How recruiters are employing VR to impress candidates

According to a 2016 Deloitte survey, fully two-thirds of Millennials expect to leave their current jobs by 2020. What does that mean for human resources departments?

A fluid and robust job market has made recruiting more competitive than ever. Connecting with potential employees, particularly Millennials, is not easy. Technology such as LinkedIn and Indeed has made identifying potential employees simpler, but convincing the best potential candidates to actually join a company has become more complicated. Younger potential employees crave authentic, interesting ways to learn about their future potential employers.

Enter virtual reality.

VR has long been hailed as an immersive, transformative technology. And though the gaming and entertainment industries were early adopters of the technology, human resources has lagged a bit behind. It’s understandable for an industry built upon rules and processes that don’t leave much flexibility for creativity. But recruiters, in particular, are being tasked with finding out-of-the-box ways to connect with a new generation of potential employees, as newspaper ads and job postings at college career centers become outdated as a methodology of recruitment.

See also: How VR training apps are becoming reality

A division of Toyota, for example, was looking for a way to immersively allow attendees at a job fair to tour a rural office location. Physical transportation of all potential candidates was not feasible, nor cost-effective, so they turned to VR. They originally utilized our InstaVR platform to create Gear VR tours of a virtual “Day on the Job”. They found the VR tours to be so popular and engaging that they wanted to upgrade, and extend the tours past the time limitations of a Gear VR headset. The result is room-scale VR tours of their offices of 20+ minutes in length on the HTC Vive.

They’re not the only company to incorporate VR office tours into their recruiting mix. Jet.com, now a division of Walmart, was utilizing VR as far back as 2015 to give job seekers a peek into their unique New Jersey headquarters and corporate culture. Same with General Mills, an early adopter of using the Oculus Rift in 2015 for immersive tours of their Minneapolis campus, and the surrounding area. Now that VR headsets are more mainstream, and cheaper options like the Google Cardboard exist, employers don’t even need to meet potential employees in person to demonstrate their VR videos. Distribution can be done through iTunes, Google Play, or even through WebVR.

But headsets aren’t enough

Just having VR headsets present at recruiting events is enough to generate initial interest in companies. Unlike stress balls or t-shirts, VR gives younger potential employees memorable, informative experiences, and can help make more traditional organizations seem tech forward. John Alonso, Founder of Inlet Shores Group, creates immersive Gear VR videos for a US federal government client to demonstrate at hiring events. “This has been a huge success,” commented Alonso. “The combination of VR as an effective tool to communicate, plus that it is new, modern and interesting has meant that the recruiting team at these events is seeing significantly more interest than ever before.”

(image courtesy of Inlet Shores Group)

(image courtesy of Inlet Shores Group)

For some potential employees, knowing VR is part of their training can provide a measure of comfort. Jono Kirkham, Livewire Program Development Lead, produces VR training apps for the broadest reaching children’s charity in Australia. His immersive VR experiences allow potential volunteers to understand what it’s like to be a severely ill child, before the volunteer ever steps foot in a hospital.

“When you put the headset on, you are transported into a hospital room and are lying on a hospital bed absorbing the experience from the perspective of a sick adolescent,” said Kirkham, “Hearing the beeps from the machines and footsteps outside the hallway.” These VR applications, according to Kirkham, help Livewire facilitators to understand what being in a hospital is like for young people, ensuring their facilitators continue to deliver the best possible experiences for hospitalised teenagers across Australia.

VR for recruiting isn’t exactly new. Colleges and universities have been using it to market to students in far flung geographic locations for years. The Savannah College of Art and Design, for instance, mailed over 5,000 Google Cardboard headsets to prospective students in 2016. But with the average cost-per-hire now exceeding $4,000, according to the Society for Human Resource Management, Virtual Reality provides a cost-effective way to wow candidates and virtually transport them to experience your corporate culture and offices. As VR for recruiting becomes increasingly popular, the question becomes less should companies use it, and more how can they most effectively leverage the technology.

VR Landscape
This article is part of our Virtual Reality series. You can download a high-resolution version of the landscape featuring 431 companies here

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