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KPMG recruits face virtual test

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London: It is not just the daunting partner interview that future KPMG graduate recruits will have to get through - they'll have to survive in a virtual KPMG world too.

The firm is bringing in a new recruitment process in the UK that uses an advanced software application to take students into a simulation of a real office environment complete with a series of real-time tasks.

The software uses 3-D animation and applicants are greeted and taken through the process by a virtual person. Students are given a variety of tasks to do which mimic the multi-tasking frequently required in a modern office job. While studying a spreadsheet to find certain information, for example, an email might also arrive that needs a response or the student might receive a voicemail notification that they need to listen to, or a video clip that they need to watch.

By creating an impression of real work situations, the students will gain a better understanding of what it would actually be like to work at KPMG, while KPMG can see how well-suited applicants might be to genuine working life.

The assessment process also uses real, specially trained actors to carry out one-on-one role plays with the students — to enable both parties to get a better insight into how they would actually be suited to a career at KPMG.

Michelle Quest, Head of People at KPMG, said: "We want to take recruitment firmly into the digital media age. Presenting tasks through an advanced technology platform means that young tech-savvy applicants will feel more attuned to the process. Our aim is to move recruitment beyond the traditional numerical and reasoning tests to provide an immersive and interactive experience that will tell us more about the applicant, and the applicant more about us."

The new process sits alongside other traditional tests and interviews that applicants will also take. The software was designed in conjunction with the assessment consultancy and design firm Penna.

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