Posted by: Michael Hennessy | July 11, 2008

Virtual worlds and talent marketing

I’ve been following the virtual world space for a while now…it’s just something that inherently is intriguing to me. Maybe it’s because of my gamer background (i play xbox360 and love the Halo series and i’m also an avid player of World of Warcraft)…but what spurred this blog entry was Google’s latest product announcement of Lively. Google is the king of on-line advertising…which is directly related to talent marketing…and here they were launching a new 3-d virtual world service with all the potential that brings. I was intrigued!!

If you are new to 3-d virtual worlds, they are places where people use “avatars” to chat with one another in a virtual setting. The most successfull and most talked about service is of course Second Life. All other virtual worlds are pretty much compared to SL, and for good reason. Although far from perfect, SL has been able to create a virtual world where you can pretty much do anything. And companies definitely started setting up shop there.

The whole concept may seem silly to most….creating a “virtual” character in a virtual world so you can chat in 3-d, but there are some real benefits. Many companies including IBM and Cisco have embraced virtual worlds for many reasons such as training, sales & marketing and more. In Second life, TMP WorldWide setup their own virtual island and held virtual “Career fairs”. And if you go into Second Life today, you’ll see CareerBuilder is actively promoting jobs there.

Yes, this is bleeding edge stuff and most companies won’t have the time, money or even interest in evaluating these technologies. Still, i believe their is huge potential for companies to leverage these virtual worlds in their talent marketing efforts. And not just in the sense of creating your own “island” for candidates to visit.

Fundamentally, virtual worlds are another mechanism to communicate with others and build relationships. Just as Chat rooms and IM have become common place communication tools…you can easily foresee the evolution of these tools merging with the VR worlds that are popping up. And understanding that recruiting is fundamentally a form of marketing…you can start to see how companies could leverage these worlds to start reaching out to future employees, building relationships, and driving brand awareness.

Google’s entry in this field only helps bring more awareness to the possibilities of virtual worlds impact on the business community. Yes, these 3d worlds may seem childish today…but so did Instant messaging only a few years ago. Today many companies could hardly operate without instant messaging as a communications tool. I think that Virtual worlds like Lively, Second Life and IBM’s Metaverse will only increase in popularity over the coming months and years…and you’ll soon see companies leveraging those tools in their talent marketing campaigns. 

In our role as a talent marketing platform solution, we absolutely want to offer our clients the ability to promote their companies and thier jobs in these new worlds. In addition, we are looking at how we might leverage these technologies in our own business practices to help us better communicate with our partners, customers and prospects.

Definitely intersting times…and we look forward to talking more about how we will be leveraging these technologies in our own platform.

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