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Assessments: can virtual compete with face to face?

Assessments: can virtual compete with face to face?

With virtual assessments now part of employee selection and development processes, should candidates and indeed organisations have anything to fear? We went in search of answers with the help of two of our experts.

Assessments can be nerve-wracking and stressful at the best of times, and when you take away the in person or ‘face to face’ interaction, adjusting to a virtual reality can be even more daunting. So what should participants think about and look out for when attending these centres? What should their approach be?

“There is a lot of pressure on candidates with a lot riding on their performance and futures. My advice would be to just take the process for what it is. There really is no disadvantage to being online,” says Tracey Kaberry, Project Manager at Morgan Philips Talent Consulting. “Just be yourself and not the person you think the assessors and observers want you to be. To get the best out of the process, you really have to be yourself. And they ought to remember, it’s a fantastic development opportunity, so make the most of it!”

Assessment Practice Lead, Claire Prayag knows only too well of the pressures that candidates are under, which is why so much effort goes into getting the experience right. “It’s important that individuals approach the situation without second guessing what we’re looking for,” she remarks. “We want to learn about your strengths, competencies and areas of development, and that means approaching it as you would normally to show us what you’re capable of. We always ensure that everyone is fully at ease during the process.”

Rigour and robustness

Moving to an online delivery hasn’t been without its challenges however. As Tracey points out, “We had to move fast and adapt following lockdown so we had to put everything together in a short space of time to continue to deliver virtually. We’ve had to refine our process, for example the functionality of our digital platform to ensure that candidates continued to receive the best possible experience. We’ve taken on board feedback from candidates and clients which has helped us enormously in making those improvements.”

Should organisations have any concerns as to the robustness of virtual assessments? “The feedback we’ve received has been very encouraging. Candidates have actually been very surprised at the level of insight. It’s also a very efficient and engaging process,” Claire adds. “The rigour and methodology we apply to face to face is replicated virtually and we’re able to provide quality data driven insights to clients and participants.”

With all the advantages and successes, there is no escaping the one area of ‘criticism’ that keeps getting levelled at virtual assessment centres. “Yes, you can’t take away that we are humans and even though we endeavour to recreate those ‘live’ conditions by for example having a social huddle at the end, it can never replace the human interaction for assessors and participants and social interaction for candidates.”

If you’d like to know more about running a virtual assessment centre, please contact James Moore at

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