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Recruiting in Second Life (Repost)

December 12, 2007

Was interviewed by a very nice person from another staffing firm called “Generator Group”. Over the course of a few days and a bit over an hour the following was thrown out ofver text in SL.  Brian Regan PresidentSemper International AKA: PrinterBrian 

Recruiting in Second Life : “SL is not an easy button”

 

 

Avariebright

By Lisa Peyton, a.k.a. Avarie Parker

I—well, my avatar Avarie Parker–was recently lucky enough to sit down for a virtual interview with Printer Brian Dowd, real life President of Semper International LLC. Brian Regan, and his Boston based firm Semper International, was the first recruiting agency to enter Second Life in March 2007. He has expanded his in-world presence from candidate sourcing to offering services for other companies looking to go virtual. The interview spanned two meetings; this is our first conversation in its entirety.

Avarie Parker: Why did Semper International decide to enter the world of SL? What were your initial goals?

Printerbrian_75x75

PrinterBrian Dowd: I’m a big time Online Video Game player. Also interested in Serious Games, or the use of video game technology for business application. Our goal was to use SL as a business tool in connecting with people from a distance, as well as understanding how to interact with people in online worlds. So learning and business application was stage one, more or less. We knew that there was not a large population; however, the population here did match some of our specialties like graphic design and video game staffing. Most people in SL early on had tech or design type backgrounds. We also wanted to find a venue to reach out to an audience accustomed to using the internet as a work condition–things like “Can you have a contractor/employer relationship via an online world?”

AP: Can you give me a rough estimate of the cost involved in your campaign?

PBD: That’s not quite as straightforward as you might think

AP: Perhaps you could give a range…

PBD: You can set up a small location with limited functionality for $500 – $1000. If you wanted to immerse yourself in SL and learn to build and script, you could do a small location for less, and increase the time you spend working on it yourself. For me, I was an online gamer in my personal life, so I took the latter approach. An entire Island like you are on now is a much different situation. There you are talking $10,000 + and a lot of your own personal time–or let developers do it all and spend $20,000.

AP: Thanks, that answers my question – how many people were involved in a project like the island?

PBD: Very few.

AP: Really? Have you taught yourself how to script, etc?

PBD: Basic scripting and building, yes.

AP: Very Cool! I took a stab at designing a garment and found it to be very labor intensive!

PBD: Like online games, it’s a passion thing.

AP: Yes. Has the SL campaign directly contributed to selling Semper services? Which services have been most affected? Employer side? Employee? Or outplacement? Have you traced the campaign directly to an increase in profits?

PBD: We have generated income from SL at this point, yes. We have successfully recruited and placed people we located in SL. Does it compare to investing in a Monster or CB package? No. However it gives a bit more than just people, it gives business side benefits: company meetings, mass recruitment, using it as a tool. So it is more than one element.

Semperinterviewworkshop

(Above: PrinterBrian and his coworker Gia speaking at a recent Interview workshop on Human Resource Island)

AP: About how many RL placements have you had?

PBD: Less than 10, although our database has picked up over 100.

AP: But how long have you been in SL? Less than a year, right?

PBD: Yes, March 1st we launched.

AP: So for such a short time in that seems like a big number!

PBD: Ah, OK.  Now you must consider that I work it here–meaning I am logged in and developing relationships quite often. This location generates traffic, I generate results. Does that make sense?

AP: Hmm, yes. What questions should a recruiting firm ask itself before embarking on an SL campaign?

PBD: Easy. Does anyone on staff have the energy and willingness to make it work? Spend off-hours doing interviews and getting to know people in SL. Would you rather hang out in SL or on your Myspace account? If the answer is no, then you may end up spinning your wheels and have no traffic.

AP: SL! I would MUCH prefer to spend time in here than on Myspace…: )

PBD: LOL. OK, so when I arrived you were chatting with Lewis. You met him here on the Semper Island?

AP: Yes, while I was waiting for you. He’s a Graphic Artist out of Binghamton, NY. I told him he should perhaps register with you guys as a candidate.

PBD: OK, so there you go – A graphic artist in NY, placeable if good. If you have a location where he is.

AP: Yes. So should the industry the recruiting firm works in be considered? I mean SL is an obvious choice if you are looking for GAs or programmers, etc, but how about other industries? Tower, for example, deals with HR placements…not exactly hi-tech.

