7 Common Pitfalls of Conducting Virtual Assessment Centre

In a poll carried out in one of our recent Webinars on Talent Selection in Our New Normal, all attendees submitted that they had been affected by a bad hire. Other studies confirm this position; for example, Brandonhall.com stated that 3 out of 4 employers had experienced bad hires.

 If you have ever ended up in a bad hire situation, one of the many factors responsible for it is the screening process. In another survey by Brandonhall.com, 68% of respondents claimed that the interview process was responsible for their bad hire, 51% says the hiring manager while 38% affirmed that it was the screening and assessment method used.  

With the increasing VUCA environment in which organisations now operate, employers and organisations need to pay more attention to their hiring process more than before to ensure that candidates hired are the right and fit employees in their context. 

If we go by the research reports on the role a flawed screening process plays in selecting the right candidates, our emphasis should be on getting it right from this point. 

There are various screening methods used globally by organisations, but the superiority of assessment centres as the most effective tool for identifying individuals who are most likely to succeed on the job is statistically valid. 

Before the Covid-19 pandemic, most assessment centres are conducted in a physical location. However, the epidemic and the associated conditions have accelerated the adoption of virtual assessment centres.

Virtual Assessment and Development Centre involves the use of technology to assess candidates/job applicants or existing employees remotely. As with other technology-driven initiatives, virtual assessment centres have its pitfalls that if not properly managed, could contribute to a bad hire.

Here are a few of the gaps you need to be mindful of.

Top 7 Pitfalls of Conducting Virtual Assessment Centre

1. Assessing Wrong Parameters

You could have the best technology and trained assessors for a virtual assessment centre. Still, when you start assessing talents on the wrong parameters which do not apply to the job position you seek to fill, you are most likely not to achieve your desired outcome. 

The job analysis should be sorted out before you start any virtual assessment because your virtual assessment centre is set for failure if you fail to identify the right parameters for your assessment. Your parameters are as important if not more than your choice of a virtual assessment centre.

2. Using Irrelevant Assessment Techniques

Irrelevant assessment techniques pose a barrier that prevents candidates from accurately demonstrating their skills during the virtual assessment. Introducing unnecessary difficulties restricts candidates from achieving their full potential. 

It is of the essence, therefore, to either develop measures to detect irrelevant assessment techniques or adopt a method of testing that can reduce its impact. 

3. Using Unskilled Assessors

When assessors are not well skilled in using the virtual assessment platform or measuring behaviour, it poses a danger on the outcome of the exercise. 

Every assessor must be trained in the methodology of observation, recording, classifying and evaluating to measure the performance efficiently and to prove the evidence of candidates results. It takes a trained assessor to detect a positive indicator of the right competency shown by the candidate.

4. Security and Integrity of Assessment Materials

Before and during a virtual assessment, there is every possibility for the assessment materials to be leaked either by candidates taking pictures or screenshots while taking the test or cyber frauds hacking into your system before the assessment. 

It should be your priority to prevent this from happening by setting your system in a way that avoids candidates from going out of a page to subvert the integrity of the process.

5. Allowing Variations in Administration

In the administration of your virtual assessment centre, you must bear in mind the following;

  • Lack of a standardised procedure compromises the whole exercise. 
  • Standardisation of instructions, setting time limits, making materials available, access to the assessment materials etc. should be well planned.
  • Dealing with connectivity issues is a challenge your candidates are likely to face. Have a plan to address this so that they are not denied the opportunity of being properly assessed
  • Consider disabled individuals

6. An Overly Burdensome Programme

Automation does not necessarily take off all the rigours that go into planning an assessment centre. 

Consider organisation’s resources (centre designer, managers to serve as assessors in case of human-based scoring, role players, time etc.)  when planning your assessment project so that you don’t compromise on the process by trying to manage overstretched resources. 

7. Managing Proxy

The issue of proxy is perhaps the most critical bane of virtual assessment. Your virtual assessment platform must ensure that it is the right candidate that is taking the assessment.

Security of content and compromising the standard of the assessment is also another challenge while plug-ins or applications which present possibilities for security breach must be prevented.

Addressing the Pitfalls

Addressing these pitfalls is critical to ensuring that the organisation hires the right people. Luckily, there are practical solutions to these problems as provided by the virtual assessment centre.

For example, there should be the adoption of remote test proctoring, which ensures that assessments can be well administered and the candidates can take the test from the comfort of their homes. Remote test proctoring includes the use of either Artificial Intelligence or People-based proctors to ensure proper monitoring and coordination of the tests. This helps guarantee the integrity of the assessment by curbing any form of malpractice.

When organisations invest in a highly secured virtual assessment centre platform, they are equipped to understand the fundamentals of virtual assessment and utilise its benefits to make better hiring decisions. It also enables simplification of assessment strategies and structure, thereby easing the pitfall of burdensome programmes. 

Employing Subject Matter Experts to frequently advise on the dos and don’ts of conducting virtual assessments can help scale the efficiency of virtual assessments. These experts can also help train assessors within the organisation. Assessors should be made to go through assessment workshops, and they should be trained in ORCE and the use of assessment technology, as this will improve their skills.

Over the past 16 years at Workforce Group, we have been helping our clients avoid these pitfalls through some of our service offerings by; 

  • Providing a highly secured virtual assessment centre platform, 
  • Providing training in setting up a virtual assessment centre
  • Developing assessment instruments.
  • Organising remote proctoring.
  • Conducting become-an-assessor workshop for organisations.

For more information on how we can help your virtual assessment centre drive, please book a consultation here.

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