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Case Study: How the US Navy is using VR as a recruitment tool

Imagine you’re on a Naval river boat, taking part in a covert mission to extract a Navy SEAL team. You’re navigating the waterways, while helicopters fly overhead. No, we’re not talking about a new edition of Call of Duty. This experience is actually what you’ll go through if you take part in the first stages of the US Navy’s new recruitment process. Here’s our take on this new recruitment trend.

VR

An immersive experience

VR isn’t a completely new technology. The Navy have used VR in training for years, but only since October have they decided to roll it out into their recruitment process. They take a tractor trailer, called the Nimitz, around the country to schools, Fleet Weeks and special events, and allow anyone to have a go. By creating an immersive experience that allow potential recruits to find out what it’s really like to be in the Navy, they are using this technology to garner early interest and manage expectations of what a career in the Navy may entail from the very start.

The Navy have tried to make the experience as engaging as possible. Not only do participants wear a VR headset that has all the visuals and audio effects, they’re also fitted out with a special chest vest so they can feel the effects of what they are seeing and hearing.

The results

While VR as a recruitment technique is far from a proven success, initial results have been remarkable. Since October last year, leads of potential recruits have more than doubled compared to the previous two years combined, according to USA Today.

“People come up and just want to know `what’s it really like to be in the Navy,” said Travis Simmons, a Naval Public Affairs Officer.

The Navy have been smart in making it open to everyone. Before participants start the exercise, they have to answer a survey indicating whether they’re interested in joining the Navy or not. Around 20 per cent of the participants who originally checked the box saying that they weren’t interested changed their minds to interested after going through the VR experience, as reported by USA Today.

What does this mean for recruiters?

Could recruiters soon be using VR more widely? Having potential employees go through certain processes involved at your company is a great way to see whether they are capable of the work involved, and if it, in turn, lives up to the candidates’ expectations. Similarly, if your organisation does something particularly exciting or innovative, you could certainly increase your chance of leads if you get the experience right.

Here at Talent, we’re dedicated to creating a seamless recruitment experience for our clients and our candidates. For more information, please contact us.