Virtual reality means interviews can take place in a wide range of settings. Photograph: Westend61/Getty
With more employers introducing VR, gaming and mobile apps into their hiring processes, graduate job seekers need to be ready for anything.
Did your last job interview involve climbing a steep, snowy mountain, navigating a maze or visiting an ancient Greek temple? No? Then get ready – this is what it may take to get a graduate job.
Rather than being put through your paces physically, you’re likely to encounter these scenarios in the virtual realm. With employers relying less on academic grades to assess graduates, mobile apps, video interviews, online psychometric tests and virtual reality (VR) are playing a bigger role in deciding who gets hired.
Such is the case at Lloyds Banking Group. During its last recruitment campaign, 400 candidates used VR. This immersed them in scenarios they would face at the bank, although one was set in a Greek temple.
“The more we allow candidates to reveal their natural strengths and behaviours, the more we can ensure that we align people to roles and teams where they will thrive,” says Lisa Dell’Avvocato, Lloyds’ graduate and emerging-leadership development lead.
VR helped the bank attract graduates. “It was one factor in my decision to accept the job,” says Eros Rrodhe, 26, a Cardiff University politics and international relations graduate who works in Lloyds’ digital implementation team. “Banking is moving more towards digital tech. The VR made me think Lloyds was at the forefront.”
EY says using mobile games and video simulations, rather than VR, has made it more diverse. The professional services firm gets around 30,000 applications a year from students and hires 1,500. The proportion of successful applicants this year who went to a state school was 72% – up from 40% in 2014, before it introduced the technology.
“Ten years ago, big recruiters went only to the 20 best universities to hire,” says Dan Richards, EY’s recruiting leader for the UK and Ireland. “Apps and videos have levelled the playing field.”
EY’s mobile game is called Peak Strength. Candidates traverse a virtual mountain, taking tests that measure accuracy, logic, memory, perception and reaction. “You can win an internship as an ultimate prize, or just find out more about EY and if it is the right fit for you,” says Richards.
How can graduates prepare for a virtual assessment amid intensifying competition? “Understand what each technology is testing and how,” says Richards.
“When you are tested, do it in a place where you’re not easily distracted to give yourself the best chance of success.”