5 Creative Ways You Can Use Virtual Reality & Augmented Reality For Employer Branding

You may have heard that virtual reality and augmented reality are the next “big thing” in technology, and how they will revolutionize the way we live, learn, work and play. And they may completely change how we attract, engage and recruit talent in the future as well. 

Wondering if virtual reality and augmented reality are just a fad? Let’s take a look at a few stats and you’ll see why VR and AR are here to stay: 

The AR mobile game “Pokémon Go,” which layers virtual Pokémon characters on top of a player’s real-world surroundings, has an estimated 7.5 million downloads in the U.S. alone since its launch two weeks ago.  

This makes up nearly 6% of all Android devices in the U.S., which may not seem like much. But get this, it already surpassed the number of Tinder installs in just 48 hours. Now, that’s pretty impressive, isn’t it? 

Not only is this AR game app killing it on the downloads chart, its user engagement and daily active users numbers are absolutely mind-blowing. Approximately 3% of all Android users in the U.S. are using the app daily, and at this rate it is on track to beating Twitter in a few more days.  

In terms of active use time, the app has already eclipsed other well-established social networks like Snapchat, Instagram and WhatsApp. Keep in mind that these numbers only account for Android users in the U.S.  

Obviously it’s still too early to say how the AR game app will perform in the long term, but one thing that is certain is people’s appetite for virtual, interactive experiences. It’s why big tech players like Facebook, Google and Microsoft are investing millions of dollars in AR and VR every year. 

According to Deloitte, the VR market is predicted to reach its first billion dollar year in 2016. The leading statistics company Statista forecasts that the VR market will reach a staggering $300 billion in 2020. The total number of active VR users worldwide is projected to reach 90 million in 2017, and will surpass 170 million by 2018, and this number is expected to grow at a very fast rate in the coming years.  

It’s clear that VR and AR are here and won’t be going anywhere anytime soon. So how can you use these technologies to get ahead of the curve and recruit today’s top talent in an increasingly competitive market?

Here are some out-of-box ideas you can use to deliver unique, memorable experiences to your candidates and bring your employer brand to life through augmented and virtual reality:

1. VR Office Tours
Wouldn’t it be great if you’re able to showcase your workplace beyond photos? Well, now you can! With VR videos, you can give candidates an immersive and interactive look into various parts of your company, as if they were physically there taking an office tour in-person.  

As a VR video plays, candidates can move around within the video and explore every angle of the office and see all the real, unscripted moments that happen there, like a high five between two employees or someone telling a joke that brings endless laughs to their coworkers.  

From the lounge area to the kitchen, meeting rooms, office desks, game room and other unique spaces your office has, candidates can get a real sense of what it’s really like walking through the halls of your company. 

If your company has multiple locations, VR can give candidates and even your current employees a chance to explore other offices and see what it would be like working in other parts of the company around the world. 

For your top candidates, you can roll out a true "red carpet" experience by delivering them a free Google Cardboard VR headset they can use to explore and engage with your company. For as little as $15, you can make your top candidates feel extra special and differentiate you from other companies who are approaching them as well.

As part of their recruiting pitch to stand out at campus events, the consumer foods company General Mills is creating a fun, memorable candidate experience through virtual reality. Students can take a virtual tour of the General Mills headquarters in Minneapolis and "see" for themselves what the culture, office, and community looks like. Check out the VR tour below.

2. “A Day In The Life” VR Experiences
Most candidates want to know what it’s like to work in the role they’re interested in before applying. It’s why many companies have started writing blog posts to get employees to share their insights into what “a day in the life of” a specific role may look like.  

With VR videos, you can go beyond words and photos and give candidates the ability to truly experience and see a role through the lens of an employee. Candidates can follow employees and get a closer look at what they would do on a typical day in various roles at your company − from the meetings they attend to the projects they’re working on, and even the co-workers they hang out with at lunch. 

“A day in the life” VR videos offer a completely unique storytelling and brand experience to your candidates that will help you stand out from your competitors and, at the same time, help candidates self-select based on the content they watch, which ultimately improves your recruiting efficiencies by lowering the number of applicants who may not be a good fit.

This German railway company Deutsche Bahn is offering candidates the opportunity to “experience” different roles through VR before applying, getting a close look at what it's like to work as an electrician or train driver.

3. VR Company Events
Engage your candidates more deeply by sharing a 360-degree livestream and recording of both your internal and external events for those who may not be able to participate in-person. 

You can use VR videos for everything from your happy hours to open houses, meetups, hackathons, training workshops, conferences, CSR events and even office holiday parties. 

Unlike today’s video or webinar recordings, VR allows candidates to fully immerse themselves in the event and explore from all angles to get a full picture of the event as well as your office, culture and attendees, as if they were actually attending in-person.

You can even extend your VR livestream or recording to capture the event setup and takedown, giving candidates an exclusive backstage, “behind-the-scene” look at your event, which can be just as interesting and fun as the actual event itself.

The e-commerce startup Jet.com has tapped into VR to deliver candidates an immersive look into the company's culture and office. The VR video below shows one of the Wednesday Tech Talks at Jet.com.

4. AR Recruiting Apps
For candidates who are attending your open houses, meetups or other recruiting events in-person, you can create a Pokémon Go-like AR mobile game app that gives them the opportunity to physically explore your office, learn more about the company culture and network with your employees.  

When candidates complete the game, company branded swags can be given out as prizes. Now, doesn’t that sound like a much more engaging and meaningful experience for both your candidates and employees? 

Another AR idea that can help you deliver a positive and more memorable candidate experience is by offering candidates an app that they can use onsite when they are waiting for their interview. This can include their interview schedule, fun and personal bits about their interviewers and, when they point their phone at certain objects in your office, they can watch employee testimonials and other short employer brand videos to get them even more excited about joining your company.    

And finally, differentiate your employer brand by offering an AR app that allows candidates to point their phone at your company logo or office and can immediately get more information about your company, culture, teams, projects and job openings that are currently available at that location.

This New Zealand banking and financial services company ASB has created an AR app to promote their corporate sector opportunities to potential candidates, including resume writing and interview tips and to view and apply for opportunities with the company.

5. VR Chats & Challenges
Take your recruiter Twitter chats, blogs and videos to the next level with VR. As VR devices become more mainstream, you can create virtual rooms that allow candidates to connect and chat with your recruiters and employees in real-time, to learn more about your company culture, current openings and hiring process and tips.

Facebook’s Oculus has already introduced many made-for-VR games that let people team up with friends or compete with others around the world. In the future, for example, you may be able to create VR coding and sales challenges that you can use to screen applicants, while at the same creating a fun and engaging application process for your candidates.

What do you think? What other ways can companies use virtual reality and augmented reality to boost their recruiting and employer branding efforts? Please share your ideas below!

Be sure to come back next week! We’re going to share some additional AR ideas you can use for talent attraction!

Do you need help with building or optimizing your recruiting and employer brand strategy? Contact me here and let’s chat about how we can help your organization with attracting and hiring top talent