As the most geek-minded among you readers may know, the Virtual Reality (VR) revolution is back in full swing. What was arguably an uncomfortable, surreal experience in the 90s, VR platforms (basically, Lawnmower Man on a limited budget and not very useful or fun) has now become the next big thing.
What’s happened is the conjunction of high quality, cheap LED screens from smartphones with realistic-looking 3D environments and engines. Oculus’ Rift became the leader of the VR pack after a successful Kickstarter which led to Facebook buying Oculus.
That sale grabbed a lot of headlines and given the high caliber talent involved, like John Carmack (lead developer of DOOM and Quake, among others) it seems like everyone is now aware that the VR revolution is finally happening. The promised (virtual) land is coming!
Although it is an exciting time, let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Don’t get me wrong, VR does have a tremendous upside, but there are still many questions surrounding the Rift and other similar projects from Valve and Sony. First and foremost, the dork factor, in other words, would you really sit in your living room with your face looking like one of Daft Punk’s robots? How will that impact your family life? And let’s not forget those of us who wear prescription glasses. It can’t be fun having a LED screen pressed to your eyeballs and you can’t expect it not to be harmful.
But if you leave all that aside, and consider that Facebook and Sony are touting this tech, it means they see potential not only for gaming, but for other social activities. Think about putting a webcam at a family gathering you can’t attend, and saying hello and looking around and then just watching and laughing remotely… kind of weird, isn’t it?
Now, consider Recruiting: a highly specialized activity that involves social connections and (ideally) in-person interviews. How would it benefit from VR?
For example, you could:
- Get candidates to visit your offices remotely, by having a 3D simulation of your offices so they could walk around it and maybe even “talk” to avatars. Or combining the VR tech with a robo-walker with a mounted tablet you could control remotely so you can “visit” the actual offices?
- Conduct online job fairs that are more interactive than the current ones, where instead of clicking through a crass simulation of a fair with horrible booths you could visit realistic booths that could lead you into the company’s 3D simulation.
- Set up immersive interactive problem-solving games using 3D landscapes (think a combination of Portal and Code Hero) where applicants can show their adaptive and on-your-feet thinking skills.
Granted, these things can only happen if VR becomes as widespread as Facebook and Sony hope it to be. That is, unless VR is just a fad and the real game changer turns out to be some version of Kinect or Augmented Reality… But that’s a topic for another post.