Unleashing the Power of Virtual Reality: A Cutting-Edge Tool for Assessment and Development

In today’s rapidly evolving world, Virtual Reality (VR) has emerged as a pivotal tool in addressing the global appetite for innovative talent identification and development methods. Amidst ongoing economic fluctuations, reported talent scarcities, and distinct industry patterns, businesses are on the lookout for comprehensive strategies to confront these issues directly.

VR stands out by offering a distinctive approach to talent assessment. It transports candidates into diverse settings, allowing them to behave genuinely and facilitating profound, unforgettable learning moments. Beyond assessment, VR serves as a captivating medium to nurture existing talent, spotlighting abilities, and strengths that might remain unexplored in their present positions, thus unveiling latent potential.

We caught up with Cappfinity’s Head of Virtual Reality Oscar Lyons, who has developed a number of high-profile VR solutions for clients such as EY, Accenture, Mott MacDonald, NIHR, Clyde & Co, British Airways and University College Dublin’s Innovation Academy.

What were the key reasons for investing in VR?

VR at Cappfinity began as solely an assessment platform, delivering many key benefits to both clients and candidates, including:

  • Demonstration of authentic behaviour
  • Removal of overpreparation for candidates
  • Improved candidate experience – by delivering an immersive experience to encourage engagement.
  • Employer brand enhancement – to create a real buzz around the recruitment process and the organization’s investment in the latest technologies.

Evaluating critical thinking, problem-solving, and creativity in VR is immersive, making it harder to prepare for and completely mitigating cheating. This means the scenarios and assessments in the VR environment allow employers to see candidates’ spontaneous reactions and decision-making skills in real-time.

By investing in VR, Cappfinity aimed to create a more engaging, interactive, and innovative candidate experience that showcases their abilities, which we know is important to Gen Z.

How is VR used to develop career readiness for early career talent?

Bridging the gap between college to career is a hot topic for both employers and educators.  There is often a mismatch between the skills recent graduates possess and what’s needed for the world of work.

Cappfinity has created VR experiences to show the reality of the working world. Experiences like how to deliver a high-stakes presentation, deal with large amounts of data, and complex interpersonal situations with colleagues can all be recreated and enhanced with VR. This is hard to simulate in a classroom context at scale, whereas VR allows the experience to be delivered reliably to every user, every time.

Research from PwC shows that learning through VR is quicker because it creates much more memorable experiences and a more hands-on approach with instant feedback. Our clients still remember VR scenarios five years after their first demo because it’s a novel experience, that connects with our emotions to create something memorable.

It can be very daunting when starting a new career. VR creates a safe learning environment where learners can practice and experiment to learn the new skills they need to succeed, without fear of failure.

Working on EY’s Virtual Internship of the Future, we were able to simulate an end-to-end client project, including client meetings and resources for graduates to read, research, and understand. This allowed the interns to demonstrate advanced skills that they may not have the opportunity to display in a traditional internship, giving the organization a clearer impression of what each individual is capable of.

How can Virtual Reality Enhance Talent Attraction?

VR has proven to be effective for talent attraction for key talent groups, especially those in the tech sector. By integrating VR, organizations not only demonstrate their commitment to cutting-edge technologies but also create a buzz by offering potential employees firsthand experiences with these innovations.

Take the case of EY’s “Internship of the Future.” While EY has a strong reputation as one of the Big Four in accountancy, they are also a large recruiter of tech talent, which is a notoriously competitive market for talent. Introducing VR into their internship program elevates their brand as a tech employer. It positioned EY as a tech-centric firm, spotlighting the dynamic projects future graduates could engage with. As a result, EY emerged as a preferred employer for budding tech professionals eager to embark on their career journeys.

As VR’s prominence in recruitment and workplace settings continues to ascend, being an early adopter can significantly bolster an organization’s brand. Embracing and showcasing such emerging technologies not only underscores an organization’s forward-thinking approach but also serves as a beacon for tech talent.

How can VR improve employee engagement and upskill existing talent?

Along with using VR as an early career talent attraction tool, Cappfinity also offers leadership development in VR to specifically develop self-awareness, which has been identified as the meta-skill of the 21st century and supports the development of other skills. We know that for senior leaders, this is a key and difficult skill to develop, as workplace psychologist, Dr Tasha Eurich’s research shows that 95% of us think we are self-aware when the reality is closer to 15%.

Learning how to resolve conflict, how to talk to someone asking for a raise, or having other possibly difficult conversations can all be done in VR as a safe place without fear of reprisal. VR can even be utilized in a group context, providing the opportunity to work with your peers as you go through the experience.

We’ve also had great success in pairing VR with our other leadership products.  Altitude for example can be paired with VR to deliver new fantastical experiences for talent at the C Suite level and below to provide further development opportunities. Strengths Profile can be paired with VR to explore Realized and Unrealized Strengths in action.

Ultimately any learning and development in VR is quicker and more impatcful because the experiences are much more memorable. VR provides a safe space for practice to build on desired skills and is typically more engaging than some classroom-based learning or your typical e-learning. The speed of learning transfer is also very cost-effective.

You can learn more about Cappfinity’s VR offerings for recruitment and development via the product page here.

Cappfinity VR solutions have been featured in the following publications:

Interns and college students are using virtual reality to learn office skills without ‘repercussions’—but not everyone is sold on the metaverse- CNBC

Using VR to Recruit and Retain New Generation Employees- Spicework

UCD is using VR to teach students skills they will need for their careers- Silicon Republic

VR For Recruiting with Nicky Garcea- Recruiting Daily

The Workforce of the Future