A few weeks ago I went to a job fair hosted by Kelly Services. I felt it was time to put myself out there. Not that I’ve completed my degree yet or even have a driver’s license. But these are the inconsequential, minor details that don’t make for a good story and will never get you a job. So, I decided to ignore them and go anyway.
Needless to say it was all very pleasant – dull , insipid word used for effect. I noticed a few other job seekers who I imaged with sophisticated CVs and pockets weighted down by their car keys. I steered clear of them. My aim was to keep a low profile. The recruitment officers all had neat little name tags and they introduced themselves to you if you approached their table. Each table was devoted to a specific career. Oddly enough, they seemed to have overlooked the media profession. I ambled around and then without even attempting any small-talk I left. And all that in a couple of seconds.
That was the first job fair I’ve been to and I guess I was expecting something more ; something out of the ordinary especially since I attended it without leaving my computer. Kelly Services’ virtual jobs fair isn’t the first of its kind. Companies are increasingly resorting to virtual reality as a means recruiting.
Last year several companies ,like Microsoft, held interviews in Second Life , a virtual reality space. Whether you’re inquiring about a job or are being interviewed for one , virtual reality is changing the process for employees and employers alike. Here’s how :
- Since the interview/recruitment process happens in virtual reality companies can decrease their ecological footprint and carbon production as there is no need to travel to a venue and set up the jobs fair.
- In Second Life companies have to buy virtual reality land to hold a job fair but this still works out cheaper than holding one in reality.
- Virtual reality allows employees to play with their identities because you interact with prospective employees through an avatar. You get to design your appearance ; so no more bad hair days. But be sure you are familiar with Second Life before your interview. People have been known to arrive for an interview in jeans or have spent the whole interview standing because they couldn’t operate the programme.
- Also , don’t be fooled , there are gangs who lurk , even in virtual reality, and they can ruin your interview.
It sounds fun , doesn’t it? At one point I was even picturing my avatar and her sleek black suit , crisp white blouse and stiletto heals. But then there is the question of internet accessibility in South Africa and for those who do have access , capped bandwidth is an issue.
So , what does all this mean in a South African context where the reality is that only 5.1 million people have internet access while in North America there are 238 million internet users? While virtual job fairs/interviews may be more efficient ,environmentally greener and may be make the interview process more amiable , they aren’t suitable for South Africa. Small scale job fairs , like the one I attended , could work but forget going on an interview in Second Life. It’s just not practical.
It seems that the old fashioned job fair is alive and well in South Africa. Since I won’t be seeing any of you in Second Life maybe I’ll bump into you at the FNB jobs fair .
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