Chandler Macleod on Corona Virus & lessons from the GFC

Posted by Clinton Bolst

Lessons from the GFC

While the reasons may be a result of very different circumstances, there are certainly similarities to what we are currently seeing in the graduate recruitment industry akin to what we experienced back in 2008 during the Global Financial Crisis.

I may be showing my age here, however over this last week or so I’ve been reflecting on the many clients who decided to cancel graduate intakes for a short-term cost saving benefit in 2008. Whilst this seemed sensible at the time, those same organisations emerged with severe talent disadvantages in 2010 and beyond as their emerging talent pipelines were empty. They simply had no graduates coming through their development programs. Some even burnt candidates through the recruitment experience, withdrawing offers and damaging their employer brand in the graduate and experienced hire market. Reputations took many years to mend – a steep price considering the flow-on cost and resourcing implications.

For any organisations that are still wondering if they should proceed with a 2021 intake, remember to factor in what the opportunity cost will be if you do not as well as the cascading effects that may flow through in 2022 and beyond.

But we can’t run Assessment Centres or interviews I hear you say!

AC’s are still the best way of reliably assessing candidates, but ‘congregations’ are currently discouraged and may possibly be ruled out in the coming weeks. Declaration forms are a useful indicator to candidates that you are taking things seriously. Asking anyone with uncertain health circumstances to stay home may only be useful if you are planning to conduct AC’s in the immediate future. It is important to avoid putting candidates in a position where they prioritise the opportunity of a future role with you over the health and safety of others.

For those following a relatively traditional graduate intake cycle with AC’s scheduled across May, June and July - alternative options and contingency plans are needed.

The good news is that technologies for virtual assessment centres have come a very long way since the GFC. We now have the capability to administer and assess virtual technical exercises, interviews and even group activities by joining remotely dialled-in candidates. Evaluation forms are completed via integrated software and shared with a facilitator to ensure parsing of results is seamless and available instantly.

Sign me up……….

Before jumping in head first and similarly to well executed face-to-face AC’s, there are some design and logistical considerations that need to be made before pivoting to the Virtual AC experience:

  • Design new or review existing assessments to ensure suitability for a virtual environment. Confirm if you are providing candidates an opportunity to demonstrate the behaviours and skills that are important to your organisation
  • To achieve the same efficiencies as face-to-face AC’s the scheduling of candidates as well as your assessors needs to be a symphony of online coordination to ensure all parties ready to follow the correct link at the appropriate time
  • Just like your candidates, your assessors may all be working remotely or from home. Ensuring your assessment team are skilled up and confident in working with the technology, software or solution will be imperative to a smooth candidate experience
  • Ensuring consistency among your assessor team: Inter-rater reliability is paramount for the successful implementation of Virtual AC’s where integration sessions are completed via video conference. Training your team in the skills of virtual assessment is critical.

Our team are keen to share our expertise with you via any channels should you want to have a chat, gain some advice or assistance as you review your 2021 intake plans.


Clinton Bolst

GM – Graduate & Project Recruitment

Chandler Macleod

[email protected]

0412 534 773



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