Virtual Reality’s Place in Your Workplace

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When Nintendo released the Virtual Boy gaming console in 1995, that early virtual reality (VR) device flopped both commercially and critically. In the past couple of years, though, several affordable—and successful—VR devices (such as Oculus Rift, Google’s Daydream, Samsung’s Gear VR, and the VR One from optics giant Zeiss) have hit the consumer market. Right now, the most popular VR applications are games and movies. But just imagine how VR could revolutionize recruitment, which faces the never-ending challenge of finding candidates with the right skill sets in a shrinking applicant pool.

In this digital age, consumers do their product research online before making purchases in stores. Similarly, applicants research your company before walking into your office for an interview. Take that approach one step further: what if applicants could take a virtual tour of your company? Or use VR to “try out” for a day the jobs they’re applying for? Educated consumers make confident decisions. Giving applicants a chance to explore their potential jobs and work environments could translate into higher interview-to-hire ratios and improved employee retention.

Now think about the possibilities for using VR to streamline the recruitment and onboarding processes. Video interviews are now commonplace. But with glitchy technology and camera angles that often force participants to look at screens instead of at each other, the current “remote interview” experience still leaves much to be desired. Because the point of virtual reality is to deliver as immersive an experience as possible, the use of VR is used in remote interviews can help participants have “face to face” conversations and feel as though they’re actually in the same room together.

VR can also be a useful assessment tool. Written tests have been standard for screening candidates for decades, but they can’t measure everything. With VR-based assessments, companies can test applicants’ skills in areas such as customer service, driving, and project or team management. Instead of answering questions about how they would handle workplace challenges, candidates can—through a VR scenario—demonstrate how they would actually respond to them.

Developers are just starting to explore the many possibilities of VR. Once they look beyond entertainment and turn their full attention to recruitment- and hiring-oriented applications, that shift will very likely turn the business world on its head!