We might not be working in the metaverse, but some recruiters still think it can be useful

Who wants to hire an avatar?
article cover

Fidelity Investments

· 3 min read

A little over a year ago, with hype and excitement swirling around the metaverse, it seemed remote work was poised for a virtual revolution. Tech giants poured money into the idea: Microsoft signaled its metaverse ambitions through the acquisition of gaming giant Activision Blizzard for almost $70 billion, and Facebook, which had rebranded to Meta in October 2021, positioned itself as the leader in the space.

Once touted as a medium for strengthening connections in disconnected times (and battling burnout), the metaverse hype has in recent months been eclipsed by generative AI. Companies that once vyed to position themselves at the vanguard of the technology have shuttered their metaverse operations, as some ask if the metaverse is on death’s door.

Not everyone is abandoning the metaverse, however. Fidelity Investments, for one, sees an opportunity not in constructing wholesale virtual worlds for daily work, but for hosting recruiting events in the metaverse to hire technical talent.

In April, Fidelity held its first two recruiting events in the Metaverse and has plans to host more, Kirsten Kuykendoll, Fidelity’s head of talent acquisition, explained to HR Brew.

Attendees wore VR headsets and were represented on screen via avatar, although nobody’s avatar had legs, HR Brew observed while watching the event. Despite recent doubts about the value of the metaverse, Kuykendoll said virtual worlds are conducive to one-off recruiting events, writing in an email: “Within the environment, candidates were able to communicate through expressive avatars, use 3D spatial audio, and experience custom interactive exercises.”

During the event, attendees drifted around Fidelity’s virtual space, and attended presentations on life at the company. According to Kuykendoll, 500 people registered for both events, some of whom have applied for jobs at the company.

HR is challenging. HR news doesn’t have to be.

News built to help HR pros grow their impact & improve the future of work.

Candidates’ avatars floated in front of a large, digital screen that showcased stats on Fidelity perks. When attendees changed locations, they teleported into new, virtual locales.

Recruiting techies in such a format makes sense for Fidelity, because, as Kuykendoll put it,  “Events like this give us the ability to showcase our technology and meet people who have the skills we need where they already are (online).”

Zoom out. VR job fairs became more popular with recruiters during the pandemic, though some questioned their effectiveness. Last February, the recruiting company Hirect held a recruiting fair for 200 attendees to meet with recruiters from startups backed by the venture fund Y-Combinator. Reporting on the event, Insider noted the tech was error prone and half of the content would have worked better on a Zoom call. Avatars did appear to have legs, however.

The French retail multinational Carrefour Group also experimented with the format nearly a year ago (attendees did not have legs or many other distinct features, according to a video of the event). Korean electronics giant LG also drew job-seekers to a virtual job fair last year, while the digital consultancy Capgemini hosted a metaverse college fair for recent graduates last October.

Meta did not return an email request for comment concerning how many companies are using virtual worlds for recruiting purposes.—SB

HR is challenging. HR news doesn’t have to be.

News built to help HR pros grow their impact & improve the future of work.