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How to use virtual reality and video to recruit fairly and remotely

Much has been said in recent months about virtual hiring and onboarding. But what are the best tools for this? Two experts share their insight on common pitfalls and optimal approaches using VR and video.

Recording video for friends to see later is something that anyone with an Internet connection and at least one social network account has been doing for a decade. From Instagram to TikTok, asynchronous video production and consumption is just a part of our culture. And with the rise of the metaverse and a renewed focus on virtual reality (VR) that hasn’t been seen since the late 1980s, it’s only natural that these two pathways to the talent search are being embraced.

While VR and asynchronous video aren’t the same thing, they are used much in the same way and can help with some of the same issues.

As reported by PwC’s The Future of Recruiting whitepaper, 65% of candidates said they’re more likely to consider taking a role if they had a chance to experience the actual job through technology. Virtual reality is particularly intriguing to 64% of in-demand workers, while 55% said they’re interested in video game style, interactive interviews, PwC reported.

Similarly, the number of companies using video interviews, including async, has risen drastically since 2019, and is still on the rise. Gartner reported that last year 86% of surveyed business leaders said they’d used video interviewing in recruitment.

HR Grapevine has had the opportunity to speak with two leaders in VR and asynchronous video recruitment: respectively, Luke Parry, Director of Global Consulting at talent acquisition firm Cielo and Euan Cameron, Co-Founder at Willo, a UK-based asynchronous video interview platform. The two recruitment and onboarding specialists offer their insights in how to make the technology work best for your needs. For example, do you want to use VR, or just pre-recorded video? And how can both help with recruiting neurodivergent people?

HRGV: How does using VR in recruitment avoid implicit biases that negatively impacts both the candidate and the employer?

Luke Parry: Implicit biases – stereotypes we act on subconsciously – can have negative effects on recruitment simply because a human is assessing another human. Reducing implicit biases using VR can help boost DEI&B (diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging) in the workforce, which then can have positive impacts on business outcomes, not least by making your organisation seem more attractive to a diversity of cultures and working styles.

Modern technology such as VR may help with curtailing implicit biases or stereotypes. For example, using VR, an interviewer would be presented with an avatar or virtual representation of the interviewee. This could negate the effects of implicit biases against visible disabilities or individuals with ADHD or Autism who might behave in a way they wouldn’t usually behave during interviews [e.g., due to interview nerves or feeling over-stimulated or unsure where to look].

The introduction of VR could facilitate a shift in recruitment to where an interviewer isn’t required at all – reducing all implicit bias from the equation. The implications of this might be profound, relying on advanced AI to accurately assess a candidate for a role. This could also have time-saving and cost reduction benefits.

55% said they’re interested in video game style, interactive interviews

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