3 min. read

Due to the ‘new normal’ imposed on us by the pandemic, the need to move from the traditional to the new form of the next day Digital Assessment & Development Centers suddenly became urgent.

The benefit of digital is now so clear, that it makes even the most cautious and conservative ones consider this transition with great interest. Aside from the elimination of the risk of transmitting the virus, which is a critical priority at this time, other top business buzzwords, that are strengthened through the process digitalization are: remote working, employer branding, environmental footprint decrease, zero-based budgeting policies alignment, etc. Running an Assessment & Development Center digitally means conducting all activities and exercises, that would traditionally be provided face to face with a candidate or a group of candidates, exclusively through digital platforms.

How can we achieve to make it fruitful for all stakeholders? Here are 8 practical tips, that – from practice – ensure an effective and simultaneously engaging experience:


#1 Be crystal clear

Ensure that all informational material addressed to the participants explains with full clarity and accuracy all process stages. How they can best prepare? What exactly is expected of them? What are the exact deadlines they are expected to have completed at each process stage?

#2 Keep it short and simple

The lack of natural interactions makes it even more necessary to ensure a short and at the same time interesting and rewarding process for the participant. One suggestion in this direction is for participants to complete the digital tools (e.g. personality inventory and/or inbox business case, etc.) at a separate time, so that on the time of the conference call they focus exclusively on the processes that require interaction (e.g. interview, role-playing games, etc.). Aim to have max. 4 activities (including interview) in your digital center, lasting no more than 4 hours, with built-in breaks.

#3 Focus on the person

For effective interaction, the assessors during the teleconference have to create a climate of honesty and trust with the participants. Only if the participants see that the evaluators they are dealing with, as well as the methodologies, have credibility, will they really open up, show their true selves and bring mutually beneficial results. Moreover, to ensure superior participant experience, participants must in the end feel assured, that the assessor ‘saw right through’ them and that the feedback they got is so tangible and practical, they can make good use of it on the next working day.

#4 Use best practice methodologies and metrics

For Digital Assessment & Development centers to be valid and effective, it is important that the assessors alternate between candidates. That is, no evaluator undertakes the overall assessment of one candidate. Moreover, the ORCE methodology (Observe – Record – Classify – Evaluate) ensures a fair and objective evaluation of the participants. To this end, systemizing and automizing the assessors’ calibration is also key to the participant’s profiling validity and process accuracy.

#5 Select appropriate online tools

Online tools are a great way to enrich the sources of information you receive about participants’ personalities, inclinations and abilities before you meet them online. To select them you must take into account the scientific background of the tool as well as other parameters: the purpose of the process (assessment or development), the desired level of difficulty, the object of evaluation (personality, soft or hard skills), etc. Some tools may also provide a personalized interview guide for the assessor or an automated report with personalized development suggestions for the participant, etc. Apart from above points it is important to also take the participants maturity and reactions into consideration. So, choose wisely to make it a stimulating and self-reflecting experience for them.

#6 Test your telecom application thoroughly

The choice of application is up to you. However, whatever your choice, make sure that there are as few systemic incompatibilities as possible to minimize the risk of technical glitches. In addition, setting the check-in to the video conference application 10 minutes before the official start of the process, both by the participant and the organizer, can minimize technical issues.

#7 Prepare for continuous finetuning

Preparation is 90% of success – I love this moto! What about the rest 10%? Even with the most meticulous preparation, reality is that something WILL inevitably go wrong. Stay calm, communicate clearly to reassure the candidates and find a realistic solution to the problem. For example, if your video conferencing ability drops in the middle of the role play, it might be best to simply change a standard call for the rest of the activity. You should always have a dedicated experienced and trained team to overseeing the process. Applicants and evaluators should be able to contact this line at any time and in case of emergency. And the team should be able to produce data for the continuous process optimization.

#8 Walk the talk

Last but not least: How can we expect the participants to accept and capitalize on the assessors’ feedback, if we don’t practice ourselves what they preach? So, ask for feedback. When the process is over, encourage them to take part in a Participant Experience Survey to feel the beat and gain a tangible overview of the impact of the Assessment & Development Center. What was a success? What can be improved? A wise combination of qualitative and quantitative questions is key to receive useful results. Apart from enhancing the participants’ and stakeholders’ trust on the process you will gain valuable knowledge to help you grow.


For more information, if you have any questions or need any advice, please do get in touch.


Anna Papadopoulou, Learning & Organizational Development Consultant


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