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Recruiting in SL part II

December 26, 2007

Recruiting in Second Life Part II: “Ghostown or Goldmine?”


By Lisa Peyton a.k.a. Avarie Parker


This concludes the virtual conversation I had with Brian Regan a.k.a. PrinterBrian Dowd. He was the first to bring recruiting into Second Life and is in the process of helping other recruiting firms do the same. I wanted to get some additional insight into these projects and the future of this ever expanding Virtual World (VW). You can read the first part of our interview, “Recruiting in Second Life: “SL is not an easy button”, here:

Avarie Parker: Hi Brian!


PrinterBrian Dowd: Good morning.

AP: I was checking out the job boards. Did you have anything to do with their creation?

PBD: Yes, Semper has a job boards division. We have job boards for Printing, Graphics and the Game Industry.


(Computer monitors on Human Resource Island proudly display Semper’s job boards, jobs.gigsingaming.com

AP: So could you please discuss the Tower Consultants ( project a bit? Perhaps give an overview of the process or steps involved with such a project–the roles and individuals involved?


(Tower Consultants location in Second Life, is located on Human Resource Island.)

PBD:  From a “Why they are here stand point”? Or from a “How did Semper build them their Second Life location”?; Would you like a cup of coffee?

Coffee Service (Click for a cup): Gives a cup of hot coffee to Printer Brian Dowd

AP: Sure!

PBD: Click on the pot.

AP: Got it, thanks!

Coffee Service (Click for a cup): Gives a cup of hot coffee to Avarie Parker.

AP: Oh goodness, too much multi-tasking…

PBD: LOL, part of modern business I am afraid.

AP: Yes. So I am curious about the process of building out the Tower SL local.

PBD: An easy way to explain it is that it’s like building a website, but more identifying how the firm wants to be branded, what they want in their location, what is their purpose for being there, and what programming and integration is needed.

AP: Ok, great. So you would work with a programmer, designer, project manager, etc?

PBD: Yes, but I do the PM side–like to make sure things are done right and things get moved along at the pace I expect.

AP: I see. So are you seeing SL skills like building, etc. translate into RL (real life) jobs??

PBD: Yes and No. Yes–if companies need SL things done and one is hired to do the project. No–if you want the skills they have to translate into a relevant skill in RL. Most people gain skills to do SL jobs. So things like Maya and Photoshop need to be learned and understood to do certain things in SL. The SL scripting language is a basic programming language. So the people have to learn it to be scripters, but it is not robust enough to make them a programmer in RL.  Although a lot of RL programmers are scripters here. So they entered SL with the skills already. Make sense?

AP: Yes, definitely. So at this point you aren’t seeing full-time RL jobs that are devoted to scripting in SL? Is it primarily contract work?

PBD: There are some. But you are talking to someone that runs a contract based staffing firm so I like to provide development firms with contractors. I have a bias.

AP:  Do you think that there will be a need for people with these SL skills? Will the trend continue?

PBD: Hmmm, I think there will. It will be a specialty, not a huge market. I suspect at some point soon VWs will be easy to make–like buying canned website software.

AP: So I if I can back up for a minute. Perhaps you could discuss Tower’s goals within SL and have they been successful?

PBD: Not 100% my place to say. I can say that they have gained exposure and I have fielded questions from people at Harvard and a few large firms about the question you just asked. The current phase of their SL project is explorative at this point. It reaches into areas that I cannot speak of. The whole “understanding the people in SL and how to interact” question. You know–the stuff I get paid to consult on. 🙂

AP: So they are looking at this as a longer-term project, perhaps even planning out a few years then?

PBD Yes. I will say this; if your firm is interested in SL, consider having me do the project. I understand staffing, and SL makes for the right mix.

AP: So, predictions…we have touched on it a bit but if I were to ask you: Recruiting in SL – Goldmine or Ghost town? What side of the fence would you come down on??

