Cut the Time of Your Graduate Assessment Centres with Virtual Exercises

The Student Employer

Assessment centres can be shorter and more efficient if candidates undertake individual case study exercises virtually and in advance, says Suzanne Courtney. If you’ve recently completed your annual graduate recruitment cycle, you’re probably already thinking about how to improve the process next year. One area worth focusing on is your assessment centre.

This is likely to comprise group activities and individual exercises, such as a case study presentation. What if you could cut the cost and improve the efficiency of your assessment centre experience - and recruit high quality graduates? A typical assessment centre might last a full day and have a 60% pass rate. But, there’s no real reason why candidates need to complete individual case study-based exercises on the day. Technology enables easy delivery online. The duration of assessment centres can be significantly reduced by running individual exercises in advance and allowing candidates to video themselves and submit their responses. The assessment centre can then be focused on group-related activities.

An Effective Approach

Candidates prefer this approach as it is far less intimidating to film themselves at home, than standing nervously in front of a panel of managers. Arguably, a virtually delivered case study provides a more realistic simulation of working life, where virtual working is increasingly common. Candidates can be given information and content to analyse on their preferred device, via an underpinning assessment platform. Content can be tailored to suit the specific role and candidates can be given a certain amount of time to read through and process the information. After an agreed time, their device will start recording and a candidate can present their analysis and recommendations, just as they would at an assessment centre. At the end of the recording, the candidate could be given a chance to re-submit their answers, if they are not happy with their first responses (something they could never do face-to-face). Their recordings would be automatically uploaded onto the assessment platform for review. This stage is about testing the way a candidate thinks. How have they coped with the information they’ve been given? Have they remained calm? Can they analyse specific details and make decisions? Everything tested on the day of an assessment centre could be measured in advance through ‘virtual assessment’. Existing case study and exercise materials can be used, avoiding changing anything or creating new content.

Rubber Stamp

If candidates are able to fully demonstrate that they have the skills and values to succeed in advance, the goal of an assessment centre can be modified. Effectively, it can become a final ‘rubber stamp’ in the selection process, confirming that candidates can work well with others and fit into a team, rather than an additional battery of tests. This activity not only enables shorter assessment centres, it potentially cuts the number of centres needed by around a third. Centres would also have a better conversion rate and assessor time would be maximised. The future of recruitment will increasingly involve offsite, virtual assessments, streamlined seamlessly through technology. If you’re looking to improve your graduate selection process, why not start here?

Find out more about graduate assessment.


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Aon creates smart measurement solutions with valid and innovative online assessment products. Aon is globally the preferred partner for organisations who demand the best.

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