When I was a young child, perhaps like many others, I used to daydream a lot during school assembly. My mind would flit from one thing to the next, and in between I would absorb some of the information being given, sing the odd hymn, and eventually file out to carry on dreaming more dreams.
In particular, the following episode has stuck. I was imagining a world where it was possible for a teacher (or anyone else for that matter) to access my mind and project an image onto the ceiling of whatever I was thinking about at that time.
How dangerous would that be?!
And I also pictured some kind of locking device, whereby I’d be able to control access to my strange and confused eight-year-old brain.
You could say I was daydreaming about daydreaming and going meta on myself.
What has this got to do with anything that’s important or sane right now?
Get serious about the Metaverse
Enter stage right, top tech futurist, Cathy Hackl.
Cathy’s recent article entitled ‘The CEO’s Guide to the Metaverse’ took me back to that seemingly innocent time c.1994 (giving away a lot of info here). And made me reflect that what I thought was little more than childlike fantasy (albeit bordering on crazy and dystopian) may not actually be that far-fetched.
It begins: “Imagine walking down the street. Suddenly, you think of a product you need. Immediately next to you, a vending machine appears, filled with the product and variations you were thinking of. You stop, pick an item from the vending machine, it’s shipped to your house, and then continue on your way.”
Freaky, but this type of behaviour is becoming a reality.
The metaverse is set to be the next big thing. And in some respects it’s already here thanks to the increasingly sophisticated advances in Augmented Reality (AR).
But don’t think of the metaverse in terms of being a mere addition to the world we live in, or something accessible only via a laptop or smartphone (e.g – that big, creepy AR Rita Ora from the recent EE ad).
The metaverse opens up a completely alternate digital reality, where we will live, shop, work and play.
It’s recruitment, but not as we know it
In a world of avatars, digital twins and advertising space aplenty, there will be countless possibilities. From a marketing perspective, it’s clear where the opportunities to engage with potential customers lie.
But what about recruitment and employer brand? It’s an industry that’s traditionally been slow to adapt to technological change.
However, for those who dare to steal a march, the advent of the metaverse could bring about new realms of possibility.
Imagine a digital world where the next job opportunities are on tap. The high street agency isn’t closed, the recruiter hasn’t gone home or stopped responding to you, and the only limit on your next role is your imagination.
How would employers and the wider recruitment industry adapt to such a proposition?
Would it close ranks and micro-manage what can be seen? Or throw open its doors to prospective clients and candidates?
In some respects, this development is already happening. Virtual recruitment centres, hiring fairs and all manner of environments have become abundant since the world went remote because of Covid-19.
Much like how the Internet was imagined years before the incarnation we know today, the metaverse is also developing from sci-fi fantasy to lived reality. And the journey has only just begun.
5 possible implications of the recruitment metaverse
Why wait to hear back from a recruiter, or perhaps never hear back at all? The metaverse will be ‘always on’ and ‘always open’.
Companies will become more accessible, AI candidate screening will cut waiting time and the very notion of time itself will cease to be such a frustrating barrier.
Therefore, hunting for your next role will become a more seamless, instantaneous, and empathetic experience. Hopefully.
An extension of your employer brand
This is supposed to be a series on brand after all. So, it would be remiss not to mention the implications of crafting an employer brand within the metaverse.
Imagine being able to create a fully immersive employee journey in a digital world. Where your culture, products, services and personality really come to life. A place where your employees can interact with prospective candidates in real-time, show them what projects they’re working on, what it’s like to work in their team, and offer an authentic behind-the-scenes tour of a business.
Participation in a fully functioning economy
The metaverse is expected to spawn its own super economy. There will be value attached to labour and the creation of millions of jobs, most of which don’t even exist yet.
And for employers and employees alike, this could open plenty of doors.
The metaverse labour market is likely to be a lot more fluid than the traditional model we’re used to.
An empowered alternative workforce will become more prevalent and project work could become the norm, as opposed to the exception.
Peer-to-peer trading of people and skills
The early creators of what we could label Metaverse 1.0 have been quick to recognise the value in peer-to-peer trading of commodities and digital ‘things’. Think Fortnite and Roblox, and the way players trade goods and indeed invest back into these platforms.
What could this mean for the division of labour and crudely, how work gets done?
We already have freelance marketplaces such as Fiverr and Upwork. But could employers trade their employees’ time and skills with other companies?
Sounds a little shady and I haven’t properly thought this one through. ‘Regulation’ and ‘legislation’ are two words that immediately come to mind.
A world without borders
In the metaverse, time and place becomes a far more malleable concept. While we’ve already witnessed a transition to more remote work, the metaverse will really smash down borders.
What this will mean for ‘the office’, real estate, and the idea of working in a particular town or city remains to be seen.
But the move away from a fixed destination is a trend that’s likely to be accelerated as the metaverse takes shape.
Partly by design, this article is overly simplistic in its understanding and interpretation of the metaverse. Most of us will not fully understand what it is yet and what could exist within it. But this piece from Matthew Ball, venture capitalist and former head of strategy at Amazon Studios, is one of the best summaries I’ve come across.
What would you want to see in the recruitment metaverse? Get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org to let me know your thoughts.
And while you're here head to blog.bps-world.com for more HR Thinking!
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