Virtual Reality – It’s a hot topic; how can it help in hiring_Virtual Reality (VR) is still in its infancy, but it’s a breakthrough that is set to usher in major changes to the world of business and hiring in general. As the newest medium for human-computer interaction, VR has proven to be wildly entertaining, with the gaming industry being an early adopter, while also bringing benefits for many different industries. As a relatively new technology, it is already making an impact on the recruiting and hiring process.

The Interview

 Candidates who don’t interview well will usually be weeded out; sometimes they seem too nervous, or stumble over their answers with the interviewers. It is unfortunate when a candidate with a great background ends up doing poorly in their interview. Fortunately, there are development teams working on VR apps to help. One such team at the Carnegie Mellon University Entertainment Technology Center (ETC) in Pennsylvania created VR Rehearsal, which allows the user to practice their presentation skills in virtual reality. Afterwards, they can review their performance and see where improvement is needed. 

Another option is VirtualSpeech Courses, which offers online classes that utilize VR for practice and has a Job Interview Preparation course. It puts a person in a job interview simulation where they can practice answering hard questions from virtual hiring managers. It provides a sense of “presence” and realism that can help prepare job seekers to be more relaxed in interview situations. They are even able to interject random sounds, such as someone coughing, for increased realism, and questions can be tailored for any industry or job. It’s a great way for people to practice and polish their interviewing skills. From the truly terrified to the perfectly confident, everyone can use a little practice!

Promoting Your Company

 Salary is the number one factor for most people but workplace culture is important too, and sometimes it can be the differentiator. Companies like Big 4 accounting and consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers have created a virtual environment of their office space for prospective candidates to tour before they see the company in-person. Financial software company Intuit and ecommerce site have similar VR experiences that allow prospective candidates to experience their companies’ workspace and culture. It helps them hire better candidates by attracting people who can get a better idea about whether they would like working there or not. Candidates are able to get a feel for the work environment and learn more about whether the company’s values and goals are a good match for them.

Companies like General Mills and Marriott have utilized VR in an effort to standout at recruiting events. Whether it’s offering a VR office tour or something just for fun like a quick game, the numbers show that it’s working. They are attracting more interest and more applications than they would at events without VR. There are absolutely practical uses for VR in this area and savvy firms are using the new technology to their advantage.

Promoting the Job

The British Army’s VR lets people experience real work scenarios like driving a tank, and the U.S. Navy is using VR similarly. German mobility and logistics company Deutsche Bahn used VR to give people a realistic picture of what some of their jobs were really like. They found that the applicants who had used the VR tool were of a higher quality than those that hadn’t, and they were more committed to getting hired. A VR experience can show a prospective candidate what the job truly entails through job shadowing, virtual tours, or actual work scenarios. Because candidates get a more realistic idea of the job, they seem better able to decide whether they would be a good fit. A tool that can help funnel more qualified and interested people to your company is a good addition to the recruiting toolbox!

Skills Testing

 Online skills testing, especially in IT and Engineering, has been used for a while now in the hiring process. VR takes advantage of these tests and increases their usefulness. Obviously the more realistic you can make the test experience the more useful the results will be in assessing the candidate and it’s another opportunity for a candidate to see what the job is really like. This is quite possibly the most interesting way in which VR will affect the hiring process. It can help both candidates and companies evaluate each other in a realistic setting that allows everyone to make a more informed choice.

The Future of Virtual Reality in Hiring

 The VR market is a growing industry that is set to reach $9.2 billion dollars in market cap by the year 2021. Though adoption of the technology is still far beyond its capability, more and more reasonably priced, yet powerful VR headsets have been coming out; greatly lowering the barrier to entry for average, everyday consumers. With more people adopting the technology over time, expect to see VR being used for more than just entertainment. It will not just have a big effect on how companies and candidates interact but will also act as a new medium of communication between distributed teams or for educational and productivity purposes. The future of VR is bright and as the technology becomes more sophisticated and widespread, its applications in recruiting and hiring will be exciting to watch.

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