You are currently viewing Looking for a job?  You Could Be Hired Through The Metaverse, Experts Say

Looking for a job? You Could Be Hired Through The Metaverse, Experts Say

Visitors view an immersive art installation titled “Machine Hallucinations Space: Metaverse” by Refik Anadol at the Digital Art Fair Asia in Hong Kong on October 3, 2021.

Lam Yık | Bloomberg | Getty Images

When Facebook announced that it had changed its company name to Meta, the virtual world known as the Metaverse suddenly attracted a lot of attention.

Meta aims to create a digital experience where multiple people can interact in a 3D environment with CEO Mark Zuckerberg outlining his plan to move from a social network to a metaverse enterprise.

It’s no longer a place just for geeks and gamers, some say metaverse worlds are about to go mainstream and will be the next evolution of the internet. Others say it’s just the latest corporate buzzword to get investors excited about nebulous innovation.

Either way, brands and companies are already looking to create immersive environments where people can work and play. Meta began testing its Horizon Workrooms remote work app in August, with people using the company’s Oculus Quest 2 headsets to host meetings using avatars of themselves, according to Reuters.

One of the ways companies plan to use the metaverse is in hiring and people management, with Hyundai already using the virtual global app Zepeto for onboarding new employees and Samsung reportedly hosting a virtual recruitment fair through a platform called Gather in September.

Working from home during coronavirus shutdowns over the past 18 months has accelerated demand for virtual worlds, according to Thomas Johann Lorenz, co-founder of Journee, which describes itself as a metaverse company.

“When it comes to retaining talent in your business or maintaining a company culture in the age of remote working, you need tools…that are more powerful than just email and Zoom,” he told CNBC over the phone. “The Internet as we know it…has so far been [a] a very efficient exchange of data and information,” he added, while asserting that the metaverse will be able to exploit human communication which concerns “relationships, emotions and experiences”.

The company created a metaverse for Siemens, where it hosted a virtual conference. Employees logging on for the first time could meet up on a virtual beach to watch fireworks and take group selfies, and the firm also worked on metaverse experiences for BMW and Adidas. Lorenz expects the Metaverse to feature on existing hardware such as smartphones, and said VR headsets won’t be needed for such experiences.

Journee is currently working for a major pharmaceutical company on a hiring project, with the company aiming to “beautifully” communicate its healthcare work to candidates who can ask staff questions via a virtual world. Recruits can also learn more about a company’s “history,” which is important when potential staff increasingly want to know about a company’s purpose, Lorenz said, adding that companies who want to attracting tech talent must go beyond traditional methods of hiring.

While Meta may talk about virtual worlds as new and immersive experiences, others see the Metaverse as already existing through platforms like Discord, which started out as a place where video gamers could hang out online.

Niche candidates

Art director Richard Chen led a Space Bugs art project that saw over 3,000 non-fungible tokens sell out in six hours last week after launching on the OpenSea marketplace. NFTs are unique assets, such as works of art, that are verified and stored using blockchain technology. They are often purchased using cryptocurrencies.

“The NFT market is so new that there are very few experts to hire in social and marketing agencies, but the experts are the people sitting at home behind their computer screens,” he said. told CNBC via email. Chen hired about 25 community managers that the company initially found in Discord chat rooms, having them work on pilot projects to gauge their skills.

“They can’t be easily found in real life or the top talent isn’t always near you in terms of location, so getting them from the metaverse is the best way forward for our niche projects,” Chen added. . The company also used the audio app Clubhouse and messaging app Telegram for hiring and Chen said he learned “a lot” about blockchain and the metaverse from Discord members.

Not everyone is convinced of the potential of the metaverse. Kubi Springer, founder of consultancy SheBuildsBrands, said there is a generation gap. While her nine-year-old son plays games through virtual platform Roblox (whose founder told CNBC his business plan has been based on the metaverse for 16 years) and is excited about the future of virtual worlds, Springer herself is less convinced. “We just don’t have enough control over this technology,” she told CNBC by phone.

“Technology is amazing. It has advanced our lives in so many ways [but] I think that [are] also a lot of things that we see, including the dark web which shows that technology, augmented reality and AI, we have to have a very strong hold on it, otherwise it will have a strong hold on us,” he said. she declared.

Springer expects companies to use metaverse platforms for hiring, but worries about data protection and security, as well as the efficiency of virtual worlds. “You don’t hire people just for their skills and talents…you hire them for that feeling you get when you connect with a human being to determine whether or not they’re someone who might be a good fit. perfectly to the team… And how do you rate that in the metaverse?”

Hiring headache

As with all new technologies, companies need people who understand how they can be applied. Digital agency R/GA is currently hiring an “immersive manager,” someone who can lead its “direct to avatar” division, which builds virtual e-commerce stores in places like Decentraland, a self-proclaimed metaverse for shopping. and land sale.

But it’s proving difficult to find someone with the right mix of skills, according to Nick Pringle, executive creative director of R/GA London. “We are trying to find a kind of unicorn: we need someone who has experience in big brands, who knows how to operate with big customers and [also] has an innate understanding of platforms…there are probably people you can rely on right now [who have that]”, he told CNBC via video call. Although R/GA does not yet use metaverse platforms for hiring, it expects to do so in the future.

And, Pringle said, there’s a tension between the large, centralized metaverse worlds created by Meta, Microsoft and gaming company Epic and the decentralized places where people own their data. “If we’re going to get to a metaverse where you jump from place to place, what they call ‘interoperability,’ then you have to have an open protocol, an open way of coding like HTML did. for email,” he said. CNBC.

Martin Migoya, CEO of consultancy Globant, agrees that the “plumbing” behind the metaverse is still at an early stage, and told CNBC via video call that he thinks virtual worlds can be positive for hiring: “When you interview [people] on a screen, you don’t know a whole lot about them. But when you have the ability to express a lot of new things like you can express with your avatar in the metaverse, I think there will be a lot of opportunities to really understand people better than before.”

CNBC’s Annie Nova, Sam Shead and Ryan Browne contributed to this report.

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