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Now hiring: A Pokemon Go player

Woodbine racetrack takes global phenomenon to the heart of the HR function
Pokemon Go
People play Pokemon Go in an urban park in Rio de Janeiro during the 2016 summer Olympics.

By Todd Humber

I’ll admit it — I like Pokemon Go. It’s fun and a little addictive.

I don’t have the teenage fervour gripping many — like my partner’s 15-year-old son who, on a recent trip to Greece, made the unfortunate error of snorkelling for 45 minutes with his iPhone in his shorts. The Mediterranean may be beautiful to look at, but its salty brine doesn’t play well with gadgetry.

His post-Pokemon funk was alleviated only when he got his hands on his mother’s smartphone, where he was able to happily stroll among the ruins of Greek civilization in search of Magmars and Ponytas to add to his Pokedex.

It’s also really good at getting people out and about. I mused (only slightly tongue in cheek) about the wellness benefits of embracing the quest for Pokemon in the workplace.

But the Woodbine Entertainment Group in Toronto — which runs the famous Woodbine horse racing track — found a way to take Pokemon from the fringes of HR practices to its heart: Recruitment. Pavlo Farmakidis, a recruitment co-ordinator in the people experience department at Woodbine, alerted Canadian HR Reporter to its strategy.

The company is hiring — and this is no joke — a Pokemon Go Administrator for a job fair it is running on Aug. 21. It’s only a one day gig, but that literally is all the person needs to know how to do: Play Pokemon Go.

The idea is simple. The company is going to drop lures all over its racetrack — they attract the wild Pokemon that players can catch. Which means these virtual lures are going to attract real potential employees to the job fair.

The job ad states: “The idea is for jobseekers to come meet the WEG Recruitment Team, get familiar with some of our departments and drop off a resumé. All the while taking advantage of wild Pokemon appearing from the Pokemon Lures that will be set throughout the job fair.”

Woodbine already has three Pokestops and one Pokemon Training Gym — and if that means nothing to you, well, then you need not apply. The successful hire — and don’t get too excited, it’s just a one-day gig — will be setting off the lures, among other responsibilities.

Not only will the lures help attract jobseekers, the company is also hoping a younger generation of potential customers likes what it sees when it visits the track and wants to come back again.

In this court, it’s a genius move. It gets a host of tech-savvy youngsters flooding to a job fair in an industry that isn’t necessarily top of mind for the next generation. Good on you, HR.

Todd Humber

Todd Humber is the publisher and editor-in-chief of Canadian HR Reporter, the national journal of human resource management. Follow him on Twitter @ToddHumber
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