Today’s technology is allowing potential employers to scout out possible job candidates without actually meeting them. An online virtual community called, “Second Life,” is causing quite the stir in several large corporations nationwide. Many of these businesses are experimenting with this new method to find, screen, and interview potential new hires. This program- owned by Linden Lab in San Francisco- has its job seekers create a type of avatar to represent their true image. This avatar will be used to communicate with prospective employers and executives in the form of an instant message. Whether or not it proves to be an effective recruiting method, the program itself gives a glimpse as to how hiring methods in the future could become.
Just recently, several large corporations put the program to the test at a virtual job fair that was hosted by TMP Worldwide Advertising & Communications LLC. Companies such as Verizon, Microsoft Corp., Sodexho, and Hewlett-Packard were just some of the participating employment entities that were present at the job fair.
This new ingenious way to recruit is yet another avenue from which employers can find employees. At this time, they utilize sites such as Facebook, YouTube, and MySpace- all online networking sites that are fairly easy to navigate. However, as for Second Life, if you’re a job seeker that is less than comfortable with computers and/or technology, your inexperience could be the ax that has your virtual head rolling.
Many folks that have utilized Second Life as a means to networking and job seeking have found it difficult to design and control the avatars they create. One man participated in the online training course for the site offered by TMP prior the virtual job fair. He spent 6 hours trying to design his avatar and learning to navigate the program. He tried to get his avatar as close to his appearance as possible, however, he found he couldn’t dress the avatar professionally for an interview. His ignorance as to how to dress his avatar led him to wear jeans and a pull-over to the interview. Although he experienced no technological problems, he was unable to seat his avatar in a chair, and became confused when several executives from the company asked him questions at the same time. Other participants found their avatars would start to float during the interview. It was very disconcerting for most that were serious about employment with the interviewing entity.
Job seekers weren’t the only ones who found it difficult to control their avatars. An executive’s avatar from the hosting company, Bain & Co., of a recruiting event this spring, slouched over in the middle of a meeting as if it were asleep. But as with anything, time will increase awareness and knowledge of the program and the program itself has only room to improve.
With all Second Life’s quirks and troubles, over 431,000 visitors utilized the site for employment purposes- as per the Web-tracking firm comScore Inc. Employers themselves have found it to be a great avenue to seek out, screen, and interview candidates for their companies. It is especially appealing to new graduates who find it a unique, innovative, and productive way to get your name out there and get hired.
Here’s a word of caution from Financejobz.com to consider before purchasing/downloading this new technology. This software is not compatible with some wireless Internet services, satellite Internet, and dial-up Internet. You also have to have a computer with a certain processor speed and one that has a specific graphics card before it will work effectively.
Is this fast rising recruiting/interviewing tool going to replace other avenues used by job seekers and employers? Probably not. However, it is gaining popularity, and could be another facet for you to utilize in your job hunt. TMP states they are hosting another virtual job fair in August for those who are interested.