Written by Michael Hibberd and

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Augmented reality (“AR”) is becoming more and more prominent. Put simply, AR is technology that superimposes a computer-generated image onto a user’s view of the real world. While often confused with virtual reality (“VR”), the two concepts are distinct. VR offers a complete immersion experience that shuts out the physical world, in contrast to AR, where images are imposed into the physical surroundings.

While AR has been seen in many non-professional scenarios (such as the 2016 craze of “Pokémon Go,” where users could wander around towns and cities to “catch” cartoon characters superimposed into real-life locations), a bigger market for its use in professional spheres is emerging.

Recruitment is one scenario with potential for AR and VR. In 2017, Jaguar launched a mixed reality app to recruit electronic and software engineers. The app was based in the “home” of the virtual pop band Gorillaz. Applicants who used the app and completed the second stage codebreaking puzzle were fast-tracked into employment.

Other companies use VR to give virtual tours of their offices (for example at career fairs). Well known users of VR in their recruitment include PwC (for some of their American offices), General Mills, the British Army and Deutsche Bahn. It was reported that applications for roles from job fairs for Deutsche Bahn following the introduction of the VR tour increased by around 400%.

AR and VR have the potential to reveal a lot more than can be gleaned solely from a CV and traditional face to face interview process. It allows applicants to be placed into practical scenarios to reveal their problem-solving skills and practical approach to real-life problems. Time invested in such schemes may also make organisations more attractive to employees, who gain a greater feel at the outset of what it would be like to work for the organisation.

The use of AR and VR in recruitment is still at an early stage. If more success stories arise on the uses of the technology, we may see more organisations following suit. However, the greatest challenge for companies utilising AR and VR will be ensuring that they retain a broad and diverse range of candidates, with such technologies seemingly more geared towards the next generation of applicants who may be more comfortable with the everyday use of the technologies.

4th September 2018