How businesses can use VR to enhance the recruitment process


Phillip Blaydes, co-founder of Talentful, explains how VR can improve the recruitment process.

All recruiters have endured painfully awkward interviews with candidates in another city or country over a video call. Just as the prospective new chief number cruncher for GlobalNetCore is getting into their flow about a passion for ebitda, the screen freezes, the sound dies and the moment is lost.

Even when it is working perfectly, the 2D screen experience is far from ideal, leaving a hapless interviewee staring into the laptop camera and creating unnatural body language. The prospective applicant might have the charm of Graham Norton and the mind of Stephen Hawking, but could still fail to shine during a clunky Skype chat.

The good news is that technology has rapidly moved on, and many believe the answer to a better remote interview experience lies in virtual reality.

VR is coming into its own after huge investments from tech giants including Facebook, Samsung and Google, and the first wave of commercial launches. It has the ability to create a personal and realistic experience that cannot be replicated by 2D video.

It’s also offering innovative solutions that are beneficial to various industries, which is why we are seeing companies explore VR’s impact on businesses.

Companies such as Lloyds Bank and Openreach are already embracing VR for training and recruitment purposes and we are likely to see more businesses take it on as the technology improves and becomes more readily available.

Here’s how it can be used:

Attracting applicants

Hiring an employee is a two-way process. It’s not just about the potential employee impressing the employer, but a business needs to attract candidates to apply for roles as well. This is where VR comes into play. You can offer applicants the chance to have an office tour from anywhere in the world. They can get a feel of what it’s like to work for you and get a better understanding of your culture.

Using immersive experiences could improve the quality of candidates that apply. If an individual can get a better feel of what it’s truly like to be one of your employees, they are better equipped to decide whether working for you is right for them. As a result, you are likely to get more candidates applying who are interested in your company culture and how you work.


A large number of employers embraced online video interview software when it first came out. In 2015 a survey by Monster and the University College London’s Business Psychology MSc programme, found that nearly half of all respondents used video interviews as part of their selection process. This allowed companies to access more talent, save time and money, and remove geographical boundaries.

It’s now very common to use Skype (or similar offerings) to interview candidates initially. But as described earlier, in a 2D video interview it can be hard to read someone and get a feel for their personality. VR could be the solution to this. It has the ability to give you an in-depth and realistic insight into what a person is like, by placing you in the room with them. You can read their body language, which most of us rely on to make instinctive decisions, particularly throughout the recruitment process. You can also see how people respond to questions and get a better understanding of how they feel about the task at hand. It allows a higher success rate of culture fit, therefore saving time at later stages.

Skills and assessment

VR can provide significant benefits to any role that requires candidates to demonstrate their skills. Interviewers can set up hypothetical challenges that a person has to solve. They can watch as candidates take on tasks and see how they come up with a solution, handle stress and overcome obstacles.

This is a great way of assessing a candidate’s skill level. The ability to use VR in this way could be revolutionary, especially in industries including engineering and medicine, where showcasing your skills is vital to getting the job.

The challenges

VR is in its early stages of development and is still not widely available. This a barrier that companies face until it becomes more commercial.

The technology can also require significant investment from a company as the necessary equipment is expensive.

VR has the potential to improve and enhance the recruiting process for businesses. Its ability to offer a realistic experience to both employees and employers could change the way we recruit and breakdown current boundaries.

Ultimately, it’s about how accessible and beneficial VR can become. For industries that require people to demonstrate their skills or look to hire people from across the world there is a real benefit to investing in VR.

And hopefully it will signal the death knell of the awkward video call.