Winners Innovation Contest getting ready to start developing VR assessment tool
On March 2nd, the House of HR Innovation Contest ceremony took place in Paris. The Talent&Pro delegation from powerhouse Redmore took home the gold. The winning idea: a state-of-the-art VR assessment tool that allows employers and candidates to be matched more accurately and objectively. A real game changer in the world of recruitment. The Talent&Pro team consisted of Tobias Weier (People Manager), Sofie Bijvoet (Account Manager), Mathilde de Oude (Unit Manager), Seda Westerbeek (Human Resource Development Manager), and Charlotte van Ouwekerk (Corporate Recruiter). We asked the latter how they worked together from idea to winning pitch.
What is the Innovation Contest exactly?
Charlotte: House of HR is one of the largest HR service providers in Europe. Every other year, they organize the House of HR Innovation Contest, which challenges the boutiques to come up with innovative ideas that can be applied within House of HR. In the previous edition, an app for video recruitment won the contest. This year, my team and I get to realize our VR assessment tool.
A virtual reality assessment tool: what does it actually entail?
Charlotte: With this tool, we can help candidates assess their match with a vacancy through a VR environment and the likelihood that the job matches their skills. It can help people be happier and more successful in a job. We believe that everyone has qualities. A written assessment or a job interview does not always succeed in mapping those qualities. By introducing candidates to practical situations in a VR environment, you both make the process more fun for them and get a more accurate picture of the candidate. How great would it be if, as a job seeker, you get objective feedback on which job would fit you well in case of an seeming mismatch? Soon, we hope to apply this tool throughout the entire House of HR and match people based on data and with less risk of bias.
“How great would it be if, as a job seeker, you get objective feedback on which job would fit you well in case of an seeming mismatch?”
Where did your inspiration come from for this idea?
Charlotte: A while ago, I came across an article on LinkedIn about gamification and the recruitment and selection of actuaries. I forwarded that message to Mathilde (de Oude, Manager House of Bèta, ed.) on the same Friday. The message’s angle was: what do you do when the talent supply dries up for your organization? Because good actuaries are very difficult to find, and training them takes time. Our colleagues at House of Bèta know this all too well. Over the weekend, I added it all up: this would be a fantastic idea for House of HR’s Innovation Contest.
I proposed it to Mathilde. Together, we enlisted Tobias from his role as a recruiter of actuarial talent at the time. Then we had to get Seda on board to help develop the concept from a human resource development perspective. And for a little more knowledge and brainpower in the development, Sofie joined the group. I really want to give a shout-out to these guys because it was a team effort. Everyone contributed enormously to the winning concept, each from their own area of expertise.
Together, we incorporated the idea of gamification, the use of game elements in a non-game environment, into our core business at Talent&Pro: helping talents discover and further develop their talent.
The road to Paris was long, what steps did you take to get there?
Charlotte: After submitting our proposal, we were invited to pitch our idea for the board of Redmore. In this round, we competed against teams from our sister companies ITDS, Profource, and Triple A. According to the panel of judges, we were the most innovative and fitting in terms of what we our label and the other Redmore labels do. After this round, we continued to work on our presentation. This helped, because on March 2nd, we also won the final in Paris. Seven House of HR Powerhouses were given exactly ten minutes each to pitch their idea. The best three then gave a power pitch of three minutes. When the dust settled, we were the only ones left standing. The jury and House of HR CEO Rika Coppens summed up our VR assessment tool as “a true reflection of innovation.”
“The jury and House of HR CEO Rika Coppens summed up our VR assessment tool as ‘a true reflection of innovation.”
Your guys won the House of HR Innovation Contest, but what’s next?
Charlotte: We’re going to implement the idea with the €250,000 budget provided by House of HR to the winners. We’re currently in talks with a potential partner for the design of the VR environment. They’ve done this before for other organizations, including the police. We’re also working with a specialist who helps us validate and scientifically support our assessment model. For example: how to make competencies measurable, which indicators to formulate and apply, and which practical situations can be set up for them in the VR environment? We aim to showcase a metaverse during the House of HR festival in September and introduce the VR assessment tool within Talent&Pro and House of HR in 2023.