back to blog

Are Virtual Job Tryouts the Next Big Thing?

Have you heard of virtual job tryouts? The growing trend is a mutually beneficial way for job seekers to “try out” a job. It’s a type of online job simulation that gives job candidates a glimpse into the role’s day-to-day reality. It can be coupled with interactive situational and other assessments that can offer the employer an initial indication of whether the candidate is a good fit.

Harver, one of the companies that offer solutions for virtual job tryouts, cites an excellent reason the tools are taking off: They help set expectations. Up to 60% of employees leave jobs within the first six months because of misaligned expectations.

“[A] common challenge in volume hiring is that attrition tends to be higher than average because candidates don’t fully understand what the role entails when they accept a job offer,” the team at Harver explains. “They enter the contract blindly, only to end up quitting just days after onboarding because the role doesn’t match up with their expectations.” Instead, virtual job tryouts “can be brought in as part of a job application process. They provide candidates with a realistic simulation of the role and work environment, while at the same time giving employers the opportunity to track and assess how well they will cope with the main tasks they’ll be performing daily if they’re hired.” 

One of the pioneering masters of virtual job tryouts is CVS Health. The organization developed its Virtual Job Tryout platform to serve as a way to screen over a million job applicants each year. But before you feel that you’re missing the boat by sailing past trends like virtual job tryouts, CVS Health itself can reassure you. While they utilize the tool for large-scale hiring, they don’t feel “as though we could use this as our selection device by itself without [an in-person] interview,” Jeffrey Lackey, CVS Health VP of Talent Acquisition, says.

“Virtual job tryouts are just one way to pre-screen candidates you intend on interviewing one-on-one—they don’t replace in-person interviews, “ says Stephanie Grubbs, Regional Managing Director of The HT Group General Staffing Division. “It’s also important to note that virtual job tryouts aren’t the only way to pre-screen candidates—particularly if you’re not hiring tens of thousands of employees at once.” 

Incorporate the elements of virtual job tryouts into your recruiting efforts by:

  • Finding a way cost-effective to pre-screen candidates virtually. The pandemic proved that you don’t need to jump to in-person interviews right away. You don’t need high-priced tech, either. Look at applicant tracking systems (ATS), phone screenings, and other tools to narrow down the pool of candidates called in for one-on-ones.
  • Giving job candidates a taste of your work culture and a realistic look at what the job entails. Be sure there is somewhere online where you can point job candidates to get a good feel for what it’s like to work for you. It could be a career or “about us” page on your website or social media. Videos explaining the job by the people who do it are great additions.  
  • Asking situational and behavioral questions. Scanning resumes as the sole first step can put too much emphasis on experience. Situational and behavioral questions can, instead, unearth the candidate’s potential, which is equally important.
  • Surrounding yourself with professionals who can administer these steps and evaluate the data you collect on each job applicant. Virtual job tryouts and ATS aren’t substitutes for recruiting partners. The resources go hand-in-hand.

If you go the route of virtual job tryouts, be sure to follow best practices. Be respectful of your applicants’ time and don’t use the work they perform as a test in the business. Feel free to contact us to help you form your best game plan.