Thursday, May 10, 2007

Recruiting: High-tech companies go virtual

I am about to graduate from BYU with a bachelor's degree in CS, and have began my job search. I signed up for an erecruiting account where my school has an account with Experience Inc. The system is set up so that interested companies can view my resume and send me job opportunities while I finish up my last segment of schooling.

I received this email this morning.

Dear Students:

Representatives from Hewlett Packard have released the following opportunity.

HP will be interviewing in the virtual world for real-world jobs! This is a first for HP and encourage BYU students to try it out, especially if they are already Second Life players. Those interested can go to the following web address:

Good Luck!
Career Placement Services

Second life is virtual world where "Residents can explore, meet other Residents, socialize, participate in individual and group activities, create and trade items (virtual property) and services from one another." []

Most companies have an multiple-contact interview process. Its kind of like tryouts on a high school sports team with multiple cuts. After each interview you sit around waiting to know "Did I make the cut?". For technical positions the first interview is usually with a non-technical person who weeds out their stack of candidates. If you made the cut, you reach the second interview with a more technical person, sometimes as a phone interview depending on your location. After 4-6 contacts they have weeded their candidate pool down to the point they often invite you to their facilities and make you an offer.

Human Resource managers who are involved in the hiring process try to make the best decisions they can based on how you will fit into the company culture, your goals, your passions, and your technical abilities. But how they are trying to measure this using Second Life I just don't know. I mean they may as well have an HP LiveChat operator waiting to assist you and you can sign up for an interview.

For my job I've had to interview before, and I don't understand how an interviewer could adequately determine how someone could work in the real world at HP with a virtual interview. In an interview you are trying to make use of every piece of information available to you to learn about the individual and make the best decision you can.

I guess it makes sense though, if you're being interviewed for a satellite job or a job like HP Second Life Advertising, where you'll never talk to you boss face to face in real life anyway.

While I do respect HP as a company, do they really think they make good decision using Second Life? Or are they just using this as a marketing tactic to lure people into their potential candidate pool who would otherwise not be included? Are they just doing this for the first interview? Or are they trying to use Second Life for every interview?

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