Second Life being used for recruitment

I wrote back in July that Second Life is riding the Gartner hype curve, and is now rapidly coming off it’s first peak and down into the trough of disillusionment. This article from Nicola Mattina adds a bit to that idea, explaining how the corporations that went into Second Life got it wrong, and were always likely to end up disappointed.

That doesn’t mean the game is over though. Far from it. Companies need to learn how best to use this new medium – just as it was (and still is) with the web. When companies start to find those uses the cycle will enter it’s final phase and the hype will start to increase again.
From this perspective I was interested to see that companies look like they might start to get value out of Second Life in their recruitment processes – and not just by the mere fact of getting kudos for having a presence.

From Australian jobs site SearchCIO:

Last week, recruiters from four major companies — Accenture, EMC, GE Money and U.S. Cellular — and job seekers looking to land positions at those companies are engaging in real-life interviews online. This virtual job fair, the second one hosted by recruitment advertising agency TMP Worldwide Advertising & Communications, is being held on “TMP Island,” the company’s space within the popular Second Life virtual world.

Note that they are conducting interviews in world. If they are efficacious then that is far more efficient than getting face to face – for the first interview anyway. I can easily imagine that for candidates and companies alike a virtual interview is a great way to quickly weed out those situations where everyone knows in the first ten minutes that there isn’t a match.

The stats are pretty good as well:

The recruiter does the screening and schedules the half-hour interview. At May’s event, there were 872 registered job seekers, 750 requested interviews; 209 were granted interviews.

“We know for a fact that at least three hires came directly from this event,” Vong said. [Vong is a TMP executive.]

It is early days though:

Microsoft recruiting manager Warren Ashton, who attended TMP’s first virtual job fair in May, said Second Life shows promise as a recruitment venue but admits it’s too early to declare success. Still, Microsoft did make at least one hire from the May event and, according to Ashton, the company will probably do more virtual job fair events.

“It was a really good experience. The candidates that we talked to were of good quality.”

I like the pragmatism in this quote. Microsoft are trying something out to see if it works. That is a far cry from a lot of early corporate activity in Second Life where all anyone seemed to want to do was have a presence and shout about it – which tells me we are on the way to finding some useful applications for Second Life and virtual worlds in general.

This is a link to TMPs virtual job fair site. Note the prominent sponsorship from the companies listed above.