Catty Thoughts on Job Recruitment via Second Life

Ann All

Like many folks, I find it tough to focus on work on Fridays. It's an even bigger challenge than usual today, thanks to the Goverment Technology story sent to me in response to a call for sources for an article I'm working on about job recruitment via social channels like Facebook and Twitter. The story, datelined September 2008, describes how the state of Missouri hired a developer for its Department of Natural Resources via a recruiting area it created in Second Life.


Have trouble seeing the humor? The money quote, from Missouri CIO Dan Ross:

"He came to our job fair as a tiny cat with a red bow tie on and expressed interest. That was followed by an in-person interview."

So many questions. Was it the red bow tie that helped put this developer over the top? Did other applicants apply for the position and, if so, what kind of avatars did they use? Are they going to pay the developer in Linden Dollars? Thank goodness a personal interview also was involved.


I've been somewhat of a Second Life skeptic, as you can see from my posts on college courses offered in Second Lifeand companies' waning interest in Second Life as a marketing tool. Sure, you can do things in Second Life that you can't on, say, Twitter. You can establish your own "island" (sort of a mini Web site). But why? For most companies, for most functions, doesn't it make more sense to connect with people on Facebook or Twitter and then lure them back to your own site? It's less expensive, less labor intensive and arguably more effective since Twitter's and Facebook's user numbers dwarf those on Second Life.


I get that Second Life can be an interesting recruiting tool, but that seems to be based primarily on its novelty. I've yet to see any use cases that seem better suited to virtual worlds like Second Life vs. the real world or more traditional Web sites.

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Jun 26, 2009 10:54 AM Maria Korolov Maria Korolov  says:

IBM just released its Sametime 3D virtual meeting product, based on the OpenSim platform (an open source virtual worlds server).

And there seems to be an escalating migration of schools to OpenSim, due to lack of age restrictions, and the ability to limit access and content. After all, it's your own virtual world, you can have anything and anyone you want -- and only those things.

For example, you can set a dress code, thus avoiding the cat-with-a-bow-tie scenario.

My company has its own grid,, which can be accessed by hypergrid teleport from any other OpenSim world that's hypergrid enabled, including most of the big grids (OSGrid, ReactionGrid, Cyberlandia, FrancoGrid, etc...). I use this virtual office to meet with staff, and to train new hires in company policies.

It's been working well. The IBM product is a little more advanced than the basic free OpenSim download. For example, they offer directional voice -- you can hear what people say, and, with stereo headphones, where the sound is coming from. Handy for meetings with mutliple people.

But the folks working on OpenSim are busy developing their voice tools as well, so I expect to see that happen within the next few months.

-- Maria Korolov, editor, Hypergrid Business

Jun 27, 2009 12:07 PM David D'Angelo David D'Angelo  says:

Hi Ann,

There are some very valid recruiting uses for Second Life.  I have seen police department's that are seeking to fight cyber crime recruit in SL.  Technology organizations that are looking for examples of skill and work product recruit in SL.  Teachers and those who will need to use technology to reach their students are recruited in SL.  Manpower and Kelly Services, both leaders in the staffing industry have a presence in SL.  Recruiting in a virtual is really about screening for real world followup.  The advantage is you can interact where in Facebook and Twitter you are texting without a simulated interaction in the screening process. 


Jun 28, 2009 3:33 AM Effie Emmons Effie Emmons  says:

Perhaps businesses that recruit in Second Life have the forethought to concentrate on talent rather than discriminating against looks, and consider the use of Second Life a demonstration of someone's ability to use technology. 

Has the author even spent any considerable amount of time in SL around the business community?  Or, is this a prejudice that comes without exploration?

Jun 29, 2009 3:38 AM Layla Layla  says:


Well, I do think it's funny 'a developer for its Department of Natural Resources' was found online!!

confess it, all!!

one would think people like that would be found in natural parks or such?

I do find the online world interesting, & have gotten a few invitations for co-operation online (no money involved though.yet )

Not sure what I think about 2nd Life or such though, wasn't there enough time, it seemed fairly complicated & not really worth my while.. I prefer 'just writing'

Also, on such sites you can easily pretend to be someone you're not, so it's good employers are still cautious with those..

& lol about the police - what if criminals find this out & hang around & get to be 'hired'? OoO

Jun 29, 2009 10:29 AM Karen Keeter Karen Keeter  says:

I loved the cat story! Someone above mentioned IBM's "Sametime 3D". As part of the research team that created "Sametime 3D",  I can tell you that we have really tried to focus on making a virtual world application that is interesting and compelling for business users. But for business enterprises, it is about more than just what happens in the virtual environment. They want to be able to do something in the virtual environment that they can't do with a webcast, teleconference or other "2D" tool- which is why we built the brainstorming function as an example. But they are  also looking for secure environments, ways to authenticate user identity (so you are sure you know who you are talking to!), tools for bring content into and out of the virtual space; and ways to manage the spaces they acquire (and create). So we tried to address these less visible needs in addition to building tools that help them perform real collaborative work 'in world.  Many people told us during the research process that this was the first application that they had seen that made them understand why they needed to go "in world".


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