Tech & Tools: May/June 2022

IN FOCUS: Recruiting in the metaworld

When Facebook changed its corporate name to Meta in 2021, it triggered a wave of media stories about how the metaverse – an immersive 3D virtual space where anything seems possible – might affect our lives. There seemed little doubt that this virtual world would become a reality given tech giants such as Google and Microsoft were also ploughing huge investment into the sector.

For most of us, though, at least outside of industries like gaming, the metaverse is yet to make an impact on our lives but to dismiss it as hype would be wrong. A survey carried out by global management consulting firm McKinsey revealed that 95% of business leaders expect the metaverse to have a positive impact on their industry within five to 10 years and 61% reckon it will change the way they operate.

Indeed, it isn’t difficult to envisage how it might impact recruitment in areas like online recruitment fairs and virtual assessment. Moreover, the metaverse uses technologies such as virtual and augmented reality, which are already familiar to some recruiters. Plus, the concept of the metaverse builds on the remote and virtual working mindset shift that many recruiters had to adopt to survive during the pandemic.

The use of the metaverse in recruitment is far from new. Fast backward in time to 2007 to the virtual world of Second Life, which likes to call itself the ‘first metaverse’ or the ‘original metaverse’. It famously held a recruitment fair, which attracted names such as Microsoft, Verizon and Hewlett-Packard while Manpower Incorporated was among the companies with a Second Life office and staged a live event inside the virtual universe called The Evolution of the Virtual Workplace, featuring avatars of real people.

ManpowerGroup continues to innovate in this area and at the Viva Technology start-up and tech event in Paris in June is set to unveil The New Human Age lab, which it says explores the intersection of talent and technology. It will showcase a number of innovations including the Experis Academy in the metaverse (Experis being ManpowerGroup’s IT professional resourcing, project services and managed services specialist), as well as augmented and virtual reality (VR) learning, immersive onboarding and upskilling.

Last year, Hays became one of the first recruitment agencies to enter the metaverse. At the time, Alfie Whattam, founder of software engineering recruitment company Alfa Technology, was involved in the project as then UK&I national lead, Hays Software Development Recruitment. He explains that the Web3 landscape was exploding in popularity, so he built an office for Hays in VR, and publicly released the room as a “minimum viable product” pilot. He is now involved in an advanced metaverse project at Alfa, which aims to create a VR workroom for the purpose of hiring leaders and quizzing candidates for their respective companies. The artificial intelligence, machine learning, and blockchain technology which underpins this platform is being spearheaded by Dr Linda Yu, chief research officer at Alfa Technology.

“The history of job interviews has always been driven by the advancement of innovative technologies – from in-person meetings, to telephone calls, to video platforms like Zoom,” says Whattam.

According to the World Economic Forum, at this early stage the metaverse can develop in many ways, depending on research, innovation, investment and policy. It is working with technology and other sector companies alongside experts, academics and civil society to accelerate the development of governance and policy frameworks to ensure a viable, interoperable, safe and inclusive metaverse. It is itself building a Global Collaboration Village as the virtual future of public-private co-operation in collaboration with Accenture and Microsoft, which will comprise immersive spaces where stakeholders can convene.

The other side of the metaverse discussion for recruiters, of course, is the potential for it to create many more jobs. Accenture operates its own metaverse, the Nth floor, where the employees participate in new hire orientation and immersive learning or meet as teams. It reported in March 2022 that the company expects 150,000 or more new hires will work in the metaverse on their first day over the fiscal year.

Key developments this year which could help to shape the future of adoption could be the announcement by Apple at its next developer conference in June of a mixed reality headset. Meanwhile, McKinsey sums up the future challenge of the metaverse to organisations from all sectors well when it says “it’s too big to ignore – yet its future is far from certain”, adding that companies need to “dip a toe in the water and plan to plunge should developments warrant”.

In brief

Generative AI tool aims to transform talent processes

Talent lifecycle platform specialist Beamery has launched TalentGPT that uses its own proprietary artificial intelligence (AI), as well as OpenAI’s GPT-4 technology and large language models (LLMs) to create more personalised experiences for recruiters, candidates and employees. It can generate new job descriptions and make them highly relevant to the skills that organisations lack and the capabilities that make individuals high performers. It can also generate and contextualise email templates to the exact candidate audience an employer is trying to reach. Beamery’s proprietary AI technology has been developed across three years and tracks more than 17 billion data points.

Taking the manual effort out of recruiting

The developers behind Recruiting CRM carried out research with more than 1000 recruitment professionals to identify their major main points. It revealed that for many, the major issue remains the time and effort spent on manual tasks and lack of specialised solutions. Recruiting CRM is a recruiting management platform designed specifically to help small recruitment agencies and independent recruiters reduce the time spent on such repetitive processes. Recruiters can streamline workflows and spend more time on value added tasks. The platform is integrated with the TalentRoom recruiting marketplace which allows recruiters to showcase their candidates anonymously.

Borderless team-building

G-P Meridian is a customisable SaaS employment product suite designed for companies to build and manage teams. It has been developed by Globalisation Partners which is committed to helping companies build “borderless teams” in minutes. G-P Meridian Suite provides a control centre for building and managing teams from a single dashboard and modules of the suite include G-P Meridian Core for onboarding, management and compliance, and Prime for enhanced support and global management. It also offers G-P Meridian Select, which is a set of standalone solutions and add-ons.

Image credit | iStock

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