Beware of the bias behind TikTok’s resumes – TechCrunch

Social media has served as a launching pad for success for almost as long as it has existed. Stories of going viral from a self-produced YouTube video and then getting a recording deal established the mythology of social media platforms. Since then, social media has steadily moved away from text-based formats and towards visual media like video sharing.

For most people, a social media video won’t be a ticket to fame, but in recent months there have been an increasing number of stories of people hired based on videos posted on TikTok. Even LinkedIn has embraced video resources on user profiles with the recent addition of the “Cover Story” feature, which allows workers to supplement their profiles with a video about themselves.

As technology continues to evolve, is there room for a world where your main resume is a video on TikTok? And if so, what kinds of unintended consequences and implications could this have on the workforce?

Why is TikTok trending for jobs?

In recent months, job vacancies in the United States have reached an all-time high of 10.1 million. For the first time since the start of the pandemic, available jobs have exceeded available workers. Employers struggle to attract qualified candidates to fill positions, and with that in mind, it makes sense that many recruiters turn to social platforms like TikTok and video resumes to find talent.

But the scarcity of workers doesn’t negate the importance of finding the right employee for a role. It is especially important for recruiters to find candidates with the skills that match their company’s goals and strategy. For example, as more organizations take a data-driven approach to running their business, they need more people with analytical and machine learning skills to help them make sense of the data they need. ‘they collect.

Recruiters have been open to innovation where it helps them find these new candidates. Recruiting is no longer the manual process it used to be, with HR teams sorting through piles of paper CVs and formal cover letters to find the right candidate. They embraced the power of online connections as LinkedIn rose to prominence and even figured out how to use third-party job sites like GlassDoor to help them attract promising candidates. Behind the scenes, many recruiters use advanced cloud software to sort incoming resumes to find the candidates who best match their job descriptions. But all of these methods still rely on the traditional CV or textual profile as the core of any application.

Social media videos provide candidates with the opportunity to demonstrate soft skills that may not be immediately apparent in written materials, such as verbal communication and presentation skills. They are also a way for recruiters to learn more about the candidate’s personality in order to determine how he would fit into the culture of the company. While this may be appealing to many, are we prepared to suffer the consequences?

We’re not ready for the close-up

While innovation in recruiting is a big part of the future of work, the hype around TikTok and video resumes may actually set us back. While it offers candidates a new way to sell themselves opportunities, it also comes with potential pitfalls that candidates, recruiters, and business leaders should be aware of.

The very element that gives video summaries their potential also presents the biggest problems. The video inevitably highlights the person behind the skills and accomplishments. As recruiters form their first opinions on a candidate, they will be faced with information that they usually don’t see until much later in the process, especially if they belong to protected classes due to their race, disability or gender.

Concerns about diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) have gained renewed attention over the past two years amid heightened awareness and scrutiny of how employers allocate or not the priority to diversity in the workplace.

But video-testing candidates could erase any progress made by introducing more opportunities for unconscious, or even conscious, bias. This could create a dangerous situation for companies if they do not act with caution, as it could expose them to consequences such as damage to their reputation or even something as serious as lawsuits for discrimination.

A company with a poor diversity record may have seen candidate videos used against them in court. Recruiters reviewing the videos may not even be aware of the impact of candidates’ race or gender on their decisions. For this reason, many companies that I have seen implementing a video option in their recruiting feed do not allow their recruiters to watch the video until the recruiting process is complete.

But even as companies tackle the most pressing issues in ED&I by dealing with prejudice against these protected classes, by accepting videos, there are still diversity issues in less protected classes such as neurodiversity and socio-social status. economic. A candidate with exemplary skills and a solid background may not present himself well through a video, which may appear inconvenient to the recruiter watching the video. Even if this impression is not relevant to the position, it could still influence the recruiter’s position on hiring.

In addition, applicants from affluent backgrounds can have access to better equipment and software to record and edit a compelling video CV. Other candidates can’t, resulting in videos that may not look as polished or professional to the recruiter. This creates another barrier to the opportunities they can access.

As we find ourselves at an important crossroads in how we handle ED&I in the workplace, it is important that employers and recruiters find ways to reduce bias in the processes they use to find and hire employees. While innovation is the key to moving our industry forward, we need to make sure our top priorities are not compromised.

Not left on the cutting room floor

Despite all of these concerns, social media platforms, especially video-based ones, have created new opportunities for users to expand their personal brands and connect with potential employment opportunities. It is possible to use these new systems for the benefit of both job seekers and employers.

The first step is to make sure that there is always a place for a traditional CV or textual profile in the recruiting process. While recruiters can get all the information they need about a candidate’s abilities from video, some people will naturally feel more comfortable staying off-camera. Hiring processes should allow people to do their best, whether in writing or on video. And that means accepting that the best foothold may not be yours.

Instead, applicants and companies should consider using videos as a venue for former colleagues or managers to endorse the candidate. External endorsement can do a lot more good for an application than just stating your own strengths, because it shows that someone else believes in your abilities as well.

Video resumes are all the rage right now because they are easier to create and share than ever before and because companies are in desperate need of strong talent. But before we get carried away by the novelty of this new way of sharing our credentials, we need to make sure that we are preparing for success.

The goal of any new recruiting technology should be to make it easier for candidates to find opportunities where they can shine without creating new barriers. There are serious issues that need to be addressed before video resumes can achieve this, and it is important that employers consider the repercussions before they undermine the success of their DE&I efforts.

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