Checklist for running a successful Virtual Assessment Centre

Over the last few months we’ve seen resourcing teams pivot at speed to a fully virtual assessment centre experience for candidates and assessors. With social distancing set to persist for the foreseeable future, are we witnessing a more permanent change in the way organisations recruit talent?

For many organisations, the early stages of the recruitment process are already managed virtually, up until the final in-person assessment centre, which typically a labour intensive and paper-based process. In pivoting to a fully virtual experience, one of the main challenges to overcome is whether you can still make effective hiring decisions remotely?

At Sova our digital assessment centre technology allows you to manage complex schedules, candidate instructions and exercises and for assessors, scores and notes can be input into the system directly for fast, accurate and effective analysis. In the light of the pandemic, we quickly integrated video conferencing, so assessment centres can be run completely virtually with multiple candidates and assessors. Having worked closely with our clients to make an effective transition, we wanted to share ten important, practical lessons:

  1. Test the process- for most (candidates and assessors alike), a virtual AC platform will be a new experience. Trial and test the process before going live.
  2. Consider different scenarios – think through what you will do if things go wrong on the day e.g. a candidate’s camera stops working, or internet connection is lost.
  3. IT & security settings – check with your IT teams to determine if there are any restrictions in place around video conferencing technology
  4. Clear briefing and communication – communications to candidates and assessors is key to ensuring the smooth running of the VAC, so that candidates arrive prepared and assessors know what to do.
  5. Support rooms – consider a virtual ‘staff room’ where a facilitator is on hand to deal with any queries. For candidates, an ‘online concierge’ in a separate hang out room is available to provide support.
  6. Group size – in a virtual setting, consider limiting the group size to be manageable e.g. 5-6
  7. Candidate experience – virtual doesn’t have to mean distant, think about online food vouchers for lunch; using senior managers to do a welcome intro and give them the chance to talk to existing grads about life at your organisation.
  8. Make best use of technology – many of the video conferencing technologies have useful functions for running virtual assessment centres such as collaborative whiteboards
  9. Capitalise on efficiencies – in transitioning to a virtual assessment there may be some elements of the process which can be completed by candidates ahead of event, helping to make best use of time.
  10. Make your candidates as comfortable as possible – don’t underestimate the amount of time you will need to spend reassuring candidates about the virtual assessment process! As it always, the VAC is a brand building opportunity, so how you treat your candidates is extremely important.

There’s no doubt we will be challenged to pivot to new ways of working in the coming months, but that doesn’t mean we have to compromise on quality of decision-making, fairness, candidate experience or efficiency. Indeed, there are opportunities to deliver significant time and cost savings at a time when budgets and resources are under significant pressure through the combination use of best practice methodology and the latest digital technology.

To find out more about running virtual assessment centres you can listen to an on-demand webinar and if you would like to see a demo on the virtual assessment centre platform, get in touch.