Posted by: Peter Quirk | April 6, 2008

Our first experiment in a virtual world – a recruiting fair

TMP Worldwide approached us in mid-2007 to participate in their second recruiting fair in the Second Life® world. A small team representing our Recruiting Infrastructure group, Employment Branding group (led by Polly Pearson), Public Relations and the CTO Office recommended that we proceed. TMP had run their first fair a few months earlier and had built systems to place and track ads for the event, register applicants, accept their résumés and present them through a portal to participating companies. We just had to supply job descriptions, some logos and signage and some copy about EMC.

We also supplied TMP Worldwide with some aspirational terms to describe our building and they commenced to build it. I have to confess that the buildings from the first fair were pretty conventional. One of the challenges of working in virtual worlds is deciding whether you are creating a mirror world or something very different from real life. (In the Second Life argot, this is called NPIRL – Not Possible in Real Life.) Our team felt that we should use the virtual world to break down stereotypes of EMC. We wanted to project something distinctly out of the ordinary – it had to say that EMC was fresh, different, young at heart and understood the virtual world. A couple of us investigated designs created by a TMP team in Europe and liked what we saw. TMP brought the French designer into our project and delivered a stunning, translucent spherical building unlike all the others on the TMP island. The enormous open space inside might have connoted EMC’s “big tent” approach to diversity. For me, the transparent design was a metaphor for the new openness that had developed over the last few years at EMC.


EMC recruiting building set amongst more conventional buildings

Of all the companies participating in the fair, EMC garnered the lion’s share of the applicants. Our position in the high-tech market and our great benefits were certainly a contributing factor. I attribute our success to a combination of factors:

  • our own PR efforts in addition to those of TMP Worldwide. We used the conventional press, our web properties, web sites covering the Second Life world, LinkedIn, facebook, Twitter and other social networks to advertise the event;
  • great hustling by our recruiting team, working through the résumés, selecting candidates, making appointments in a timely fashion and adapting to all the technical problems that can affect candidates and recruiters alike;
  • we always had a significant number of recruiters, greeters and interested employees around the building. It created buzz, drove our traffic numbers up, and gave candidates the impression we were serious about this, but knew how to have fun;
  • a few of us patrolled the building for a week before the event in order to meet candidates scoping out the location. The building intrigued them. I had a number of conversations with candidates who were unsure about participating because their unfamiliarity with the Second Life interface, but felt much more comfortable about it after assurances from me that they could switch to a phone if necessary.

Traffic numbers are a mysterious metric of how busy a location is, modulated by the amount of activity as measured by transactions and conversations (as far as I can tell). I was pumped to meet the recruiting manager for Linden Lab. A combination of our traffic numbers and press about the event caused him to drop by and find out what the buzz was about.

In a later posting, I’ll discuss some of our learnings. If you’ve got questions about recruiting in the Second Life world, feel to ask by posting a comment. If you want to know more about working at EMC, follow this link.

PS: If you’re wondering why I don’t say “in Second Life”, it’s because of the new trademark usage rules imposed by Linden Lab.


  1. […] an interview with Eugene Gorelik who was hired in one of the recruiting fairs I wrote about (here, here and here).  As you can read from Eugene’s comments, the simple act of reaching out to […]

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