Recruiting Employees – in Second Life!

My wife is a recruiter and sent me this one – it’s an article on ere.net, a news and resources and community site for the recruiting community. The article is by Dr. Charles Handler:

Employee Selection in the Second Life

Your company should be the first to recruit using virtual reality

Note that Dr. Handler is a PhD and expert in the field of recruiting and human resource issues – he is making these predictions based on that, not on being a gamer himself.  It’s a substantial article worth a complete read, but here are some highlights:

It is not a stretch to imagine that smart organizations will begin to realize that such virtual brick-and-mortar presence can also be used to help create and reinforce an employment brand. This will provide a key link that will open the floodgates to all kinds of potential ways that a virtual world can be used as a portal and means of information exchange related to the hiring process.

I believe this because Second Life provides some of the essential building blocks that will make up the job simulation tools of the future. These include:

  • Accessibility to a wide range of individuals who are geographically dispersed, and the ability to bring these persons together on common ground.
  • The creation of virtual worlds that go beyond just simple cause-and-effect interactions (i.e., shoot a gun, kill a monster).
  • The use of avatars that represent individuals and can manifest one’s own unique personalities and tastes.
  • An increased ability for intercultural interaction and the ability to gain experience interacting with those different from oneself.
  • The ability to facilitate growth within the avatar such that their experiences accrue and can be measured.
  • The ability to share information with other members of the virtual world.
  • The ability to evaluate interactions and collect meaningful data from them.
  • The ability to create a virtual economy that is driven by many of the same laws and rules that our real economies are bound by.
  • The power of branding, using the virtual world to promote real-world experiences and products.

The results of this process will provide a much richer picture to both applicants and employers about the job and how well an individual will fit with it. Within the next decade, I think we’ll see some of the following occur:

  • Individuals will be able to find employment opportunities via their existence in virtual worlds.
  • These will be publicized by organizations who have a virtual presence and who use this presence to promote their brands, employment brands included.
  • Individuals will be able to express interest in these opportunities and exchange information that can be used to examine basic qualifications for the job.
  • Individuals will be able to participate in virtual job tryouts in which they are asked to complete specific tasks required of them while on the job.
  • Individuals will be evaluated based on their task-based and interpersonal-based interactions within virtual worlds.
  • Individuals will be able to create and maintain virtual resumes that they can use to help them when looking for jobs within a virtual world.

While simulations already exist that can accomplish some of the above things, the key difference will arise via the following aspects of virtual worlds:

  • Increased ability to use artificial intelligence and natural-language processing to evaluate applicant responses and interaction.
  • The ability to infer meaning from complex interactions and to use results as part of a decision-making process.
  • The ability to simulate real-world work environments and complex tasks with extreme realism.
  • Increased interest from candidates such that people will actually enjoy applying for jobs and can be directed more quickly to jobs that pique their interest.
  • The ability to use the avatar as a vessel to manifest feelings and emotions.
  • The ability for an avatar to grow and learn, and the ability to keep track of this growth and learning so that it can be objectively evaluated.
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