Takeda’s new recruiting tactic: virtual reality office tours

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Want to recruit top talent from afar? Try wooing them with a cool virtual tour of your office and the surrounding area.

That’s the tactic being used by Takeda Pharmaceuticals, which this summer began offering a virtual tour of their Cambridge, Massachusetts, campus as a way to recruit candidates coming from outside of the Boston area. The tour combines 360-degree photographs of Takeda’s campus and an interactive map of the surrounding neighborhood, highlighting hotspots like restaurants, gyms and shopping centers, in addition to Takeda’s buildings.

“We are using it with candidates when we’re trying to promote different things in the area,” says Edward Schmitz, Takeda’s regional head of talent acquisition. “[We’re] giving them a one-stop-shop to learn more about the location.”

Takeda is hoping the virtual tour will help them stand out from the competition. Massachusetts houses some of world’s largest pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies including Sanofi, Biogen, Novartis and Pfizer, according to industry group MassBio. Takeda is the sixth largest biopharma employer in the state — it has 30,000 employees worldwide and 5,000 in the U.S. — and faces fierce competition from more than 1,000 companies recruiting from the area, MassBio reports.

The company recently announced it would be closing its headquarters in suburban Chicago, and moving to the Boston area, the Associated Press reported.

Takeda’s tour was created by software company Concept3D using their TourBuilder platform. The platform was released in July, and Chris Munz, vice president of business development at Concept3D, says it can be used as a way for new employees or potential candidates to get a feel for the location, without actually having to come to the office.

“All of the companies I’ve talked to realize that the talent that’s out there is looking from afar, and they’re doing it digitally,” Munz says.

TourBuilder is a self-service tool that can be used with any 360-degree camera or smart phone app, Munz says. After a user has selected photos or videos they would like to include in the tour, Concept3D will “stitch it all together,” Munz says, and create a map or virtual tour. The cost of TourBuilder varies depending on the type of plan a user selects, but a mid-range plan runs about $249 per month.

Schmitz says the virtual tour helps to acquaint new employees and their families with Cambridge. Takeda partnered with recruiters, HR business partners and new employees to try and understand what type of information might be useful to someone who is new to Boston. The finished product, he says, is modeled after campus tours posted online by universities and hospitals.

“Anytime you’re coming from outside of an area, anything you can do to become more familiar with it is helpful,” he says.

Schmitz says he typically introduces the virtual tour to candidates during the interview stage, but it is available online for anyone to view. Takeda has only been using the system for a couple of months, Schmitz says, and has not yet gotten feedback from new hires.

In the coming months, he says, the company will be embedding videos in the platform, like a walking tour of its buildings and testimonials from current employees.

“We’re doing everything we can to ensure we’re promoting Takeda as well as the areas that we work in,” he says.

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Recruiting tools Employee engagement Employee relations Employee communications HR Technology Recruiting Virtual reality