When Needs Must: Moving Talent Assessment to the Virtual Space

April 15, 2020 Elise Ascencio

Published on April 15th 2020


We are all fast becoming used to a more virtual way of keeping in touch with friends and family, nurturing customer and business relationships and learning and developing ourselves professionally.

While hiring may have stalled for some companies, for others, recruitment continues. Business continuity is important.

The challenge they now face is how to get to know a candidate and make the right hiring decision when not able to interview in-person or meet at an assessment day.

There are some good examples of how the larger technology companies have tackled this:

  • Amazon cancelled most of its in-person interviews, instead setting up virtual interview portals so that candidates can connect with recruiters, complete the necessary documents and take part in video conference-based interviews.
  • Google conducted interviews via Google Hangouts and a videoconferencing service – or allowing candidates to reschedule if they wanted to.  

We already have a number of clients making use of our video assessment, vidAssess-AI and our paperless assessment center platform, enAC, so we know the pitfalls, how best to translate assessment to a virtual setting and how to get up and running quickly.

This experience has been vital; companies now are needing to make a smooth transition to virtual assessment with often stretched or depleted HR teams.

Client Story: Moving Face-To-Face Assessment to a World of Virtual Assessment

Let me share this story of our client – a global financial services company. The firm typically assesses 7,500 graduate applicants online before inviting 80 of the best candidates to an in-person assessment center consisting of an escape room group exercise, an interview and a case study analysis task.

With the in-person no longer possible, we helped adapt their assessment design to make its entire assessment center virtual. The escape room exercise had to be removed meaning that the group assessments needed to be more critically assessed.

The assessment day itself became 100% virtual; timetabled and hosted through our paperless assessment center platform, enAC, and supported group video interviews via a video platform using its breakout room functionalities  .

The firm has two graduate programs (business development and investment) each with a specifically designed candidate assessment path. Both streams are given access to the system prior to the assessment day to carry out some pre-assessment tasks and get familiar with the system.

Business development candidates bring a prepared presentation to the assessment day to present and take part in a group discussion. They then have a further 30 minutes to review more case study content and are interviewed about this. The investment stream candidates also make use of the individual case study but take part in a group discussion before each person prepares a short one minute presentation followed by an interview.

This is all made possible by working with the client to adapt the assessment design, timetable it to run automatically through enAC and use a video platform with good functionality. The final assessment day needed to be capable of running in multiple time zones as candidates and assessors join from around the world. The virtual solution means that assessors are able to interact with and evaluate the candidates and the candidates are able to discuss with each other during the group case study exercise.

To get this virtual assessment designed and up and running took less than 2 weeks.

The client loved what we had done – and of course were seen to be agile and innovative by their candidates. Indeed, the client commented further by feeding back that it looked “so much more professional having moved virtual!” The first of the assessment sessions has gone smoothly and exactly as planned.

The current requirement for social distancing was the prompt this client needed to move its assessment to a virtual environment. For a while the hiring team had known it had wanted to make this move, but there were always other projects on which to focus. The accelerated need for digital communication and the necessity of finding a way forward gave the project the impetus to make it happen.

If you would like to learn more about how we could support your assessment moving to the virtual space, then get in touch.

You may also like to get some tips on how to manage virtual interviews.

Read more about how to be agile during disruption.

Disclaimer: This document has been provided as an informational resource for Aon clients and business partners. It is intended to provide general guidance on potential exposures, and is not intended to provide medical advice or address medical concerns or specific risk circumstances. Due to the dynamic nature of infectious diseases, Aon cannot be held liable for the guidance provided. We strongly encourage visitors to seek additional safety, medical and epidemiological information from credible sources, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization. As regards insurance coverage questions, whether coverage applies or a policy will respond to any risk or circumstance is subject to the specific terms and conditions of the insurance policies and contracts at issue and underwriter determinations.

About the Author

Elise Ascencio

Elise is an account manager working with Aon's Assessment Solutions and has earned her masters' degree in Commercial Management. Her work is majorly focused on client growth and development, providing scientific, research-based assessment solutions.

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