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How VR is changing recruitment

Paul Jarrett, co-founder of Renaix

In a fiercely competitive talent market, recruiters are under pressure to find innovative strategies. As a result, recruiters are opening their eyes to the game-changing possibilities of VR in hiring.

Even though modern-day virtual reality isn’t quite Matrix level, contemporary VR technology is still impressive enough and can bring significant improvements to hiring processes.

Here are just a few examples of how VR is beginning to transform the hiring process.

The VR employer tour

The war for talent is being fought on many fronts, and one of the fiercest battlefields is that of employer branding. The VR employer tour is now becoming an innovative employer branding statement which recruiters are deploying during the attraction phase of the hiring process.

Take Intuit for example, who in 2017, created a VR employer tour as a novel way to present their company’s design culture, (a hotly sought-after topic for students), at a careers fair at the University of Washington. The branding video presented the Intuit HQ in Mountain View and showcased members of the design team and their activities within each scene. It was well-received, extremely popular and Intuit credited it with having made them appear as an innovative employer.

What about General Mills, the billion-dollar, global food conglomerate and owner of brands like Haagen-Dazs and Cheerios? They developed an employer virtual tour which is viewed through an Oculus Rift Headset and has now become the centrepiece of their hiring team’s pitch at college careers fairs. The VR presentation is based at their HQ in Minneapolis and includes 360-degree scenes from all around the campus, (cafe, gym, meeting spaces etc..) and the Minneapolis surrounds. The General Mills hiring team really brought the wow factor to their employer brand and provided candidates with a uniquely immersive experience of the company culture.

VR code breaking challenge

Jaguar placed a mixed reality, 360-environment, public code-breaking challenge on their website for would-be engineers. The first part of the VR challenge requires the player to assemble the Jaguar I-PACE Concept, their electric sports car, a feat that would have been impossible without VR. The second part is the code-breaking challenge which is in alternate reality game format, tests curiosity, lateral thinking, and problem-solving skills.

Engineer contestants who beat the challenge are fast-tracked through Jaguar’s hiring process.

Assessment centres

The next level of virtual reality integration into hiring is the actual assessment process. As a result of its enormous potential in assessing skills, employers are beginning to create immersive virtual experiences that simulate the job (or some aspect of it). They are then observing how applicants perform as a means of assessing their actual job suitability.

One of the pioneers of VR based assessment was Lloyds Banking Group who incorporated VR into their assessment centre. Candidates attending their assessment centres are now required to put on their VR goggles and negotiate an immersive computer-generated environment containing a range of workplace scenarios and puzzles which could not be performed in a traditional interview process. The VR experience is very tactile, and candidates move around, picking up and dropping virtual objects by using handheld tools. The tasks are uniquely challenging, and the experience gives candidates an insight into the working conditions in the UK’s biggest digital bank.

Using the same tech as Lloyds, Microsoft has also incorporated immersive VR based assessment into their hiring process, via a series of ‘day in the life’ scenarios. They constructed a VR situational strengths-based assessment that aligned with the company’s global competency framework. Their VR hiring tests were also able to assess high potential, where previously the company relied on experience. It also assessed the culture fit. Feedback showed that most assessors found it easier to identify high performers than with the traditional assessment methods.

VR based assessment means that it is now possible to assess skills that it would be too expensive or too impractical to assess in a traditional, real-world hiring scenario.

With research suggesting that candidates respond the same way in VR as they would, in reality, VR promises to be a powerful, value-adding candidate assessment tool, bringing a cutting edge to the process of talent identification.

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