Hybrid, Virtual and In-Person Assessments are Here to Stay

Blog series – part 3 of 3

COVID-19 compelled recruitment teams across the board to digitise and fast. 

Here at PeopleScout we have been a champion of digitisation in recruitment for years. Particularly to enhance the candidate experience.

Our first pioneering research on candidate experience was over 10 years ago now and when we repeated the study last year the findings were startling.

 Just 5% of candidates rated their experience as excellent whereas over 30% of employers described their candidate experience in very positive terms. 

As well as introducing Net Promoter Score calculations for one major retail bank, we transformed their candidate experience by measuring and setting goals for the emotional experience of candidates at each stage. In this way we jumped them up the Times Top 100 rankings and achieved and impressive 67 NPS (average is around 50). 

Combined with cessation of in-person events on campus and the speedy up take of virtual assessment, we have been leading the way in ensuring smooth and successful candidate experiences. 

During summer and autumn 2020 we managed and facilitated over 2000 apprentice candidates through virtual assessment centres for government department. The candidate feedback was glowing at consistently over 95% positive:

  • “Although tough, I have enjoyed the Virtual Assessment Centre process. The staff’s attitude alone makes me feel more encouraged and that applying was the right decision. “
  • “This was a really good assessment and the [PeopleScout] staff were helpful and friendly which made the experience more enjoyable than I thought!”
  • “The staff made me feel at ease and I enjoyed it.”

Digital is here to stay. 

The ISE have reported that “virtual careers fairs, in-curriculum online projects, and skill sessions are all likely to feature strongly well into 2021” and we believe longer.

This reflects a trend in the lateral and experienced hiring market where 81% of recruiters say virtual is here to stay [1]. 

The lockdown realities of COVID-19 have eliminated long held concerns about quality assessment over virtual platforms and we are creating end to end virtual recruiting process for many forward-thinking partners.

They are experience both cost and time savings that these changes have brought, freeing them up to invest time in supporting diversity candidates through the process and nurture their talent pipelines.

The human touch will always be essential. This plays out in the communication, feedback, pre assessment briefings, feedback, and onboarding.

We were quick to assess the challenges and responses that early careers recruiters put in place during Lockdown 1 with a series of roundtables leading to articles that became the #3 and #5 most read resources of 2020 [2].

Could this be the end of campus recruitment? [3] Dropping costly ‘milkround’ on campus activity is a conversation we have increasingly each year as organsaitions embrace a fully digital and social marketing campaign.

PwC plan to increase remote outreach instead of relying on the costly ‘milkround’ activities as this will increase the social diversity of their hires. This is of course assuming there will be physical attendance in September 2021, and there is a chance there will not be with new strains of covid coming into circulation. in my experience, a well-constructed, brand congruent, socially enabled marketing campaign will bring the diversity and quality applicants you need.

Just last year we delivered 14% more BIPOC and Asian candidates for one client while saving 47% on digital spend for another.

At the same time, it is increasingly competitive to connect with young people through the digital space. Our research in 2020 with graduates and school leavers revealed exactly how difficult this is. 30pc of your target audience spend only 30 mins in total on their employer research before applying (or not). They are making snap, instinctual, emotional decisions.

In summary, the challenge that we are equipped to solving will be balancing attracting the candidates you want, dissuading the ones your opportunity is not right for, retaining those hard fought for candidates, supporting ones who experience barriers to employment the most, whilst making sure that their experience is remarkable and keeping the costs realistic.

Tough, but not impossible.

This is the final blog in a 3 part series about challenges and trends in early careers in 2021. Read parts 1 and 2 here: 

Blog 1: Early Careers Challenges and How to overcome them. 

Blog 2: Retaining Diverse Candidates in Early Careers Recruitment


[1] https://business.linkedin.com/talent-solutions/blog/future-of-recruiting/2020/future-of-recruiting 

[2] https://insights.ise.org.uk/policy/blog-our-top-10-blog-posts-of-2020/   

[3] http://insights.tmpw.co.uk/post/102go7u/the-end-of-campus-recruitment