Online candidate assessment vs. face to face

Written by Andrea Frith

Many organisations have implemented, sometime at speed, digital tools to ensure that recruitment could, where necessary, continue throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. Recruitment and HR teams have been working to understand how best to assess candidate’s suitability without the face-to-face interaction.  This switch has raised many questions and it is potentially too early to tell if the right hires have been made or the on-boarding experience for the new employees provided the right experience.

Are the two comparable? Is it still possible to make a fair judgement without bias and does a virtual assessment allow for the human side of recruitment to show?

Successful assessment centres always need careful planning, and this is even more so when running a virtual one. Creating a strategy will help mitigate risk and help to run a smooth and engaging assessment centre.  

This strategy should include:

  • Define what talent is being recruited and what behaviours are needed and how will they be measured.
  • Invest in solid technology that has been tested and all users are over familiar with its functions.
  • Prepare and brief candidates well. Ensure they know what to expect and manage their expectations.
  • Prepare any hiring managers on what to expect and not assume that everyone is comfortable with the digital environment. Remind them to prepare just as they would for a face to face interview.

Planning – the important stage - things to remember when planning a virtual assessment

Candidate engagement

It is really important to remember that an assessment is a two-way process and the aim is not just to assess the candidate but to be given the opportunity to sell both the organisation and role. Touchpoints are important. How many times have decisions on who to hire come from a gut feeling and proven to be successful? The use of AI and assessment tools are important and aid the speed and accuracy of the process but remember the human touch. This will increase the candidate’s engagement. Remember, no matter the decision of hire, you always want the candidate leaving with a positive feeling, on this note, feedback should always be given and as quickly as possible.

Design and planning

A solid communication plan should be designed and sent to all participants in advance. In some cases, it is good to have a practice run to include all hiring managers, especially if the assessment centre is for volume hires.  This experience will be a showcase for the business and the first interaction with the organisation.

The overall changes are here to stay as the obvious benefits around reduced travel and costs are huge. Only time will tell if the impact will be measurable. Pertemps Managed Solutions have access to a variety of tech to support any recruitment needs requiring virtual support. Please contact Andrea Frith on 07708901402 for further information.

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