Does new Pokémon GO game reveal future of graduate recruitment?

App may point towards additional strategy for talent acquisition, engagement
By Kate Smedley
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 08/08/2016

If recent events have demonstrated one thing, it’s the ability of augmented reality to attract and hold the attention of millions of people around the world. Pokémon GO has become the world’s most downloaded app, prompting concern about its ability to distract users in the workplace. 

Boeing quickly became the first company to ban its use during working hours. Daily time spent in Pokémon GO by the average IOS user outstrips the most popular apps such as Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter and Instagram.

Social media, artificial intelligence (AI), wearables and virtual reality are already driving digital recruitment. Virtual reality allows employers to reach a wider talent pool by offering online assessments and video interviews that reduce both the time and cost of hire. 

A recent article from Jessica Stillman in Inc magazine also promoted the idea of virtual reality having the potential to reduce bias in hiring in the future. Is augmented reality the next step?

Since traditional hiring processes aren’t always effective in attracting top graduate talent, digital technologies have emerged as an alternative recruitment marketing and engagement tool. 

For example:

Gamification: Gamification is used by several companies, including Lloyds Banking Group, KPMG and Deloitte, to attract high-achieving graduates and is effective in identifying skilled candidates as well as enabling employers to speed up the hiring process in a competitive market. 

Fifty-seven per cent of the United Kingdom is involved in gaming on a regular basis, with companies such as PwC using dedicated online games such as Multipoly across all of its hiring process.

Virtual office tours: The reality of working in most offices is generally mundane and routine. Innovative exceptions come from global brands such as Google or Lego, which recently unveiled its new London offices, designed to mimic an environment constructed entirely from Lego blocks. 

Virtual tours can, however, be used to introduce candidates to their potential future employer to provide insight into company culture.

Wearables: Wearables used in graduate recruitment offer a number of advantages. For instance, they provide insight into the hiring process, when combined with HR analytics. They also help HR to understand the behavioural patterns of candidates, including their response to stress during interviews. 

These come with caveats, of course, requiring candidate permission and careful analysis to ensure objective assessments during hiring. 

Augmented reality: As digital technology rapidly advances, Pokémon GO may point towards an additional strategy for future talent acquisition and engagement. 

It allows users to work in teams via their mobile devices, which may have the potential for companies assessing the collaboration skills of graduates, for example. For some, this can prove problematic when making the transition from an educational environment that discourages teamwork into their first job. 

Augmented reality is in the future but should not be ruled out. Google is reportedly moving ahead with a headset that mixes virtual and augmented reality and doesn’t require the use of a mobile device or computer.

Social media: Away from the potential of augmented reality, employers must also consider social media’s role in attracting and retaining graduate talent. Access to social media was ranked “important” by over two-thirds of students when making a career choice, according to Expectations of Work by job search app Debut, which surveyed 12,000 students.
Only an annual pay rise was considered more important. 

The freedom to use social media is a major attraction for a generation brought up on 24-7 connectivity. That said, pay rises and health care are also assumed to be a given. 

How this sits alongside the distracting use of Pokémon GO is yet another factor to be considered.

Obstacles to digital growth
The principal obstacle to growth lies in the shortage of basic digital skills in the U.K. workforce. Empowerment: The Barclays Digital Development Index ranks the U.K. seventh out of 10 countries in content creation and coding skills. 

Just over one-third (38 per cent) of employers train staff in essential digital skills, leaving the U.K. outranked by countries such as Estonia and South Korea. 

To add to the concern, the CBI found that nearly one-third of U.K. businesses are concerned about the lack of basic numeracy and literacy skills among young people.

This will be exacerbated by the shortage of jobseekers entering the workforce. The government’s 2016 Working Future Report predicted a rise in the total number of jobs of 1.8 million between 2014 to 2024. These numbers will not be matched by the graduates and school leavers.

The potential of augmented reality epitomized by Pokémon GO in recruitment is not easy to predict. 

As concern continues over the impact of Brexit, human resources must continue to navigate its way through a hazardous jobs market while embracing digital technologies in all aspects of talent management processes.

A recruitment and HR expert, Nottingham, U.K.-based Kate Smedley writes on behalf of Advorto, provider of recruitment software. 

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