virtual reality in recruitment - how can your organization benefit?

The opportunities of using virtual reality in recruitment are many.

The virtual reality space is going through a phase of exciting growth, with forecasts suggesting that this trend will continue in the coming years. By 2022, the augmented and virtual reality market could have a total value of more than US$209 billion, up from US$27 billion in 2018.

This could lead to some exciting opportunities for employers that are committed to innovation in HR and workforce management.

So how exactly is virtual reality impacting recruitment, and how can you turn it to your advantage?

Setting challenges

Virtual reality and related technologies could provide an entirely new and exciting way for employers to test the skills and ingenuity of job candidates.

Jaguar Land Rover took this approach last year, when it teamed up with the virtual band Gorillaz to "seek new engineering talent via alternate reality".

The British car manufacturer used the band's mixed-reality app to add a dash of innovation and novelty to its recruitment methods, presenting users with a code-breaking challenge to test their electronics and software engineering skills. Successful players were fast-tracked through Jaguar Land Rover's hiring process.

As well as helping with candidate assessment, this sort of approach gives applicants an unusual experience that they will remember, boosting brand profile and recognition for the employer.

Giving virtual tours

If certain key roles within your organization require people to be based in different locations and environments, virtual reality can be a highly effective way to show candidates where they could be working.

This immersive technology lets people take a first-person look at their possible future workplace, whether it's an office or somewhere altogether more unusual. The British Army's recent deployment of virtual reality gave participants a taste of tank driving at Salisbury Plain and parachuting at RAF Brize Norton.

By giving candidates a clear and compelling insight into their working environment, you improve their understanding of what the job entails. This helps you to ensure that the people you are interviewing really want to work for you.

Engaging with young, tech-savvy candidates

Age diversity in the workforce is important and can prove extremely beneficial. If you are looking for the right combination of youth and experience in your organization, appealing to young, ambitious candidates is just as important as keeping your seasoned staff happy and fulfilled.

Deploying virtual reality in the recruitment process can be an effective way to engage with and capture the interest of young, switched-on professionals, for whom cutting-edge technology is a key part of life and work.

One organization that has recognized the potential of virtual reality to appeal to younger individuals is Deutsche Bahn, a Berlin-based mobility and logistics provider.

After concerns were raised about the number of existing employees approaching retirement, the company decided to start taking virtual reality headsets to careers fairs. This gave attendees an insight into certain roles with the firm.

Deutsche Bahn saw immediate results, with head of talent acquisition Kerstin Wagner pointing out that use of the headsets led to instant and focused interest from users. She also said it has led to higher-quality applications from people who have a better idea of what to expect from certain roles.

Testing practical skills

It can be a challenge to replicate practical, day-to-day challenges employees are likely to encounter in their jobs during the interview and assessment process.

Some employers are using virtual reality as a way to overcome this, effectively placing candidates into the kinds of situations they could find themselves in should they join the company.

Commonwealth Bank of Australia, for example, built an entire virtual reality careers experience and app to provide an insight into the bank's working culture and test candidates' aptitude for agile thinking.

As recruitment methods continue to evolve in the coming years, this sort of forward-thinking approach to technology looks set to prove more important than ever. Virtual reality could be one of a number of fields of experimentation and innovation that hold great promise for employers.