Most of the current hype around virtual reality (VR) – and there’s a lot of it – centers around gaming and entertainment. However, according to research by Tractica, business spending on VR will reach $9.2 billion by 2021. That forecast carries a lot of implications for various industries, but it especially affects human resources in all spaces.
As a person who is passionate about finding talent and building teams, I’m excited about the potential uses for VR in the recruitment process. For one thing, VR gives HR the ability to replace the standard “How do you react to a difficult situation?” question with “I’m going to put you in a difficult situation to see how you react to it.”
VR-based job simulations allow recruiters to step away from dialogue-driven interviews and focus on a more tactical, “raw skills” approach to learning about candidates. Imagine you could show people what a day in the life of your company really looks like, or interview them in your setting of choice – perhaps a nearby park, the coffee shop in your building, or even a gladiatorial battlefield. (Hey, it’s all about company culture, right?)
Applications for VR in the recruitment process are currently in development. The technology is flexible and can integrate any ideas you may have about how to find and interview candidates.
Here are three exciting possibilities to consider as VR enters the mainstream:
1. Gamify the Application Process
What if you could winnow your candidate list down to only those who possess the tactical knowledge needed to do the job? VR allows candidates to screen themselves in or out based on their ability to perform basic job functions in a VR setting on their own time.
Jaguar Land Rover launched a cool app this year that does just that by putting candidates into a virtual garage in the virtual house of the (real) English animated band Gorillaz. The garage is full of iconic vehicles that applicants can use to explore the ins and outs of electric cars.
Then, candidates move on to a demanding code-breaking game that tests their engineering and software skills. The folks who do well on the game are fast-tracked through the application process.
2. Give Candidates the Chance to Experience a Day in the Life of Your Company
One of the most important pieces of recruiting is culture fit. Will people actually enjoy working at your company? Will their work style and expectations align with the way things are done?
Recruiters can now use VR to let candidates interact with their potential coworkers, experience how meetings are conducted, and spend some time steeped in the company culture. This can be particularly useful in the very early stages when you’re trying to attract applicants.
One Berlin company, Deutsche Bahn, started bringing VR headsets to career fairs as far back as 2015. The headsets put candidates into day-in-the-life simulations to give them a better feel for the company culture. Having the ability to picture themselves at the company really appeals to potential applicants. As a result, interest in Deutsche Bahn at job fairs increased more than 400 percent after the VR experience was introduced.
3. Showcase Your Workplace With a Virtual Office Tour
One of the biggest draws for applicants is a cool office space. If you have a great office, VR can help you show it off without having to coordinate (or pay for) tons of candidate visits.
PwC has been doing this on college campuses since 2016, using VR to transport enthusiastic students in far-flung locations to its Boston office, where they can tour the facility and learn about the company’s benefits and opportunities.
General Mills also uses VR technology to allow candidates at job fairs to explore its Golden Valley campus. What’s more, the company inserts fun Easter eggs into its VR tour: Candidates may encounter popular brand mascots like the Trix Rabbit or Lucky the Leprechaun while virtually strolling through campus.
Virtual reality is a great opportunity to show off what you have to offer potential candidates — especially in the early stages of the recruitment process. Only one company on earth can have the Trix Rabbit, but every company has something unique and interesting to highlight for prospective employees.
Tony Delmercado is the COO at Hawke Media.