BDO trialling virtual reality game for recruitment

19 July 2019 4 min. read

Auditing and advisory firm BDO has announced it is trialling a virtual reality game for new hires. The firm is currently testing a cause-and-effect test based on Alice in Wonderland to examine how potential employees solve problems.

Recent times have seen interview and recruitment processes come under intensifying scrutiny in the UK and across the world’s leading economies. With ageing populations depleting the workforce, while high employment and a rise in competition exacerbate the matter to the extent some firms believe the economy is suffering a ‘talent shortage’, the application procedure has become a key way in which valuable talent discerns between potential employers. Platforms such as Glassdoor give insight into a company’s hiring procedure, allowing prospective employees to pick which firms best suit their needs.

Companies which can demonstrate an innovative and comfortable process undoubtedly have an advantage over those who exhibit the opposite qualities, then. Increasingly, this seems to be where virtual reality (VR) or augmented reality (AR) come in. It has become clear it is wrong to think of the meteoric rise of VR and AR as solely resulting from demand in the entertainment sector. The manufacturing, healthcare and retail sectors are just some of the industrial environments in which the immersive technologies are being utilised in the name of training and education. The consulting industry is another market.

BDO trialling virtual reality game for recruitment

2019 has seen consultancies begin tapping the new technologies in earnest to help map out results in many different aspects of its work. Recently, this saw Accenture’s graduate assessment days set candidates a range of tasks using immersive AR and VR technologies. These included entering an ‘Egyptian tomb’ to use problem solving skills to crack a hieroglyphics code, or performing the typical everyday task of running a conference call with a client from within a digital rendition of an Accenture office, giving candidates a level of physical immersion compelling natural behaviour, giving insight into how they might act in a job.

Now, BDO has announced it has joined the workplace gaming scene. It is attempting to attract top new talent with an Alice in Wonderland-themed game which tests potential recruits’ abilities in problem-solving and assessing cause and effect. As reported by the Telegraph, the games will see recruits try to find a key in a specialist room at BDO’s Baker Street offices, in which objects and the player change size depending on the actions taken. BDO designed the challenge to assess how people establish cause and effect, as Alice, when in Wonderland, grows or shrinks depending on what she consumes in one particular room.  

Speaking about the innovative process, BDO’s UK Head of Audit Scott Knight said, “[The game] shows how people can adapt their own behavior depending on the circumstances around them as well as highlighting resilience and independent thinking.”

BDO is currently looking to enhance its position in the UK’s market, following its acquisition of Moore Stephens. The move made BDO the UK’s fifth-largest professional services firm, and it is now looking to both fend off competition for new talent from disruptive start-ups and tech firms, as well as attract talent away from the Big Four. Amid this, BDO is continuing to work to improve its overall recruitment process, and has already increased the number of digital interviews it holds.

Knight added, “To attract these people, accountancy firms need to make sure that the recruitment process is fun and innovative as well as helping us to know the real person better and understand their IQ, [along with their] emotional and digital intelligence. I think we are ahead of the game but I don’t think we have long [before other firms follow suit].”