PBD: Heh, neither. But I edge more on the goldmine, although it’s more like a small tip of a large gold vein; sticking out of the ground. Potential, but lots of work needed to dig it out. This is really just starting; VWs will have a big impact on recruitment and not just from the agency side. The large firms in here today already are using it. I have seen new jobs created that focus on VWs as a recruitment platform and not just recruiter level –Director level.

AP: I would love to do that!!!

PBD: So your large clients will be in VWs in some fashion or another.

PBD: It would be nice to work from home and use a VW as your office.

AP: So tell me about your Avatar. Is it custom??

PBD: Yes, of course. Residents don’t interact as much with the default avatars walking around. I guess its like–if you care enough to take the time to make up your avatar, you are less likely to have ulterior motives I guess. You could think of it like all those Myspace friends requests you get from the no detail profile with one picture and no friends. LOL.

AP: So what does “custom” mean exactly? Is it based on how you really look??

PBD: No, just not a basic look. You took time on yours – the clothing is not default stuff and your hair is not default. You have glasses on.

AP: Is it possible to hire someone to create a custom skin?

PBD: People do it but usually only celebs have them done. Going rate is about $150 – $300 US. Buying a skin is the most common.

AP: So do you feel all the shopping and consumerism in SL leads to more buying in the RL? Like the way some people believe violent video games lead to real violence?

PBD: I do not believe that. Bad parenting creates what you said 🙂 I don’t know about the shopping side but I suspect it does.

AP: So you feel there is a link between someone buying tons of stuff in SL and then deciding to buy something in RL?

PBD: I am not a marketing type person but I think it does. Branding is branding, and it’s about trust.


(Aveda offers real life hairstyles in SL, residents can purchase the hair using SL Currency called Linden Dollars.)


(Another example of in-world branding, there is an unofficial Nike store in Second Life, offering virtual T-shirts and work-out gear.)

AP: If a person gets a high from buying pretty stuff in SL, who’s to say they won’t take that into the RL and try to get that same feeling in their real lives. Do you feel that SL encourages classicism?? Someone might be able to buy a diamond necklace in-world, but could never afford that in RL.  Is that a good thing?

PBD: Don’t really know. I am not a big shopper.

AP: From a psychological perspective, do you think there are deeper issues here?

PBD: Well, your question is rather large.

AP: Yes, I was struck by a woman I met in SL that wanted to buy some land but had to wait until her RL paycheck cleared the bank.  She had a HUGE presence in SL, tavern owner, etc., but couldn’t afford the small RL sum to pay for a small parcel of land. It made me think about the idea of escapism, and are VWs going to be a way for people to escape their lives?

PBD: Yes, but does a VW cause that? No. If you remove VWs, does it go away? No. What I like about Interactive Media over traditional is simple: a person’s mind is engaged and they are part of the story or event. T.V. for example tells us the story and we simply watch and have no control over what’s happening. Interactive media, such as video games and VWs, is much more engaging for the mind. Second Life is very interesting in the sense that you create your own experience in many ways. You can build what you want, buy what you want, hang out with whom you want. Does it all equal escapism? I imagine it does, but most things in moderation seem fine to me. It’s when it’s done to an excess that causes worry.

AP: I agree absolutely. So a final question: every time I talk about SL, I still hear someone say, “Oh, that’s weird” or some similar judgment about the people that are in-world.  How would you respond to those people?

PBD: LOL, We are all educators. Ever read Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand?

AP: Of course, I have read everything by her.

PBD: There are people that do, those that don’t, and those that want, but cannot achieve. It is easy to look at something new and pass judgment while having no true understanding of what it is. Or allowing other peoples opinion to be your own, without taking a small amount of time to reflect upon it yourself. So the true question is: who in their right mind would pass judgment on something new while not understanding it? 1993 and the Internet explosion is still recent news.

AP: Brilliant quote to end on. Thank you so much for your time. I wish you the best with all of your virtual ventures.

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