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Accenture to use virtual reality for inclusive hiring practices

Tech giant Accenture has started using technologies such as augmented and virtual reality to make its hiring process less biased

Accenture will be using technologies such as augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) to attract more diverse talent and develop more inclusive hiring processes.

Using this technology will be part of new recruitment practices, used at all stages of the graduate recruitment process from application through to hiring.

The hope is to use immersive technologies to find out more about the skillsets of candidates without the addition of human bias from assessors at early stages of the process.

Adrian Love, recruitment director for Accenture in the UK and Ireland, said: “Our approach is designed to level the playing field by ensuring that everyone, no matter their background, colour or gender, is evaluated based on talent alone. And by using technology in a smart way, we can deliver a higher touch human experience to candidates during the moments that matter.”

Despite the fact that diversity makes businesses more successful, there are still a number of barriers preventing women and people from different backgrounds from taking part in the technology industry, such as hiring bias and social exclusion.

In an attempt to break down some of these barriers, Accenture has removed the need for UCAS point requirements as part of its applications to allow more people to apply for roles, and does not require university qualifications for entry-level apprentices.

Accenture claims it is now using diversity recruitment software to find talent from different types of backgrounds, using data science and machine learning to predict a candidate’s performance while taking into account their “personal circumstances”, as well as its digital approach to graduate assessment.

During the assessment stages of recruitment, candidates will take part in various VR assessments, one of which was developed by Capp, which physically immerses users to elicit genuine behavioural responses during assessment.

Example scenarios include code cracking hieroglyphs in an Egyptian tomb, and running a conference call with a client, with each scenario designed to learn more about the candidate as a person, what their core skills are and how they react to different situations.

Soft skills are becoming just as important as technical skills when it comes to the modern workplace, with potential employees expected to have a mix of both.

An immersive AR online assessment is also used to assess candidates’ more cognitive skills, as well as skills such as interpreting data, agile working and the ability to collaborate.

Love said although face-to-face interviews will still take place, having these assessments first removes some of the “rehearsed responses” that people often give in a formal interview situation.

“We will still be interviewing people face-to-face, and the whole approach allows us to spend more time having deeper conversations with candidates. However, by adding the immersive online and VR assessments into our process, we are significantly improving our insight into each individual’s true potential.”

The use of AR or VR technologies in the recruitment process, or other digital means of assessment such as gamification, are becoming more popular to make recruitment more inclusive.

Tolu Olojo, who went through Accenture’s new process and will be joining the firm as an analyst, said: “The application process was so different to anything else I’ve applied for and I really enjoyed the immersive VR tasks, which gave me a chance to see what consulting life is really like.

“I think it’s important for companies to hire people from a range of backgrounds and I was reassured to see that reflected in the interview process.”

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