Riding the next wave in talent acquisition

Technology is continuously bringing to the table so many fresh ways for today’s industries to reach new limits and beat competition. This trend is exceptionally apparent within the recruiting industry, wherein virtual reality (VR) and augmented (AR) technologies hold the power to immensely reshape hiring process, perhaps for ever. Getting the hint, lots of companies have decided to give themselves a reality check by sprinkling their recruitment processes with a generous dose of VR & AR experiences and the results have been equally generous in return.

In 2017, Jaguar developed a Mixed reality recruiting game including among other features, code-breaking riddles. The game -launched as an App- managed to keep the visitors entertained, while facilitating recruiters to cherry-pick the top code-breakers as potential candidates for their many electronics and software engineering free spots, at the time. Similarly, the German railway company Deutsche Bahn has been consistently using VR technologies in their hiring programmes, focusing mostly on making the most out VR’s unique capability to bring the job’s real-life atmosphere over to million candidates. This niche did not go unnoticed by General Mills, as well. The food giant created a virtual tour of its headquarters to give their potential candidates at the University of Minnesota a real taste of what is like to work for the company. Firms such as the Israeli Actiview, Holland’s ING bank and the Australian CBA bank, are only several among a growing list of companies -across a diverse spectrum of industries- who have well ridden the new wave towards efficient on-boarding. With the cornerstone of any recruitment process being interviews, let’s have a closer look at the benefits VR interviews can bring to companies. To begin with, imagine ditching traditional pen-and-paper checklists and long face-to-face discussions with a simulated context in which, e.g. the interviewee is asked to demonstrate their skills over a given scenario.

An improved recruitment experience

Today’s millennials are already using a variety of digital technologies for all sorts of needs and services in daily life. Hence, as talents to be considered for a job position they are greatly drawn to potential future employers-firms who are stepping up their game by switching old-school, pen-and-paper interviews with immersive and engaging digital experiences; such as interviews within “VR meeting spaces” alongside a portfolio of fun skill-based tests. This “game” element transforms the whole idea of job interviews as a serious and strict hiring process making interviewees feel more relaxed, motivated to “play along” and able to perform to their best ability. Simultaneously, companies incorporating VR interviews into their on-boarding programmes, communicate to their young candidates a digitally savvy promising workplace, standing at the forefront of innovation. In other words, VR tech –even though used inside the firm’s recruitment circle- adds extra points to any employment branding initiative as well.

The favourable logistics

  • Traditional interviews are restricted within the context of a single room; the interview room. VR interviews may offer viewing and tours of company offices and headquarters giving candidates a ‘snapshot’ of what working for the certain firm looks like. The candidate can see and experience whether they are a good fit for the culture and the overall environment of the brand. In this sense, VR tech best serves the purpose of any hiring activity; that is ensuring high job-person fit. Sharper fit ensures more valid hiring results (less false positives and fewer true negatives).
  • Traditional interviews, can at best assess candidates’ behavioural and cognitive capabilities. Any sense of their technical skills (e.g. imagine a hospital in need of hiring a heart surgeon) can only be obtained on the spot, through CV information. VR interviews transcend these limitations by making it possible for the candidate through a VR headset and additional functionalities, to perform physical tasks or movements e.g. a company hiring for a leadership position, might ask a candidate to stand up and interact with a virtual team through a particular scenario. Such examples are very telling of how VR interviewers can better assess their candidates’ voice, posture, presence, their non-verbal language6 as well as their spatial skills (the latter comprises a core dimension of the human Intellect – IQ and is very difficult to be assessed “over the traditional interviewing table”). The candidates get to reveal their natural strengths and behaviours, the more we can ensure that we achieve a good person-job fit.
  • VR interviews and VR environments help firms cut all sorts of procedural and administrative costs short. Candidates do not have to fly overseas for the recruitment process (interviews included, especially if skill-based tests are included), costs of having to set up assessment centres in many different locations are eliminated and work scenarios that require large spaces or a collective of people to be present within the same room –practically impossible within a single interview room- can now become a reality.
  • Overall, VR interviews offer significant incremental value when applied alongside other methods of hiring new talent. Their unique value lies on their ability to bring employers and candidates digitally closer for one e.g. people can exchange handshakes. With additional functionalities VR interviews can present a holistic and complete recruitment process by itself, since they may make it possible for firms to assess their future employees on real work scenarios that would never in the past be considered part of the recruitment process due to them being dangerous (for example, surgery scenarios drills), counterproductive (practising fire emergency scenarios) or expensive (simulation flights) to (re)create.


Sources & footnotes

https://media.jaguar.com/news/2017/06/jaguar-land-rover-and-gorillaz-seek-new engineering-talent-alternate-reality?q=&start=0&brand=jaguar

Smith, M. J., Ginger, E. J., Wright, K., Wright, M. A., Taylor, J. L., Humm, L. B. & Fleming, M. F. (2014). Virtual reality job interview training in adults with autism spectrum disorder. Journal of autism and developmental disorders, 44(10), 2450-2463.

Derous, E., & De Fruyt, F. (2016). Developments in recruitment and selection research. International Journal of Selection and Assessment, 24(1), 1-3.

Villani, D., Repetto, C., Cipresso, P., & Riva, G. (2012). May I experience more presence in doing the same thing in virtual reality than in reality? An answer from a simulated job interview. Interacting with Computers, 24(4), 265-272.