Are AR and VR Job Interviews Part of Your Future?

Can virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) change how companies recruit and hire tech pros?

Imagine a future in which a recruiter virtually shows you around an office, or an interviewer invites you to a “VR meeting space” instead of an interview room. That might sound far-fetched, but it’s already a reality at some firms.

According to CNN, a German railway company and an Israeli technology firm both offer VR office tours to prospective candidates; other companies are using VR for training purposes. “VR allows the employee to see the body language, hear the tone, experience the context of the situation,” Morgan Mercer, founder of Vantage Point, told the network.

Nor is this a new twist: Kentucky Fried Chicken has a VR “escape room” designed to train employees in how to make the company’s signature fried chicken. Unless those employees can show that they can (virtually) inspect, rinse, bread, rack, and pressure-fry a bird, they’re not allowed to leave the virtual room. When confronted by Eater, a company spokesperson claimed the VR experience wasn’t an integral part of the hiring process: “This is intended to be a fun way to celebrate the work KFC’s more than 19,000 cooks do every day in every restaurant across the U.S. in an engaging way.”

It’s not out of the question that one day you might find yourself subjected to a VR interview or at least a VR tour of a prospective office. The interviewing rules, of course, stay the same: convey passion for the company’s mission, explain your accomplishments and skills, and never be afraid to say, “I don’t know.” With VR, though, you might not need to worry about the dress code. And we have to say, being able to attend a high-pressure interview in shorts and a t-shirt (while your avatar wears a nice suit) will probably cut back on your stress levels.

VR and AR may also allow for more intensive hiring tests than a standard-issue whiteboard. For example, a company hiring for a management or team-leader position might ask a candidate to interact with virtual team-members in a digital environment, and work through many different kinds of scenarios. That deep level of immersion means a candidate will really need to know their stuff—there’s little room for knowledge fakery in an intensely detailed simulation.