Virtual reality: an artificially created environment that can be explored using special electronic equipment that generates sights and sounds, making the experience seem like reality. It’s a concept that has long fascinated us, and it’s easy to see why: after all, who can blame us for wanting to be anywhere but, well, here?
If you’ve never experienced VR for yourself, you may be forgiven for thinking it’s nothing more than a quirky concept thought up by the makers of Back to the Future. In reality, the concept has slowly but surely become more common, with a VR experience centre opening in New York City last year. And it doesn’t stop there, now even employers are waking up to the possibilities VR has to offer.
British telecommunications company BT is the latest to announce they are incorporating VR as part of their assessment process for new graduate and apprenticeship candidates. But what can you expect from an assessment like this? And why are employers choosing VR over more traditional ways of assessment?
What does a VR assessment look like?
You will probably be asked to wear a VR headset, which will cover your eyes and ears, so you can become fully immersed in the projected environment. You might also be handed a handset to control your movements in the virtual world. Don’t worry about crashing into any walls! Your movements will likely be limited to a certain space.
Virtual reality environments can resemble real life, but don’t be surprised if the setting is a spaceship either. BT’s VR environment, for example, is structured as a ‘Crystal Maze’-style labyrinth. Similar to a video game, you’ll be expected to fulfil certain tasks. These do not necessarily have to mimic any tasks you’ll be expected to undertake in the role you’ve applied for but are often designed to test your analytical skills and tease out your strengths and specific personality traits.
Why are employers using VR?
VR is valuable to employers because it allows them to see you ‘in action’. So instead of your just describing how you’d handle a given situation, they can actually see you do it, providing a more reliable method of assessment and sense of your natural strengths and abilities and reactions to situations.
The risk of unconscious bias is also removed as you are purely being judged on your performance.
How can you prepare for VR assessment?
As tests may not be specific to role, it may be tricky to find out exactly what the employer is going to test you on, but having a good understanding of what they’re looking for in a candidate can give you an idea of the type of skills they’re after and therefore what the assessment could involve.
Keep in mind though that the employer is probably expecting you to not know what the test will look like. This is part of what makes it valuable to them as it offers them a really clear idea of your natural potential. So be yourself, follow your instincts and respond to the challenges as you see fit.
New experiences can be daunting, especially when there’s so much at stake, but instead of stressing about what you may encounter when you put on those glasses, focus your energy on getting excited and motivated for what will probably be a unique experience. Your enthusiasm to embrace the unknown will most certainly work in your favour.
Source: HN Global