Tech & Tools: March/April 2024

Digital glitch effect in abstract virtual reality. Image credit - iStock-1270367789

IN FOCUS: Extending reality

It’s fair to say that extended reality (XR), the overarching term for immersive technologies like virtual, augmented and mixed reality (VR, AR and MR), hasn’t yet found its killer use in recruitment. But could this be about to change with the availability of potentially game-changing hardware this year?

Martyn Makinson is CEO and founder of the recruitment agency FourPointZero, based in Manchester and New York, which specialises in XR talent. Over the past five years, he has seen the adoption of VR, AR and similar technologies being used for collaborative working, onboarding, training and interviewing. Before the pandemic, these technologies were not taken seriously, he says, but the situation shifted during Covid as the technology became the ideal solution to overcome the physical barriers caused by the pandemic.

He noted a significant increase in its usage at this time, especially among major professional services consultancies for onboarding and assessment. “But as the world began to return to normal, interest started to diminish slightly and budgets were redirected,” he says.

Makinson identifies a key challenge in using VR for conducting interviews: “Engaging with an expressionless avatar. Your face says a lot – very often, more than words convey,” he says, adding that this makes many employers reluctant to adopt VR for conducting interviews.

He points out that advancements are being made in VR technology to incorporate facial tracking that can display expressions, yet this development is not widely available or adopted in practice.

Daria Fedko, founder of WeAR Studio, a VR and AR development company, says potentially “no other tool” can give so many insights on user behaviour and experience, cognitive load and more. But she agrees hardware has had its limitations. “Graphics are a consequence of the hardware’s limitations,” she says. “It can’t be super-realistic all of the time.”

But 2024 could be the year that XR starts to fulfil its potential. In February, Apple launched the Apple Vision Pro spatial computer that aims to seamlessly blend digital content with the physical world and enables spatial experiences controlled by what Apple describes as the most “natural and intuitive inputs possible”: a user’s eyes, hands and voice.

Meanwhile, at the CES consumer electronics show in Las Vegas in January, Sony announced it will launch an immersive spatial content creation system later this year, which includes an XR head-mounted display, While the brand has been strongly associated with entertainment and gaming, it says it is also targeting business and industry, and is collaborating with the industrial giant Siemens. Alongside this, it’s also reported Google and Samsung are working on new MR products.

The learning and development world is already making use of the tool. The Tomorrow University of Applied Sciences wasted no time in announcing its Impact MBA x Vision as a native app for the Apple Vision Pro. Students receive the headset as part of the learning programme and can participate in hands-free learning, connect with spatial audio and visuals, as well as make use of shared virtual spaces for interactive studying.

“We want to give our students the opportunity to learn with the latest and best technology, and bringing our online community even closer is hugely important as we grow internationally,” said Dr Thomas Funke, co-founder and co-CEO of Tomorrow University. “The Vision Pro headset allows us to do just that.”

Fedko cites onboarding as one of the prime applications for XR technologies and is currently working on a programme for a pathologist college that helps all employees better understand the work the lab does. For employers and recruiters starting out with XR, she advises starting with a simple minimum viable product (MVP) to validate the idea and collecting feedback. “Set the KPIs [key performance indicators] as for any other tool you use, and make sure you communicate the new XR tool in the right way,” she says. “When it comes to user experience, I recommend taking a real-life scenario and adding things that you wish for in real life, but that are only available in a digital simulation. In XR, you can combine best practices from the physical and digital worlds.”

Recruiters and employers should also explore the use of immersive XR technologies for collaborative working – especially those with international offices – as they can elevate a meeting experience into something far more engaging than standard video conferencing. At this year’s World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos-Klosters in Switzerland, participants from around the world also engaged throughout the week at the virtual Global Collaboration Village. The Village is a purpose-driven platform powered by next-generation XR technologies such as avatars and spatial audio (sometimes called virtual surround sound).

Its value was succinctly summed up by Paul Daugherty, chief technology and innovation officer at Accenture, which partnered with WEF and Microsoft to create the Village. “The metaverse and the broader continuum of virtual reality technologies can completely transform how people work and collaborate,” he said, adding that the Village is a powerful demonstration of how immersive technology can bring people together to address real-world problems and drive change.

Makinson predicts mixed reality is indeed poised to become a transformative technology and even goes as far as saying that it is “ultimately destined to replace mobile phones”. He adds: “It’s the perfect blend of reality and digital connection that will make our interactions seamless and more immersive.”


The logo used for WaveTrackR in the Jan/Feb 2024 issue of Recruiter was not the correct one. We apologise for the mistake and have corrected it in the online issue.

In brief

Beamery Logo

Embedding labour market data in the talent lifecycle

Talent lifecycle specialist Beamery is embedding labour market data into its platform. It aims to provide clients with a real-time picture of skills within their workforce and talent pipeline in relation to their industry/sector and wider labour market. The market insights are contextualised by industry and role type and sit alongside data about employees, candidates, alumni and potential applicants in the Beamery platform.

Accelerating agencies digital transformation

Bullhorn logo

Recruitment and staffing software specialist Bullhorn has acquired Mployee to help accelerate recruitment agencies’ digital transformation journey. Mployee provides Salesforce-based solutions for recruitment agencies, combining Mployee’s middle-office capabilities with the Bullhorn front-office. The acquisition will help Bullhorn deliver its vision for full, end-to-end enterprise solutions for customers using the Salesforce platform.

Delivering inclusive onboarding


Access Screening and accessibility champions Recite Me are joining forces to deliver more inclusive candidate onboarding processes. The organisations are incorporating an assistive toolbar within a screening platform. It is being integrated into Access Screening’s software solution to provide a suite of tools that cater for various accessibility needs, allowing content to be consumed in ways that work best for them.

Smarter, data-driven recruiting


Textkernel, which develops AI-powered recruitment and HR solutions, is partnering with agency CRM specialist Mercury to increase efficiency by offering sourcing, analytics and automation on one platform. Their aim is to enhance the recruitment experience for candidates and recruiters with smarter, more data-driven solutions. Key features will include enhanced data parsing; comprehensive labour market insights; and advanced skills intelligence.

Image credit | iStock

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