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Deloitte goes gaming to find young recruits

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Challenge: Catching the attention of young, potential employees from the video game generation is difficult for many companies. Deloitte & Touche USA, a professional services firm, faced this challenge recently and is trying to address it with a deliberately playful solution.

“Two things we see [in the new generation of employees] is the desire to be able to work anywhere, anytime ... a pure state of flexibility. The other is technology,” said Casey Carlson, senior manager of human resources at Deloitte & Touche.

While Carlson said the company has been successful in its recruiting efforts, it wanted to reach more students—even before they entered college. “We wanted to put the kinds of job opportunities of Deloitte in front of young people earlier,” Carlson said.

Solution: In early 2005, Deloitte teamed up with BrandGames, New York, a youth marketing agency, to create Event, a multiplayer game simulation that also measures skills, such as research acuity. The main task of the game is to put on an event in the virtual world of New City. Participants must meet some of the game’s 80 characters, get debriefed and make decisions. While players interact inside New City, they are also tested on how they handle money, behave ethically and tolerate ambiguity, Wexler said.

In addition to using the game to assess a job candidate’s skills, Deloitte wanted to promote its corporate brand, “that there’s a company called Deloitte that speaks their language,” said Jim Wexler, exec VP at BrandGames.

BrandGames is helping Deloitte appeal to the generation of a consumer-centric world used to having everything its way, Wexler said. “The reason Deloitte and other big companies are considering games and sims [simulations] to communicate with the next generation is because they are different,” Wexler said.

Deloitte is using the game to show potential employees the excitement of working at their company. A 25-year-old does not want to stare at a manual at orientation for the company when they could be wrapped up in a virtual world that mirrors the experience of working there, Wexler said. “A print piece doesn’t hit them when they have been IM-ing all day,” he said.

Video games, while enjoyable for the player, are great data collection opportunities, too, Wexler said. The hope is that the game will help Deloitte attract talent while offering potential employees a risk-free experience of what it’s like to work at Deloitte & Touche.

Results: Although the game doesn’t debut until October, a pilot for a few hundred people was introduced in April. “They spent a lot of time in there. It ran well, and people responded well,” Wexler said. “It’s been proven with customers that kids under 40 respond to this format and find it relevant and interesting, and the data that come out of it is useful.”

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