Thursday, 1 March 2007

Is that TMP or Permanent?

Recently I blogged an entry about Hyro, a web & media company, who are using SL as a mechanism for recruiting creative, media-savvy techies. Others, including both IBM and PA Consulting, are also using SL as a recruitment channel. The reasoning for these companies is quite straightforward:

  • The SL population has a disproportionately large number of creative, media-savvy, techies;
  • The cost for pitching to this target group is miniscule, and
  • The pitch can be left in place, over a prolonged period if necessary, at zero extra cost.

Well shortly these companies, recruiting on their own behalf, will be joined by one of the giants in the recruitment field. “TMP Worldwide Advertising & Communications, the world's largest independent recruitment advertising agency, announced [recently] that it will bring new capabilities to corporate recruitment in 2007 via TMP Island… TMP Island is a space where recruiters will be able to network with prospective candidates, host events, conduct employee presentations, and even build virtual replicas of their real-world offices for unprecedented interaction with job seekers. ‘Initiatives like TMP Island showcase our dedication to innovation, our ability to bring imaginative, next-generation practices to employment marketing, and our commitment to finding leading-edge solutions for our customers,’ according to Michelle Abbey, president and CEO, TMP Worldwide.”

According to their press statement, several major corporations have expressed their support for the initiative, highlighting T-Mobile in particular. Meanwhile, a TMP VP went so far as to claim that their new island “represents the future of employment recruiting,” In fact, the full text of their press release – from which I have cherry-picked here –lays out more glowing expectations for SL.

Before you leap to that teleport and get yourself in there for the job of a lifetime, I have to warn you to be prepared for the “whoosh-ping!” of a failed TP. When I tried, the island was not yet open, despite the announcement having been made 2 weeks ago. That’s OK – it seems to be common when trumpeting a new SL presence, to do so long before you can actually go there. One day, someone will explain to me why this is a Good Idea.

My main concern is not the gushing enthusiasm, but the massive expectations that are being placed on SL. I had thought over the last month or two that the hype factory had wound down a bit – after all, it is hard to justify when lag, instability and inconsistent UI behaviour are an everyday feature of the environment. TMP appear to be blaring out a message that I cannot see SL living up to – and they may be over-promising to their clients. This feels like an unnecessarily risky approach, when a more measured approach might provide greater likelihood of success (if sounding a lot less cool’n’groovy).

In any event, I think they will need to adapt quickly to the actual SL experience - both good and bad - if they want to make a success of this. As for me... right now, do I hear the far off rustling of tumbleweed on the move?

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