Where do you live?
If you don’t know enough about Second Life, you must read this article:
Carol Lewis – The Times: April 19, 2007
The obvious response to anyone who spends very long in the virtual world is to tell them to get a life but if they are visiting Second Life they may already have a more interesting one than you suppose.
Second Life is a 3-D virtual world inhabited by more than five million users. The currency is Linden dollars, named after Second Life’s creators Linden Laboratories and users’ virtual beings are called avatars. It is, quite literally, another world.
It’s not just for geeks though: corporations are increasingly looking at how they can benefit from merging real and virtual worlds. And one of the key areas in which Second Life is creating excitment is recruitment.
Yell, the Yellow Pages company, is among those exploring the potential of Second Life. It has posted T-shirted career advisers in the virtual world. The career adviser avatars chat to residents and answer questions about working at Yell. There are also four yellow telepone-style boxes strategically placed around Second Life where users can access the company’s careers website. Isobel Hung, head of national resourcing at Yell UK, says: “We are not trying to increase the number of applicants for jobs. We’re seizing the opportunity to reach people we wouldn’t normally be able to and raise awareness about Yell. The kind of people who are using Second Life may have just the right blend of creativity and innovation that we’re looking for in our future talent.”
It’s not just the candidates who are cutting-edge. David Coombs, regional head of digital at the recruitment marketing company TMP World-wide, says: “Companies that want to be seen as cutting edge and want to be associated with the technology are getting involved in Second Life recruitment initiatives.”
TMP has built an island in Second Life where it will host recruitment fairs and events it is organising its first fair for six large US IT and telecommunications companies. The invitation-only event will include opportunities to tour replica offices, talk to employees, download information and attend presentations, initial interviews and assessment centres. “You can literally show a candidate the company they might work for right down to where the toilets and watercoolers are. They can meet and talk to employees. It is a really engaging, powerful tool,” he says.
The management consultancy Bain & Company agrees. It recently invited MBA students from US business schools who had applied for internships to a recruitment event with senior Bain staff in Second Life. The company has built a virtual recruitment centre complete with networking areas, auditorium and information stands where visitors can watch videos and slide shows and download information.
Bill Neuenfeldt, head of Bain’s global schools recruiting programme, says: “Feed-back has been great. The next step is to expand the type of events we use this wonderful venue for.” Events could include global staff meetings, seminars and workshops. This is a route that the IT consultancy IBM has already taken aside from recruitment events it holds senior staff meetings and corporate hospitality events in Second Life.
But will we lose the ability to interact face-to-face and is networking really networking without real world drinks and canapés? Neuenfeldt says that personal communication skills will always be important to client-orientated businesses. “It is a wonderful way to enhance the [recruitment] process but I don’t think it will ever replace personal interaction and meetings.” Coombs agrees: “We still need to see [people’s] body language and read their faces.”
So it probably pays not to be too fanciful when designing your avatar.