Virtual recruitment

A little bit of Penna insight and thinking.

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25 Jan 2016

Social, Developer, Innovation

Virtual recruitment

360 degree cameras and virtual reality headsets are changing the way we experience video content.  

Videos filmed in 360 degrees really came into their own in 2015. The idea is that instead of recording a specific angle using a conventional video camera, specialised cameras are used to capture all angles and directions simultaneously. The result is then served to the user in a way that allows them to choose which angle they are viewing from – in essence it allows them to look around the scene as if they were actually there.

The technology has been around for a few years, but it really only started gaining traction when Google began offering 360 functionality on its video behemoth YouTube. Visitors use the position of their mice to change the viewing angle on videos uploaded in the 360 format. This was used by Samsung as part of their Rugby World Cup 2015 marketing activity, and there are many great examples on the 360 channel on https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCzuqhhs6NWbgTzMuM09WKDQ

Not far behind was Facebook, who launched their own 360 video offering with a rather well timed tie-in with the upcoming Star Wars film, The Force Awakens. In case you hadn’t noticed, it’s out this month, and it’s kind of a big deal.

https://www.facebook.com/StarWars/videos/1030579940326940/

This is perhaps unsurprising as Facebook is investing a lot in offering more and better video features on its platform, seeing it as a key part of its future success.

Virtual reality

While these videos are pretty impressive when experienced on conventional screens, the real potential comes from viewing them on virtual reality (VR) headsets, of which Google Cardboard is the most accessible. It’s a simple device, made of cardboard of course, with a couple of lenses and a rubber band, that lets you use your smartphone as a 3D virtual reality headset. We have a few of these over in Digital Corner if you want to try one out.

Sure enough, the Disney marketing machine last week started making use of this to promote The Force Awakens by offering Google Cardboard VR experiences via the Star Wars smartphone app, so you can experience a somewhat realistic Millennium Falcon flying right over your head. It’s great that it makes VR so accessible, but you can’t help but feel that the Google Cardboard is a novelty item and is slightly limited in terms of longer term applications.

Will 2016 be the year of virtual reality?

While we can’t yet play Dejarik, the 3D game C-3PO and Chewbacca play in Star Wars, we’re expecting VR to get serious next year when more high-end virtual reality devices come onto the market. PlayStation VR, formerly Project Morpheus, is due to hit the shelves in early 2016 and is expected to be something of a game-changer, pun intended, for the vast video game industry. Ever since the Nintendo Wii, the industry has been looking for ways to up the ante and bring gaming to a wider audience, and if the line-up of games is anything to go by, this could be the template for the future.

But if all that gaming makes you miss the office, Playstation has released a preview of its upcoming Job Simulator title to try out:

http://blog.eu.playstation.com/2015/12/05/job-simulator-confirmed-for-playstation-vr/

What about the world of recruitment?

As exciting as this is for brands and consumers, there are already some clear applications where this could improve recruitment and student marketing. 

Job previews – Showing what it feels like to actually do a job in a more realistic way has the potential to make jobs more appealing as well as dissuade unsuitable candidates who might have unrealistic expectations. The Army have naturally been experimenting with ways to make this part of their recruitment process for some time.

Office/university tours – If you’re lucky enough to be a recruiter with a great place of work, or a University with a great campus, the ability to quickly and easily show people what it’s like can help drive more interest. This more immersive video can certainly make that happen.

Assessment – similar to the other examples, the world of candidate assessment is often looking for ever more realistic ways of simulating real life. Competency and behaviour can be more accurately assessed if simulations are closer to reality. Providing an immersive, VR experience could be the future of graduate assessment centres.