Second Life: Recruiting & Training

Home Forums Human Resources Second Life: Recruiting & Training

This topic contains 16 replies, has 7 voices, and was last updated by  Mark Hammer 8 years, 5 months ago.

  • Author
  • #104718

    Ellen McCarthy

    Who uses Second Life for Recruiting or Training efforts?

  • #104750

    Mark Hammer

    We will be trying it out in the Canadian federal government soon. It is outlined here in this recent newspaper article:

    “If the heroes of the recent science fiction film Avatar showed up at a career fair, their blue skin might elicit a few stares.

    But at the federal government’s next fair, avatars are welcome.

    The Public Service Commission is going virtual to recruit new people to join Canada’s rapidly aging ranks of civil servants.

    In September, they’ll open an island on Second Life, an online universe that sees about 830,000 people wander hundreds of virtual communities each month.

    The PSC’s island will have information booths, presentations on jobs and a chance to interact live with current federal bureaucrats and ask questions.

    “Yes, we’re doing what we can do in the real world but there’s an additional dimension we can add to this,” said Marvin Bedward, director of project planning and innovation with the Public Service Commission of Canada.

    Visitors will also be able to try-out what it’s like to be a Canada Border Services agent doing a risk assessment.

    For their part, the civil servants on the site will be given their own avatars, an online persona complete with wardrobe and accessories.

    “We have quite a range of avatars,” said Bedward.

    “Tall, short and basically representing the ethnic composition of the country.”

    Bedward said the aim of the 12-week pilot study isn’t to actually hire anyone but to test out virtual communities as a method to reach out to a different pool of potential candidates.

    A similar career fair was set up by the Ontario government in 2008 and saw over 8,000 people stop by their island in the first year, with 80 per cent of the visitors under 35-years-old. It also featured simulations like firefighter training.

    “This was a pioneering project for us and we’re quite happy with it,” said Michael Patton, a spokesperson for the government’s Ministry of Government Services.

    He was unable to say whether anyone was actually hired off the island nor how it compared to real-world career fairs run by the government. The project cost the Ontario government $24,700 to design and $318.20 a month to maintain.

    While their project is technically over and under review, the island still exists. On a recent afternoon, it was devoid of signs of virtual life.

    Companies like have also used Second Life as a hiring tool.

    “One of the nice things about Second Life is you can be a Canadian living in France or Italy or in Hong Kong and come to the career fair,” Bedward said.

    “Yes, we’re not always sure whether the person is a serious individual but even at regular career fairs you’re not sure either.” The $50,000 project is being built in part by a design centre at Loyalist College in Belleville, Ont., which maintains a second campus on Second Life.

    While he applauded the federal government’s efforts to take a virtual leap, social media consultant Walter Schwabe said there’s a disconnect.

    If they’re recruited in a virtual world, candidates may think they’re walking into a job where social media and new technologies will be firmly embedded in the workplace.

    “The average government desktop doesn’t have the juice to handle Second Life,” said Schwabe, the CEO of Edmonton-based fusedlogic.

    He said while most levels of government now have the desire to get involved in social media, pilot projects like the federal government’s get run with little conversation about what the next step might be.

    “They bolt social technologies and social activities on,” he said.

    “They don’t bake them in to processes, they don’t bake them into the culture, they don’t bake them into the business objectives moving forward,” he said.

    Second Life opened in 2003, created by Linden Lab, a San Francisco-based company founded in 1999.

    Residents own and build the digital infrastructure, including homes, stores, fantasy universes and more.

    ‘We have quite a range of avatars.’ “

  • #104748

    Ellen McCarthy

    Mark, thanks for the information. These are some great comments. Second Life has a lot of interest and buzz, but as stated a lot of this “social media” trending has been baked into the culture and there isn’t a lot of process definition integrating it into business processes. The efforts to create the NextGen recruiting are there, but there isn’t a lot to back it up with.

  • #104746

    IRS is a great example of using Second Life for recruitment. State of Missouri is another classic case study.

    You can ask this question in our Virtual Worlds and Second Life groups, too.

    Also, Federal Recruiters and Human Resources groups might be helpful.

  • #104744

    Ellen McCarthy

    Thanks!! You’re a terrific resource.

  • #104742

    Lisa Nelson

    IRS is using it. In fact jobdog59 Frank Stipe | Washington DC tweets about it

  • #104740

    Fascinating! Thanks for the insights on this, Mark.

