Looking for Talent, This Media Agency Is Employing Virtual Reality Office Tours at SXSW

MEC's recruiting gets high-tech

MEC is transporting its New York office culture to South by Southwest Interactive through virtual reality films, as the agency wants to give prospective employees at the Austin, Texas, festival a high-tech glimpse into what its like to work there in 2016.

This weekend, MEC is debuting three VR films at its booth during SXSW, according to global chief talent officer Marie-Claire Barker. Barker said SXSW tends to attract people outside of traditional advertising, and she hopes that some of those people might be interested in seeing how they fit in a new career path.

"I don't know if you've been to a recruiting fair lately, but they can be a little dry in terms of their approach, and we'd rather have not been there, than been there and been dry," she said. "What we wanted to do is look at things in our industry as it relates to technology. Virtual reality is being talked about everywhere and is being used for various reasons, so I thought this would be a really good opportunity to use the virtual reality world and the current space."

MEC, working to develop three VR films for Google Cardboard, bought a 360-degree camera to record several films in-house, letting candidates see what it's like getting off the subway in Manhattan and walking down Seventh Avenue to MEC. The first film focuses on the digital teams, highlighting various social media operations and some work examples. Another portrays the company culture, and a third highlights the agency's creative moments. 

"If you think about it, when candidates come to your events, you want to know what a career path might look like, but the next question is what is the culture like," Barker said. "We see from our lens what the culture is like, but what we want to do is let them experience themselves in the culture of MEC."

The initiative builds on other recruiting events MEC has held over the past year in order to try invent ways of engaging with prospective employees. Last fall, during Advertising Week, MEC held a "live hire" event, allowing recruits to interview with executives on-the-spot in New York during the week-long shindig. A few months later, it held a cocktail event with L'Oreal to show recruits what it might be like working on the brand.

Here's an example of one of the films (which truly needs to be watched using Google Cardboard to get the full effect):