Tech trends: immersive recruitment

Jan 15, 2018 | Selection & assessment

Philippa Riley, Research and Development Director at PSI Talent Measurement  – explains immersive recruitment, helping unpick the buzzwords and make informed assessment choices.

‘Immersion’ has been researched extensively within the computer gaming world, where the two concepts of spatial presence and flow have been identified.  Spatial presence refers to the extent to which a ‘player’ is immersed within a mediated environment (and detached from the real world), and flow specifically to their level of involvement with the action of a game.  

Why is immersion a desirable outcome in the recruitment process?

Candidate experience is one factor; engagement in an assessment may result in more positive reactions to the process itself, with associated positive consequences for brand image and likelihood of offer acceptance.  

However, there may also be benefits relating to the accuracy of assessment: for example, by immersing participants they may become less conscious of the assessment component, and more likely to provide authentic responses. 

A further benefit is that immersion can be used as a means to provide a preview of the role itself, to not only assess the candidate directly but also to allow for them to make better informed decisions about their role and the organisation.

What are the types of assessment that are leading the charge when it comes to immersion?  

Virtual Reality 

The ultimate in immersive experience, virtual reality (VR) can be used to create animated or video assessments within rich virtual environments.  The challenge for assessment is a requirement for hardware (ie VR headsets), which limit their use particularly within sifting.  Although the potential of VR in assessment has not yet been realised, VR can be used to create the emotional intensity of particular situations, more so than is possible for more traditional methods of assessment delivery 

Games Based Assessments (GBAs) 

Drawing on the dynamics, graphics and design of computer games, GBAs provide a means to assess candidates’ personality, ability or competencies within an engaging ‘game-like’ environment.  

Escape Rooms 

Originally created for entertainment purposes, escape rooms require teams to solve problems or challenges, and ultimately to find their way out of a room.  Although less technology focused than the previous two examples, the nature of such rooms creates an immersive environment, allowing participants to lose themselves in the game.  These have been used as alternatives to more traditional group discussion type exercises often used in assessment centres. 

Virtual Assessment Centres 

‘Traditional’ assessment centres have typically involved multiple participants invited to a specific location and then provided with a series of exercises, often delivered on paper.  The level of immersion and realism is therefore limited.  Virtual Assessment Centres are increasingly being used to deliver these exercises in more realistic and immersive ways, delivering assessment content through a virtual desktop which ‘feels likes’ a real working environment.  These also allow for the use of ‘fly in’ information, and the delivery of content in multimedia formats.  

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