Employer Branding Talent Acquisition

The Role of Virtual Reality in Recruitment

What is the most “difficult” part of recruiting? The part when the selected candidates have to come for an in-person interview with the manager of the company. This is rather tricky because the company has to come up with a schedule that suits both the manager and candidates alike. Sometimes it means for a recruiter numerous valuable hours lost every year spent planning, inviting and rescheduling.

Luckily, the advancement of technology comes to their aid, allowing them to check out potential candidates without scheduling any interviews. This can be possible with the help of virtual reality (VR), a technology that started revolutionizing the way we live and do business, and it will continue to put its imprint on many aspects of our lives. And as many stated it will disrupt the recruitment field.

How will virtual reality help the recruitment sector? Well, the aim is to interview potential candidates in the virtual environment provided by technology, without wasting time needed to schedule live interviews with each of them. Is this possible? It is, as more and more companies go for this option because it helps them save time and makes them more efficient at this process, shortening its duration and allowing the company to get back to its full potential and working power in no time.

Sounds quite amazing, do you think? BUT…. You probably read or hear similar things from companies that are trying to sell VR solutions or VR services to the recruitment industry.

The reality of VR right now

  • VR allows candidates to actually SEE the role: There are many ways to use VR in recruitment, one way is that virtual reality gives people the chance to see whether a job is suitable for them or not. This way, they will make the recruiters’ task easier, as they will only apply to those jobs that fit their future career plans. But in reality, you still need to ask your candidates to install an app, buy the headset (or cardboard) and ask them to spend their time to watch the VR video. In this case to see what the role would be like on a daily basis. And instead of presentations that will get them excited to work for that company, this could very quickly turn into the most boring VR movie ever.
  • VR allows candidates to actually SEE the office: The second application of VR in recruitment is to use it for virtual office tours. All the virtual office tours that I saw it didn’t tell me anything about the atmosphere at the office or about the company. Everything in these videos was perfectly staged, clean desks, smiling people, PR talk on how cool and happy people are working there, but you can check Glassdoor of that company, and you will see a very different reality and not the virtual one. These virtual office tours will not show you companies as they truly are, at least I haven’t seen any good videos so far. The example of virtual office tours reminded me of a story that one friend from Prague told me. He worked for a big company, and when their CEO was coming from the UK for a visit, they already planned his whole trip and office tour. But they show him only the part of the office that was ready for his visit, and by ready I mean that everything was cleaned, freshly painted, people got new chairs, everything was perfectly staged, and the office looked like new. But they were also afraid that their CEO would change his plans and want to see something else from the office, like the second or third floor, or some other part of the office that wasn’t ready.

So is there a future for VR in recruitment?

VR is excellent technology especially for the gaming industry, but I don’t see a future for virtual reality for interviews. Two avatars doing an interview didn’t sound right to me. Even the tools that are using AI for evaluating your interview need to see your face and how you are going to react to questions. VR in recruitment will bring benefit only if we are talking about VR from Star Trek or Matrix. For VR to have a use case for interviews, it needs to be able to simulate everything that a human can experience or imagine experiencing.

Is there a future for VR in recruitment? We will see, I think that at this moment it is just throwing money from the window and I am not expecting that VR will be playing a more significant role in the near future. But VR has a future for sure, but bigger than VR will be AR (augmented reality).

We will see more and more companies choosing AR instead of VR for their recruitment activities. Imagine job fairs where candidates would be able to use their phones near the company stands and see in the AR short presentations about the company or products that the companies are providing.

Of course, there are still many unknowns when it comes to using VR and AR in recruitment, but, even so, there are startups and companies that see VR as the solution that will help them find the right candidates in the shortest time possible.

VR is an exciting thing, but AR will have a better future. Especially since AR could become a great addition to employer branding and it will bring better results and candidate experience than VR. VR in recruitment is another buzzword so be ready; you will hear about it more often in the future.

About the author: Jan Tegze is the author of Full Stack Recruiter and results-oriented Talent Acquisition Leader with extensive experience in full life cycle recruiting, and broad knowledge in international recruiting, sourcing, recruitment branding, marketing, and proactive, innovative sourcing techniques. 

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