Australia’s Biggest Bank is Brilliantly Using Virtual Reality to Recruit

March 9, 2016

The Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA), the country’s largest bank with assets upwards of $850 billion, is seeking to become one of the most innovative companies in the world.

To make that happen, CBA has done things like build state-of-the-art innovation labs in Sydney and Hong Kong and develop new tech products, such as “tap-and-pay” point-of-sale apps.

What’s most critical to CBA becoming more innovative though is distancing itself from the stereotypical bank image of being a conservative and largely static organization, and positioning itself as an innovative, agile company. Why do they want to do this? To attract innovative technical talent.

In that vein, part of their recruiting strategy includes not just telling prospects how innovative their bank is, but showing them. And that took them to the world of virtual reality.

It began with CBA building a Virtual Reality Careers Experience and then showcasing it at a college career fair via Oculus Rift. Here were the results:

As you can see in the video, it proved popular. So they built a virtual reality app that pairs with Google Cardboard and released it to the world.

What CBA’s Virtual Reality Careers Experience is like

CBA’s Virtual Reality Career Experience begins with you in a CBA innovation lab. There, a CBA colleague tells you the bank is interested in building an app that would allow people to process invoices, so paper invoices are no longer needed.

From there, you are introduced to a small team you’ll run that includes a developer, an analyst and a marketer. In the experience, a series of challenges arise, and you are asked to make tough decisions, which have corresponding benefits and consequences.

  • commbank virtual reality

The goal is two-fold: To give you a clear insight into the culture of CBA and the projects their employees take on; along with the app itself showing off the type of innovative and agile thinking that happens within the bank’s workforce.

What this all means to you

CBA is hardly the only company that’s looking to change its employer brand to attract innovative talent; GE is another high-profile company doing the exact same thing.

Most organizations in the world are facing a similar struggle, with tech talent – a key ingredient to innovation – being so scarce.

Obviously, virtual reality isn’t the only tactic CBA is employing to get this done, as it requires a multi-channel, multi-content effort. That said, their Virtual Reality Careers Experience is an effective tactic, for several reasons.

First off, it is an ingenious way to give an inside look at what it is like to work at CBA, something strong employer branding should do. Second, it is unique and creates buzz, as you saw in the video where they brought it to a college campus.

Thirdly, and perhaps most importantly, using virtual reality to build candidate interest does more than for CBA than the company just saying it is an innovative bank. It shows it by having an innovative recruiting tool. And showing is always more effective than telling.

For any organization out there trying to attract tech talent itself, it might be worth brainstorming your own unique recruiting tool. Not only does it have the potential to create buzz, it also stands as proof of your own ingenuity.

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