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Virtual Assessment: Online Interviews and Beyond

02.02.2022

Nearly two years into the pandemic, most of us will have some experience of virtual assessment. Although the majority of people still say they prefer face-to-face interviewing, there are many benefits to virtual assessment and the evidence suggests that it can be just as good at predicting job performance.

So, let’s consider the effectiveness of virtual assessment. When reviewing the evidence, there are some key points to consider:

  • Does it measure how the candidate will perform in the job?
  • Is this unfairly discriminating against any groups? Is it fair for all?
  • Does the process attract and highlight the correct calibre of candidate?
  • What does the process say about the organisation – are they engaged in the process?

This last point is a really important one.  At our recent event on this topic, Mera Mann (Director of Human Resourcing) highlighted that it has never been more important for employers to embrace a more human approach.  Job seekers, particularly at senior levels, are often searching for greater flexibility and wellbeing.  To attract the best candidates, the organisations need to display their values, a level of employee care and be open to sharing what a future with them looks and feels like.

Flexible working is no longer a ‘nice to have’, the workforce is now fully agile and hybrid working is considered the norm across most industries. Employers need to engineer ways to engage new starters and create onboarding processes that allow real opportunities to foster relationships and encourage collaboration.

Whilst many say they would rather be in the room or face to face with someone, it could be argued that virtual assessment eradicates some unintentional bias.  It could be seen as a ‘purer’ experience.  With no side conversations or break out conversations, there are fewer opportunities to be potentially influenced on candidate performance and scoring.

Initial evidence from a group of graduate employers[1] suggested that a virtual process would level the playing field in terms of diversity and inclusion.  We found however, that there were still issues around quality of broadband and challenges around communication that were exacerbated by potential flaws in technology.  So, whilst the employer has the luxury of seeing more people in less time and at a reduced cost, there are definitely still some improvements that need to be made to ensure an approach that is consistent and positive for all.

KornFerry[2] developed a survey that produced some surprising data. Their study revealed that 168 face to face vs 947 virtual participants in a global organisation, there was no comparable difference between virtual and in-person assessments.  This suggests that virtual assessments in themselves are as effective as face-to-face although this doesn’t factor in some of the other factors that are priorities for employers such as inclusion, employee experience and cost.

One thing is clear, virtual assessments are here to stay.  We are committed to finding and delivering the very best experiences for everyone within the Insight community.  If you would like to discuss how we can enhance your assessment and selection processes, please reach out to us .

[1] Employer learnings from virtual assessment centres | ISE Knowledge hub

[2] Virtual vs. In-Person? Assessments Are Neutral (kornferry.com)

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