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Overcome the key challenges of transitioning to a fully virtual assessment centre experience

May 28, 2023
Sova Assessment

We recently co-hosted a virtual roundtable event with The FIRM, where we explored how to overcome the key challenges of transitioning to a fully virtual assessment centre experience. Many organisations have been forced to transition quickly, away from in-person assessment events to a fully virtual hiring process in the light of the Covid-19 pandemic. Making the transition successfully without losing the integrity of the hiring process requires a partnership between tried and tested assessment methodology and digital technology…and perhaps a bit of bravery along the way to test and learn at pace!

We were delighted to be joined at the virtual roundtable by one of our newest clients, Energus, who have been using our digital assessment centre platform. Energus is responsible for managing and delivering a number of different future talent programmes on behalf of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) including the training programme, ‘nucleargraduates’, a scheme aimed at finding the brightest and best young talent to help shape the future of this important industry. The final selection stage has always been delivered face-to-face, but in the light of Covid-19 they were faced with the challenge of how to retain rigour and fairness in their decision-making in a virtual setting as well as providing a great experience for candidates and assessors. Anna Byrne, Graduate Recruitment & Selection Lead was able to share her experiences first-hand with other organisations preparing to make the transition themselves.

During the roundtable discussion we explored a number of key considerations for any organisation planning on hosting virtual assessment centres including technology, running group exercises, candidate experience, data security and compliance and diversity. With careful planning and preparation, a virtual assessment centre can be a highly cost-effective, efficient and engaging experience for all. Furthermore, feedback from our clients indicates that whilst assessors may have been initially cautious about the virtual experience, they quickly grew confident in the process and reaped the rewards of less administration, automatic scoring of data and candidate feedback reports. Interestingly, the virtual assessment centre delivers additional benefit from a social mobility perspective, as candidates no longer need to pay their travel expenses up front, what to wear or the nuances of etiquette on the day.

You can read more about the event in our reports which contains practical hints and tips for preparing and running virtual assessment centres, including the following key learnings:

  • Candidate is centre of everything – candidate experience is fundamental to making this work
  • Ensure you deliver a human experience despite the lack of physical interaction
  • Candidate and assessor briefings are KEY!
  • Create a ‘Concierge’ room where candidates can return to, ask questions if they’re having problems with any aspect of the event
  • Run an informal drop-in room – with current employees, trainees, key contacts
  • Planning and preparation is key – perhaps more so that for a physical AC
  • Tech check is a must for both assessors and candidates!
  • Emergency phone number – for candidates/assessors during AC day if any issues arise.
  • Have one facilitator to manage the assessors and one for the candidates
  • Do oversubscribe for virtual assessment centres as you tend to get dropouts just make sure you have extra assessors on hand in case of drop outs!

For additional support and guidance please visit our Virtual Assessment Centre hub where you’ll be able to access a platform demo, preparation checklist and listen to a webinar.

If you’d like to hear more about how Energus made the transition to a fully virtual assessment centre, read their story.

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