NASA's Virtual Recruitment Event With 500+ Participants
Industry: Insurance and Wealth Management
Organization: Canada LifeLocation: Vancouver, Canada
Use-case: Team-building festivities and annual holiday party
Challenge: Hosting an engaging virtual event that doesn't feel like a typical work meeting
Solution: Kumospace's spatial audio feature, virtual drinks, and immersive environments spark serendipitous conversations and engagement.
Customer Quote: "I love how fun it was in Kumospace to freely mingle, engage, and break off into different conversations."
In September 2021, NASA hosted its annual fall internship recruiting event online. More than 500 students, including undergraduates and graduate students, attended the seminar in the immersive virtual event platform Kumospace.
In Kumospace, participants met NASA hiring managers in a vivid, realistic setting that mimics the real world. Prospective intern recruits could freely move in and out of conversations using Kumospace's proximity chat, or spatial audio. With spatial audio the closer you are to others in Kumospace the louder you can hear them.
Esteban Morales, the Agency Recruitment Lead for NASA, organized the event. "There is something called virtual meeting fatigue. I can tell you that a lot of us have been dealing with that," he says. "Kumospace was a breath of fresh air for everyone."
He said they especially wanted to appeal to potential interns. In the past, Esteban has used other online platforms for intern recruitment events and many participants had their cameras off and didn’t fully engage.
"When that happens you don't really know if they're paying attention or not. Kumospace definitely increases the percentage, or the likelihood, of the participants to actually have their cameras on and engage," Esteban says. "Because of that, our hiring managers can also see soft skills in play such as: are you allowing other people to speak? Or are you dominating the conversation? You can get a sense of a lot of traits from seeing the students converse in the platform. In other platforms where you're all crammed into one space, you don't necessarily get to see that."
Using Kumospace for recruiting also helped Esteban's team save time and resources. "To a certain extent, because we are a public service agency we can't, at times, compete financially against industry. The hours, planning logistics, and the number of meetings that were cut back due to the fact that we weren't traveling were really significant," he says. "The travel dollars decreased and so did things like paying for the booth space as well as the printing budget to make the brochures and shipping charges."
The remote location of the event also helped attract a diverse candidate pool to the event, democratizing access to many who may have not been able to attend an in-person event because of time or location. "We have students as far as Alaska, Hawaii, and even students located at Native American reservations that probably wouldn't have been able to participate in our recruitment event had the event not become virtual," Esteban says.
One distinctive feature of Kumospace is that hosts can customize different virtual floors by choosing from a range of furniture and decor options and they can add their own Spotify playlists, YouTube videos, logos, or pictures. Esteban worked with his team to customize more than a dozen floors in Kumospace complete with NASA-themed floors that matched the real-life NASA centers. "We had a Johnson floor, we had a Goddard Space Flight Center floor, we had a Kennedy Space Center floor — we had all nine of our centers. Within those floors, we had hiring managers that were invited to speak to these students," Esteban explains.
Esteban created a NASA Recruiting Office room and customized it with collaboration spaces, huddle rooms, a break room, and even a piano playing classical music. He also included YouTube TVs featuring informational videos, which was a feature in all of the NASA Kumospace floors.
"The ability to have the videos from the NASA centers loop in the background really helped," he says. "Because as much as students would talk to our technical experts, our hiring managers, and our program experts they also had the ability to go listen to the videos, which provided them useful information about the programs and other information about our missions."
The students weren't the only participants that found Kumospace engaging.
"Even our executives, because we had a few executives participating in the event, found Kumospace out-of-the-box, engaging, and innovative, which is what NASA strives for. Exploring the unknown, finding new ways in order to reach for the stars, and land on planets. That's us."
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