  • #104738

    Andy, thanks for the direction! This is interesting…. “Pay Me” and “Show Me” don’t just want our attention in our first lives…

  • #104736

    SL Hollingshead

    The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) has done a pilot project using Second Life for training new recruits. The site was designed by Loyalist College (mentioned below) and the incoming border officers found the experience, in general, as good or better than in-class training.

    Here is the entry from GCPEDIA (URL — describing the CBSA pilot. I can supply the project manager’s name offlist if anyone is interested.

    Canada Border Services Agency
    “Canada Border Services Agency’s Training and Learning Directorate is currently exploring the use of virtual worlds to support operational training. This is being done in partnership with Loyalist College.

    Between January and March 2009, 179 CBSA recruits in a single intake were offered access to a virtual border in Second Life on a voluntary basis during their 4-week long online training. The online training preceeds a pass/fail residential training program in Rigaud, Quebec. A series of scenarios were developed for use by learners to integrate the content of the online training materials. The scenarios required learners to ask mandatory questions, consider the policies and procedures they had just learned online, ask additional probing questions, and make a release or refer to secondary decision based on the interview with a virtual traveller, played by a CBSA instructor. A survey was conducted to gather learner reaction. Performance of recruits during the residential training program was monitored to compare Second Life participants against non-Second Life participants.

    The following is a summary of the results of the pilot

    Overall Participation

    179 recruits in Intake 69
    78 completed simulations in SL (44%)
    14 had schedule conflicts (8%)
    23 had technical problems (13%)
    64 did not respond (36%)

    69% Male, 31% Female (Total)
    67% Male 33% Female (SL)

    D1: Failed with SL 7.7% (6 recruits)
    D1: Failed without SL 10.9% (11 recruits)
    D2: Failed with SL 6.9% (5 recruits)
    D2: Failed without SL 13.3% (12 recruits) ”

    The Canadian Defence Academy , Department of National Defence, was also using Second Life for training purposes but had to switch to an open-source project (Vast Park, I think) due to contracting issues. The project manager is now off flying helicopters but I could probably supply other contacts if needed.

    I also did a briefing note for Marvin Bedward on using Second Life fior recruitment. If anyone is interested, I can add it to the discussion thread.

    One interesting change at Linden Labs is that it is now (or will soon be) selling a Second Life server that can be housed ibehind a firewall. For those of us on secure networks, this is a major step forward. And, for those of us outside the United States, gets around security issues.

  • #104734

    Ellen McCarthy

    Excellent information. I will get on his twitter and see what he says. Thanks!!

  • #104732

    Ellen McCarthy

    Interesting statistics. SL is such an enormous program on a computer. Most govt computers can’t handle it. I’ve even tried to maintain it on my home computer, but its a bear.

    I would be interested in the briefing note. Or you can email me: [email protected]

    Thanks for the feedback!

  • #104730

    Ellen McCarthy

    Excellent blog! Lots of great info here. Any other virtual worlds that you play around with or other agencies that you know of that are trying?

  • #104728

    Ellen McCarthy

    sure – you can email me: [email protected] I would be very interested. I’m compiling some articles

  • #104726

    SL Hollingshead

    Please send me that PDF as well. My email addres is sandra. [email protected].


  • #104724

    Ellen McCarthy

    the email keeps popping back…
    sandra. [email protected]

    Do you want to email me: [email protected] and I can send it back?

  • #104722

    Pam Broviak

    As many others here have mentioned, recruiting has been fairly common in Second Life. At the end of my comment there are links to some articles I put together about a few recruiting efforts. Also, Dept of Energy recently had an event in Second Life to discuss a job opening.

    The US military has a few areas in Second Life for training and recruiting – they are listed in the most recent issue of GridWorks.

    Training and education efforts in Second Life are almost too numerous to list. Leslie Fuentes with our MuniGov group is working with PIVOTE in Second Life to create a cyber security training program. Leslie has also taken part in some other emergency response training efforts in Second Life – she would be a great person to talk to. She works at the city of Hampton, VA.

    (Here is also a link where you can catch a few of the recorded presentations from the recent Virtual Worlds Best Practices in Education conference)

    Ontario Public Service Careers
    Virtual Job Fairs
    The Virtual Job Hunt
    (I also have links on the GridWorks website to past issues highlighting how agencies and business are using virtual worlds for serious work)

  • #104720

    Hey Ellen – curious to know whether you’d be interested in sharing those articles…we could create a GovLoop dataset with all of them…could be a terrific resource for folks!

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.