Friday, October 03, 2008

Recruitment in the age of Second Life

Missouri's state government is struggling to manage the need to competitively attract and hire IT professionals in the face of a wave of baby boomer retirements.

Their solution, as detailed in the NextGov article, Cat's in the Bag!, has been to explore new (and cheap) ways to reach young professionals - even when they come dressed as a cat with a red bowtie to the first job interview.

The CIO of Missouri has been holding virtual career fairs using Second Life.

As discussed in the article, it's important to seek new employees where they congregate and feel comfortable, rather than solely relying on techniques that worked in the past, but do not reflect the cultural bent of highly qualified applicants today.

Seeking technologists and trolling for employees with disabilities in virtual worlds makes sense. Techies are well represented there due to their curiosity about new computer frontiers. And the disabled, especially those with physical handicaps, often are attracted to worlds where those problems no longer hinder them.

For an investment of only a few hundred dollars per year in virtual worlds his ROI is excellent - and the little cat with the red bowtie, the avatar of a recent computer engineering graduate, now has a job at Missouri's Department of Natural Resources.

The opportunity cost for other organisations not yet using digital aid recruitment tools is only likely to grow over time.

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