Valuable alternatives for graduate recruitment during times of social distancing

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​Lessons from the GFC

While the reasons may be a result of very different circumstances, there are certainly similarities to what we are currently seeing in the graduate recruitment industry akin to what we experienced back in 2008 during the Global Financial Crisis.

I may be showing my age here, however over the last few weeks I’ve been reflecting on the many clients who decided to cancel graduate intakes for a short-term cost saving benefit in 2008. Whilst this seemed sensible at the time, those same organisations were left with severe talent disadvantages in 2010 and beyond as their emerging talent pipelines were empty. They simply had no graduates coming through their development programs. Some even burnt candidates through the recruitment experience, withdrawing offers and damaging their employer brand in the graduate and experienced hire market. Reputations took many years to mend – a steep price considering the flow-on cost and resourcing implications.

For any organisations that are still wondering if they should proceed with a 2021 intake, remember to factor in what the opportunity cost will be if you do not as well as the cascading effects that may flow through in 2022 and beyond.

The show must go on but we can’t run Assessment Centres or interviews!?

AC’s are still the best way of reliably assessing candidates however assessment centres where candidates and assessors meet face to face are now becoming a nostalgic reminder of times when social distancing was not a legally mandated reality. For those following a relatively traditional graduate intake cycle with AC’s scheduled across May, June and July - alternative options and contingency plans are needed.

The good news is that technologies for virtual assessment centres have come a very long way since the GFC. We now have the capability to administer and assess virtual technical exercises, interviews and even group activities by joining remotely dialled-in candidates. Evaluation forms are completed via integrated software and shared with a facilitator to ensure parsing of results is seamless and available instantly.

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Before diving headlong into the world of virtual AC’s, there are some design and logistical considerations that need to be made to ensure an effective and efficient virtual AC experience:

  • Design new or review existing assessments to ensure suitability for a virtual environment. Confirm if you are providing candidates an opportunity to demonstrate the behaviours and skills that are important to your organisation

  • To achieve the same efficiencies as face-to-face AC’s you must conduct the scheduling of candidates and your assessors like a symphony through transparent, timely communications to ensure all parties use the right link at the right time.

  • Just like your candidates, your assessors may all be working remotely or from home. Ensuring your assessment team are skilled up and confident in working with the technology, software or solution will be imperative to a smooth candidate experience

  • Ensuring consistency among your assessor team: Inter-rater reliability is paramount for the successful implementation of Virtual AC’s where integration sessions are completed via video conference or an alternative online forum. Training your team in the skills of virtual assessment is critical.

Our team are keen to share our expertise with you via any channels should you want to have a chat, gain some advice or assistance as you review your 2021 intake plans.

You can contact us at or speak directly with me (Clinton) on 0412 534 773

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