(Mis)Uses of Technology

by Carlo Longino

Latest Silly Use Of Second Life: Job Interviews

from the ok-really-now dept

The silly levels of hype about Second Life as a business tool have died down over the last few months, as companies realize there's often little value in setting up shop there beyond the initial PR benefits. However, the WSJ would have us believe that a growing number of companies are conducting job interviews inside Second Life. Perhaps if companies are hiring for jobs working on their in-world properties, such interviews make sense, but it's hard to see the benefit of interviewing for other positions there. For instance, one guy says he spent several hours building his avatar and trying to figure out how to get around Second Life, then couldn't figure out how to get the avatar to sit down in a chair during his interview. The job he was interested in? Executive chef for a large food-service company. It would seem that the interviews become largely about the prospective hire's ability to manipulate their avatar and get around Second Life, which seems largely irrelevant to most people's jobs (unless, perhaps, they're the Dell employee responsible for passing out free in-game trees on Earth Day).

Reader Comments (rss)

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  1. identicon
    freakengine, Jun 20th, 2007 @ 5:38pm

    Is this a joke?

    Seriously. Would you want to work for a company who did this? I, for one, consider that the interview goes both ways and I'd never get a feel for a company thru Second Life.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Michael A. Banks, Jun 20th, 2007 @ 5:59pm

    Second Life job interviews

    A job interview in Second Life could be relevant in a situation interviewing candidates for a job as a Second Life avatar. Maybe hiring a guide ... or maybe hiring someone to live a Second Life for someone who's too busy in their real life.

    It seems to be another case of, "Let's do this because we CAN. Maybe someone will think it's cool, even though it's stupid."

    What's next? Second Life reality TV?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Joel Coehoorn, Jun 20th, 2007 @ 6:09pm

    I don't use 2nd Life at all; it just seems kind of juvenile. But I can see how this would be useful. Think of it not as the default way for interviews to take place, but as an option for people who would otherwise have difficulty interviewing in person. Let's say you're a new grad and you're not too picky about where that job is located- this could make it possible for you to do interviews that would otherwise be very difficult.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    toritaiyo, Jun 20th, 2007 @ 6:59pm


    I wonder in that case if an interview via webcam (or some other type of video conferencing might not be better?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    ASDF, Jun 20th, 2007 @ 7:05pm

    It might be good...

    If the person you're interviewing lives across the country, and will only fly out to work there if they know that they have the job. Then it MIGHT be good. Of course, it would be better if you could actually here the employeer's and the maybe employee's voice.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    fraffra, Jun 21st, 2007 @ 1:25am

    not so silly

    Virtual interviews could be useful to hire programmers and designer, PR or other that can demostrate their skills through the quality of their avatars, skills they can use in real world too. It's not so simple to be nice in SL, it could be not a so stupid idea for tech companies

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 21st, 2007 @ 4:55am

    i thought this was funny when I 1st saw this, but its starting to look like the next step.


    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    2nd life is dumb, Jun 21st, 2007 @ 6:29am


    Here's an idea. You could use video conferencing software (a cheap 29 dollar camera and some form of free IM chat that supports video) and "wallah!" you can have an interview face to face, without flying across the country or world.

    2nd life = very stupid.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    TheLethologicalReader, Jun 22nd, 2007 @ 8:39am


    I think that it's a very interesting concept, but so far not all that useful. It could very well turn into a more useful tool for companies, we'll have to see. Personally, I think that I'd rather deal with a Second Life first interview than have to go out and buy video conferencing equipment, load all the software and go through that hassle. Much better, in my opinion, to spend a little while fiddling around with a computer game. I put a long post about this on my blog:


    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    Semicharm, Jun 22nd, 2007 @ 8:54am

    Maybe or maybe not

    I agree that a second life interview would make sense for a position that requires working in the virtual world, but the "traditional" remote interview methods aren't what they are cracked up to be either. I once had a phone interview where the interviewer insisted on using a crappy speaker phone that picked up so much noise and echo that I could barely understand a word she said. Suffices to say that I didn't get the job.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. identicon
    anonymous, Apr 1st, 2008 @ 12:44pm

    I've gotten a job this way

    I just sent off the contract for a piece of software, admittedly SL related, after negotiating it and working out the spec with the client in SL.
    Of course both parties were experienced SL users.
    At one point using email to send a resume to a prospective employer would have been absurd, when the net was small. And for a while it only made sense when applying for a job related to tech.
    New technologies often have to wait for enough acceptance to be acceptable. Right now, I wouldn't be interviewing anyone for a position in SL unless that position was related to SL.
    Doing training in SL seems more appropriate at the moment.
    But the learning curve for SL is pretty shallow.
    More importantly, I'd not want to interview someone if I couldn't see their facial expressions and read their body language.
    But SL's not just a game. It's an interesting way to do networking, and to conduct business. That someone is trying to use it in a poor way is no condemnation of the tool.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. identicon
    video conferencing, Jun 16th, 2008 @ 2:21am

    Hey anonymous

    More importantly, I'd not want to interview someone if I couldn't see their facial expressions and read their body language.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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