Minimising Bias in Online Interviews: The Simple Power of Background Blurring

February 16, 2024

Discover how background blurring in online interviews can help prevent bias and create a fair hiring process.

Why addressing bias in online interviews is crucial

Addressing bias in online interviews is crucial because it ensures that the hiring process gives a fair opportunity to everyone. Bias can creep into interviews in various ways, including through visual cues such as the candidate's background. By acknowledging and actively working to eliminate bias, interviewers can create a more inclusive  environment for all candidates.

Bias in interviews can lead to discriminatory practices, where certain candidates are favoured or disadvantaged based on factors unrelated to their qualifications or skills. This isn't fair and it also hinders organisations from hiring the best talent available. 

Understanding the impact of background bias

Background bias refers to the potential for bias to be influenced by the visual cues present in a candidate's background during an online interview. These cues may include personal items, photographs, or even the overall appearance of the candidate's surroundings.

The impact of background bias can be significant as it can unconsciously influence an interviewer's perceptions and judgments about a candidate. For example, if an interviewer sees certain items or decorations in the background that align with their own preferences or biases, they may subconsciously favour or disfavour the candidate based on these visual cues...and I thought Kermit-the-Frog-Green was a good decision for my wall colour. This can lead to unfair evaluations and decisions that are not based solely on the candidate's qualifications or abilities.

Benefits of background blurring in online interviews

One effective way to address background bias in online interviews is through the use of background blurring on Zoom or Teams.

As part of your pre-interview prep and what you communicate to candidates, it's a good idea to ask them to blur their background during your call. 

It's a really easy and useful tool to promote fairness, objectivity, and inclusivity in the hiring process!

You can find the original study here:

Katie Thomas