When HR goes VR

September 8, 2023 Sean Carey
What we learned from using Roblox to build relationships and connect with new talent.

Late last year, Schwab’s technology and human resources (HR) teams joined forces to launch a virtual experiment. The question they were hoping to answer was:

Could a metaverse environment actually help candidates and hiring managers connect better with one another?

When all was said and done, the lab revealed that the virtual world has some interesting lessons to teach us about how to engage in the real world.

What led us to the metaverse?

Now, as much as we all love playing with technology, this notion didn’t come out of thin air. Innovation-minded people at Schwab look at disruption through a very singular lens—does this have the potential to improve outcomes for our clients?

In the HR world, improving outcomes for clients begins with improving the candidate experience for the future employees who serve those clients. And rather than guess if a virtual interaction would fit the bill, the teams tested their hypothesis first through research.

Through survey and analysis, they confirmed that it wasn’t just us. There were definitely people out there who wanted to give it a go. In fact, two-thirds of the survey population expressed a willingness to try a metaverse hiring process.

And, as fun as a virtual environment can be, the reason they were game was all about human interaction. 60% of participants shared that their #1 motivation for attending a metaverse career fair was to better connect with hiring managers.

60% attended to form better connections

Game on

With that, the experiment was on. Technology teams selected Roblox as the platform to build out a massive metaverse campus. HR teams worked with hiring managers in the service organization to plan out live interactions and prepared to interact in real-time with candidates inside the virtual campus.

For the event itself, candidates were given a structure and recommended activities to complete. They were also given the freedom to explore the space and interact with Schwab employees. And the experience delivered. Remember all those people who said they were participating in order to achieve a better connection with hiring managers? 84% stated the metaverse achieved the goal of connecting better with hiring managers.

84% had a better experience with the hiring manager

Taking the job for a test run

In addition to the real time interaction in Roblox between job candidates and employees, another key learning came from the job simulation activity that was built into the event. Candidates took simulated service calls from live clients (employee volunteers), and a vast majority (88%) said this simulation gave them a clearer understanding of what the role and responsibilities would really be like.

In fact, when all the feedback was compiled, the job simulation was rated as the top feature of the event in terms of increasing a candidate’s willingness to consider Schwab as an employer.

HR teams quickly realized this learning had implications not only for the experiment and virtual hiring, but for in-person and phone interactions as well. As part of the takeaway from the experiment, the teams are currently planning to explore ways to embed job simulation features into more places.

Innovation is a learning process centered on understanding the needs of others. What we learned inside Roblox is that a spirit of play and a scientific mindset can teach us much about connecting with each other.