimination

Studies show that diverse teams are more likely to come up with more creative solutions. Since creativity is a vital resource in the modern business world, you need to strive for that advantage by hiring people with diverse backgrounds.

Often, the very talent you need lives on the other side of the earth. Fortunately, companies with distributed teams have successfully learned how to set up processes correctly to benefit from that. For example, a distributed development team allows the process not to stop literally 24/7, or a support team may be available 24/7 due to time zone differences. But time zones can be a problem for hiring, especially for those who are just starting to hire globally. But think — it makes no sense to schedule an interview at night for you and in the early morning for the candidate if you can just use asynchronous communication and asynchronous video interviews. After all, working communication between you will also be asynchronous, so why not immediately reproduce it and kind of "check connection"?

Wrapping up

The asynchronous approach to hiring allows you to make the first step of the interview identical for everyone, documents all communication with the candidate and makes hiring transparent, pumps your company full of inclusion and diversity, and also erases not only geographical but also time zone boundaries. Seems worthy enough to try. 

So… Take care of your karma!