PBD: Yes, you should consider it if you expect to extract people from SL. However, if you want to use it in replacement of video conferencing and phone, it brings a different value. You and I both have Voice Enabled, but we are not using it. It is free to use voice here, no charge. 50 people in a room all able to talk at no charge is an interesting thing to think about, to expand upon.

AP: A very useful and cost effective tool for meetings, etc.

PBD: Yes, or mass interviews.

Conference_350x211

(Above: Attendees at a recently attended SL Conference)

AP: Describe how you began your SL consulting services and do you think they will eclipse your recruiting services?

PBD: No it will not. It’s not our focus; however it allows us to test talent. We are also staffing companies in the game industry as well as Second Life or Virtual Worlds development companies, so interviewing someone for an SL dev firm and then seeing their work is effective for us–and not just from a talent standpoint, but a professional standpoint too. Do they meet deadlines, act a certain way, work in teams or solo, etc.?

AP: Do you have any full-time staff devoted to your SL Consulting?

PBD: No full time staff, but more than one trained person that handles SL consulting.

AP: Do you feel the trend for companies to want in to SL will continue? What do you feel the future of marketing in SL looks like?

PBD: I am not a big fan of the marketing in SL fad. However, if this is a possible direction of the internet in the near future, then any firm that uses the internet as a tool should have an understanding of it.

AP: Can you point to any in-world campaigns that you feel were successful? National campaigns, I mean.

PBD: I am not really focused on that side, so I would likely not be a good judge. Consider this – VW’s allow you to develop your brand in a community or experience that is interactive and that is not understood yet. VW = Virtual Worlds. So if you want to create an online experience around your firm or brand, building a VW whether SL or any number of VW’s out there will have a large impact on how people interact with you.

AP:Yes, but you obviously engage in marketing Semper in-world…and Semper’s services.  But it sounds like you are more interested in an interactive experience than seeing Coke machines all over the place?

PBD: Coke machines all over the place is not the total answer. It helps, but it’s like banner ads on a website.

AP: Would you say there are companies that are “getting it” when it comes to interacting with SL residents?

PBD: Yes, those that build communities.

AP: Speaking of communities, how can a candidate best leverage SL? Any specific groups or locals they should visit?

PBD: Hmmm, that’s a big question.  I would say, there are groups and experiences here for all tastes. A personal taste in their personal time is not likely related to their professional ones. As a recruiter I am sure you can appreciate what I just said.

AP: Yes. : ) There are networking groups that charge to join–do you feel those groups are worth it? Can you give me a short list of the top business networking groups in SL?

PBD: Not really, I don’t pay to be in any of those groups. I would think they may be a good way to start out, but you quickly move past them.

AP: So how does the experienced SLer go about finding a great RL job?

PBD: Come to the Semper location 🙂 (http://slurl.com/secondlife/HumanResource%20Island/207/101/27); IBM (http://slurl.com/secondlife/IBM/106/5/23) does cool things. TMP (http://slurl.com/secondlife/TMP%20Worldwide/190/43/22) does career fairs.

Semperlocation_350x211

(Above: Semper International SL Location)

AP: Great, finally something my candidates can sink their teeth into!

PBD: I would say that there is a whole lot of recruiting happening in SL.  It’s just not that obvious.

AP: So how can a recruiter best leverage SL??

PBD: Networking, passive recruiting, developing a community, talking to people, gaining friends, leveraging friends, knowing who’s who and becoming a valuable asset to them.

AP: But again, I would assume it’s time consuming – yes?

PBD:Yes, anything worthwhile in life requires effort. SL is not an easy button.

AP: There’s the headline for my article – I love it!

PBD: LOL. Staples is a great client of ours. They will be excited I used it.

AP: Thank you again for taking the time to talk with me today.  I really appreciate it.

PBD: No problem. I will not likely give away the valuable lessons I’ve learned but I would like to make sure the integrity of recruitment and VW’s is upheld and thus I’m willing to help out people on many levels.

AP: Wonderful! Perhaps a few more probing questions tomorrow can loosen you up a bit.

PBD: LOL.

Stay tuned for our second conversation where we dive below the surface of SL discussing consumer-user behavior, relationships within SL, and Avatar creation. If you would like to learn more about the services his company offers, you can contact him via SL on Human Resources Island (http://slurl.com/secondlife/HumanResource%20Island/188/111/27) or email him at bregan@semperllc.com. 

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