The US Army launched a trend of a kind when it first released a game called America's Army, "to provide the public a virtual soldier experience that was engaging, informative and entertaining" — and ultimately attract potential recruits.
The game proved so popular that businesses are following suit with their own industry-specific tasks and aims. Playing on the current popularity of online social games like Farmville, Citiville and the like, some major global brands have decided to release their own games as part of their recruiting and candidate engagement strategies.
Fancy shooting zombies in the kitchen of a busy Manhattan hotel while planning the next lettuce order? Jumping over rolling barrels of toxic waste while getting around to source the best energy deals for a hi-tech plant? Well, no, but not far off either.
Siemens launched Plantville, a game that simulates the experience of running a virtual plant, complete with KPIs and budgeting for process improvement. Tom Varney, head of marketing and communications, also believes bringing the game to school children could improve the image of manufacturing jobs with young people, and hopes it will help circumvent the looming skills shortages.
A similar approach is being used by Marriott International: My Marriott Hotel is a facebook game that aims to give players a realistic picture of the challenges involved in managing the smooth running of a kitchen in a Marriott hotel (no zombies involved as far as I know).
Interestingly, Marriott International's Global HR executive VP, David Rodriguez, suggests the game may fill a gap in emerging markets where the hospitality-industry tradition is less prestigious or established, such as India and China, in order to interest the 18-27 age group in careers in the industry. Mobile gaming is one of the next developments for the Marriott games series that will also cover other aspects of the business.
As you would have guessed, if it is targeting young adults, then there must be an app for it. Even PepsiCo has gotten into the act, launching a series of apps that provide prospective candidates with insights on the jobs and company.