The environmental impact of virtual hiring

April 22nd, 2021
HireVue Team

Global warming is one of humanity's most challenging problems of the 21st century.

According to Harvard economist Rebecca Henderson "...much of our [recent] economic growth has come at the expense of the health of the planet. No smart investor would put their money into a firm that was making its money by running down its assets [...] But by focusing almost entirely on GDP growth, we have been implicitly treating our environmental assets as valueless."

The culprit is greenhouse gas emissions, or CO2e. Greenhouse gases act like a blanket over the earth's atmosphere, preventing heat and harmful radiation from being released into outer space. The trapped heat results in the gradual warming of the Earth's surface, which disrupts the ecosystems that have thrived in Earth’s relatively mild climate for millions of years.

"For many people," says Henderson, "including many of the world's leading investors -- climate change is no longer a distant idea that other people need to worry about. It's the creeping feeling that it could be as bad as the pandemic, [yet] there will be no hope for a vaccine."

According to 97 percent of climate scientists, nearly all of the greenhouse gas increase over the last 150 years is due to human activity, primarily from the burning of fossil fuels used to generate electricity, heat, and transportation.

In the business world in recent years, an increasing number of companies have become environmentally aware of how their operations impact global warming, since corporations are ultimately responsible for the buying, selling, producing, and distribution of industrial products.

At HireVue, we believe we can be part of the solution. We have the opportunity to rebuild an economy founded on sustainable environmental practices by replacing unnecessary on-site interviews with environmentally-friendly virtual methods.

The environmental case for virtual interviews

As HireVue celebrated its 15 millionth virtual interview last year (now over 20 million), we decided to build a carbon footprint calculator for concerned clients and candidates that would measure the CO2e emissions of virtual interviewing versus traditional interviewing. The calculator compares the estimated energy output for candidate computer usage (electricity), used for virtual interviews, to the travel mileage (transportation) required for on-site interviews.

In the end, internal analysis estimates that the carbon footprint for 15M interviews has been reduced by 70% because of HireVue's services.

Most of HireVue's CO2e emissions come from recorded interviews (71.1%), followed by interview-based assessments (27.1%), then final, live interviews (6.3%). The use of HireVue's coding assessment, CodeVue, and other game-based assessments, together only account for 1.1% emissions (0.6% and 0.5% respectively). These reduced emissions are equivalent to:

  • transporting 915 Americans and 680 Europeans in a year
  • 25 flights between JFK - LAX AND another 12 flights between London - Rome
  • OR the produced CO2e being absorbed by 300k trees in a year!

Just as important as the environmental impact is the fact that organizations must not trade decision quality or speed for reducing carbon footprint. In fact, quite the opposite is true. By transforming recruiting practices with cutting-edge hiring intelligence, our customers have been able to make better hiring decisions, faster. HireVue customers decrease time to fill up to 90%, increase quality of hire up to 88%, and increase new hire diversity up to 55%.

What's more, using HireVue also increases job retention, as quality decision-making reduces the number of candidates who leave a new position for another one due to poor job fit.

As we rebuild an economy that is, hopefully, even more resilient than what we knew before, we urge more companies to experience the benefits of virtual interviewing. Organizations who do so will enjoy a positive impact on both the environment, and their bottom line.