Definition: A virtual assessment center is a digital version of the traditional assessment center used in recruitment and talent management.
Instead of evaluating candidates in person at a physical location, the assessment process is conducted online through various digital platforms and tools.
Virtual assessment centers are used to evaluate the suitability of candidates for graduate roles, managerial positions, or other job roles that require a diverse skill set.
This method has become more prevalent due to technological advances and has seen a significant uptick in use due to restrictions associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.
The components of a virtual assessment center include:
- Virtual Interviews: One-on-one interviews conducted over video call platforms.
- Group Exercises: Candidates might collaborate on tasks in real-time using shared documents or virtual meeting software.
- Role-Playing Scenarios: These can simulate job-related challenges where the candidate has to interact with others virtually.
- Aptitude and Psychometric Tests: Online tests that measure a candidate’s skills, abilities, and personality traits.
- Case Study Presentations: Candidates may be asked to prepare and present a case study via video conference.
- Job Simulations: Digital platforms might offer simulations that mirror tasks or situations in the actual job.
- Flexibility: Candidates can participate from any location, making it easier for international candidates or those with mobility challenges.
- Cost-Effective: Companies save on physical space, logistics, and travel expenses.
- Technology Proficiency: Allows employers to gauge candidates’ comfort and proficiency with digital tools and platforms.
- Technical Issues: Connectivity problems or software glitches can disrupt the assessment.
- Authenticity Concerns: Ensuring candidates are not receiving external help or using unauthorized resources during the assessment.
- Lack of Personal Touch: Virtual environments can sometimes make it challenging to establish rapport or assess interpersonal dynamics as effectively as in-person sessions.
Common components include virtual interviews, online group exercises, role-playing scenarios, aptitude tests, case study presentations, and job simulations.
Typically, a stable internet connection, a computer or tablet with a camera and microphone, and access to the required software or platforms (e.g., video conferencing tools) are needed.
Organizations might use proctoring software, time restrictions, and random question generators. They may also follow up with in-person or additional online interviews to verify the candidate’s authenticity.
Most organizations have technical support or guidelines in place for VACs. It’s advisable to check your equipment and connection beforehand and to notify the assessors immediately if issues arise during the assessment.
Research indicates that VACs when designed well, can be just as effective. They offer added benefits like flexibility, cost savings, and the ability to tap into a broader talent pool.
Preparation includes familiarizing oneself with the required technology, ensuring a quiet, distraction-free environment, understanding the assessment components, and practicing relevant skills or tasks.
Many organizations provide feedback after assessment centers, whether virtual or in-person. However, policies vary, so it’s best to inquire beforehand if feedback is important to you.
While the pandemic accelerated the adoption of VACs, many organizations find value in their cost-effectiveness, efficiency, and broader reach, suggesting that their use will continue beyond the pandemic.