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Recruitment 411: Real Life Recruiting in a Virtual World

Today’s guest blogger is Frank Stipe; Frank manages the IRS Recruitment Office’s virtual recruitment program. We invite you to reach out to Frank in Second Life, where he’s known as RobinRasperry Sorbet.

In today’s world, word-of-mouth is still the most powerful and trusted communications channel. In Second Life, IRS takes word-of-mouth marketing to the next level.

Second Life is an internet-based virtual world where people interact through animated avatars, providing an advanced level of social networking. Residents can participate in individual and group activities, as well as create and trade virtual property and services.

When the IRS Recruitment Office interacts with the residents of Second Life, we count on our message being handed off both “in-world” (among Second Life users) and in other social media channels like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. It is not uncommon for users of these more mainstream social networking sites to come into second Life to interact with one of our recruiters. Often, they’re not just looking for career advice for themselves – they’re also looking for information they can share with friends and family.

The IRS Careers Island in Second Life opened to the public in February 2009 after nearly a year in development and testing. Our recruiters host a variety of events on the island including dances, costume parties and job fairs. The island also features several career centers, an art gallery that showcases employee art, a shopping mall, a conference center and a dance club.

The newest feature is the Career Explorer, an interactive tool that guides users through education-based qualifications for nearly 30 of our most popular careers. Users guide themselves through a virtual maze by answering questions posted on the walls at each intersection; their answer determines which path they take. When they arrive at the job that best fits them, they’re presented with job descriptions, qualifications requirements, career ladders, deployment overview and links to video interviews.

Second Life also offers us an interesting way to involve interns in our outreach. Interns and mentors from all around the country collaborate together in this virtual space on projects.

How does your organization use virtual tools for external outreach?

Recruitment 411 is the official blog of the IRS Recruitment Office.

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Frank Stipe

Actually, my name is spelled RobinRasberry Sorbet. Spelling, especially of names, is pretty loose in Second Life. What isn’t loose is the intensity of the personal interaction via open chat and IM. And this really empowers the hearing impaired. We have an after-hours get-together every Wednesday at 5pm Pacific Time. Come on by and experience a whole new way to communicate.

Kevin Dubs

This sounds like a really cool program! I’ve heard of Second Life before but haven’t used it before. My company internet blocks it as well which is unusual for our organization. Any idea why Second Life isn’t more “main stream” like Facebook or Twitter? I really like the idea behind Second Life as it relates to careers and would like to learn more about it.

Frank Stipe

Great question Kevin……there is a lot of discussion in the Fed community about access. The technical issues of security, infrastructure and bandwidth all combine to make SL difficult to access from inside most of our secure networks. Although Second Life has 16 million user accounts, it requires a client viewer installed on the users system. Perhaps if the testing of their web viewer is successful, it will have appeal to a much wider audiance. If you are willing to register for an account an complete the orientation, I would be glad to give you a personal orientation to our little corner of the virtual world.