Lloyds Banking Group is to use virtual reality (VR) headsets to separate the wheat from the chaff when recruiting graduates.
The first intake to face the challenge will be those applying for a place in Lloyd’s class of 2017 Digital and IT graduate schemes this autumn. This crop of graduates can expect to be tested in a series of virtual scenarios, which would apparently be otherwise impossible to test in a conventional assessment.
Lloyds has been coy on the precise details, but disclosed that graduates will be presented with a series of puzzles designed to draw out their strengths and earmark potential future leaders. Lloyds hopes to reap rewards from the tests by using them to draw out a candidates true personality in a way that paper-based testing cannot.
In a statement announcing the news, Lloyds said “candidates will be given complete freedom of movement within a 360-degree virtual world where they will be able to move virtual objects using tracked motion controls.”
Chris Jackson, interim performance, talent and development director at the bank, said: “Adopting virtual reality into the assessment process demonstrates the group’s commitment to digital transformation as part of the Helping Britain Prosper plan. We are the first organization to use this pioneering technology to assess the strengths of potential future leaders of our organization.”
LLoyds said it currently receives roughly 20,000 applications a year for its 14 graduate leadership programs.
Real gains for virtual worlds
One of the often cited drawbacks of VR is its cost. It’s widely recognized that this technology is expensive to buy and make. Yet this move by Lloyds comes off the back of a stream of VR announcements this year.
Facebook’s Oculus Rift and Sony’s PlayStation VR have been released to the market, with Microsoft expected to launch its answer to PlayStation next year. Chinese e-commerce firm, Alibaba has also just shared details for its VR Pay system, which lets users purchase real goods in a virtual store simply by nodding their head.
So while VR might be at the top of the infamous Gartner hype cycle — an honour which usually comes before a technology reaches the ‘trough of disillusionment’ — it’s a technology that looks to be getting genuine traction in the real world.