Catty Thoughts on Job Recruitment via Second Life


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.