AR and VR can enhance staff recruitment and training

Lucy George

Monday 14 August 2017

AR and VR technologies are gaining traction – not just in the gaming world, but in business too. Applications within recruitment and training are growing. So how can they be used to attract, train and retain talented staff?

AR and VR have exciting potential in industries of all types, from architecture to retail. VR hardware revenue alone is projected to hit $8.4 billion by 2018.

These nascent technologies can offer customers or employees ‘first-hand’ experiences that might otherwise be unavailable. AR supplements real-world experiences with digital images and information, while VR immerses viewers in a simulated environment.

This can make a big difference to how a message is received, as Dean Johnson, Head of Innovation at creative agency Bandwidth, says: “We retain as much as 80 per cent more when we have experienced something first-hand.”

AR and VR can enhance recruitment by giving prospective employees dynamic and accurate insights into company culture and job roles. In training, they can make presentations more engaging and safety programmes more effective.

They also help companies with multiple global locations deliver consistent onboarding programmes. The U.S. Army, car firms and food manufacturers are among the organisations already using these techniques.

Enriching the recruitment process

VR can be used to reach more candidates, improve communications and refine the selection process. Its uses include:

– Career fair recruitment: Logistics provider Deutsche Bahn uses VR headsets at career fairs. It says VR brings them more interest from job-seekers and higher-quality applications.

– Job-specific insight: Deutsche Bahn also uses VR videos to give potential employees an inside perspective on available roles.

– Candidate testing: Lloyds Banking Group uses VR headsets to set graduates problem-solving tasks within a 360-degree virtual world.

– Video interviews: Recruiters interviewing candidates in remote locations can use VR headsets to simulate in-person interviews. There’s more chance of building rapport, as both participants can tune into body language and other non-verbal cues.

– Company tours: Whether it’s an office, a factory or an oil rig, a virtual tour brings a workplace to life.

Aiding learning and development

Once a candidate is in a role, AR and VR can help them learn, develop skills and do their jobs safely. This could inspire loyalty and boost retention, too. An employee who’s more engaged during induction and ongoing training is more likely to feel supported and less likely to leave prematurely.

AR devices can add visual and auditory guidance to real-life training experiences, such as a mechanic performing a real-life vehicle repair with the help of data goggles.

Virtual training is well established as a core training tool for pilots. NASA astronauts go on virtual spacewalks, and the British Army equips recruits with Oculus Rift headsets that deliver virtual training exercises.

With robot colleagues set to enter the workplace and virtual assistants offering huge business potential, big changes are ahead. AR and VR are especially valuable as recruiters look to hire digital natives who expect a tech-oriented approach.

Meanwhile, the tech industry is increasing its demand for VR specialists. In 2014, there were two VR roles per million job ads on Indeed. By 2016, this had increased 800% to 18 per million. With Mark Zuckerberg projecting a $3 billion spend on VR for Facebook over the next decade, this technology could transform the way we work.

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