RAMAT GAN, Israel — Parents may need to stop telling their 20-something children to stop playing video games and get a job. Instead, they may need to encourage them to play more to get ready for an interview.
An Israeli office, global advertising juggernaut Saatchi & Saatchi, is doing job interviews for a programmer position. Yossi Lubaton, the CEO of BBR Saatchi & Saatchi, wants candidates to virtually meet him in the online game "Diablo III."
A video posted on YouTube.com says, "We are looking for a programmer who is a fearless digital warrior. A programmer who can contribute real-time teamwork, creative thinking under fire and a strong desire to crush the competition."
Lubaton, a "level 60 barbarian," promises in the video to invite one of the participants to his office where he or she will "receive 'Warmonger' the legendary sword, one million gold coins and maybe manager's insurance."
The sword and coins are, according to Corey Cummings at Techli, in-game awards.
Diablo III is a popular online strategy game where players cooperate to slash and hack hordes of demonic foes. Its fantasy world setting loosely borrows from Judeo-Christian themes. "You start by choosing a character from one of five archetypes: the barbarian and monk, who fight up-close; the demon hunter, who uses long-range weapons; and the wizard and witch doctor, who wield magic," an Associated Press review said.
Todd Wasserman at Mashable Business likes the idea. "Lubaton's strategy makes sense: Likely candidates will be on D3 anyway," he writes. "But it's also pretty savvy marketing by the agency. Either way, it's a nice change of pace from the usual, 'Where do you see yourself in five years?' style of traditional interviews."
Cummings at Techli said: "Lubaton is inviting hopeful employees to join him each Wednesday in July for a 30 minute session that includes cooperative demon slaying and a few personal questions to get to know the interviewees better."
The reason why the ad agency went the video game route, according to Bloomberg, is fewer than five people applied for each of the last three programmer jobs they had open. "So about a month and a half ago, a junior employee suggested using the popular computer game 'Diablo III' to find candidates," Bloomberg reported. "Two days after posting details about the Hell of a Job campaign, the agency received about 50 applications, Lubaton said. During the initial round of interviews Wednesday night, 60 players logged into 'Diablo III' ready to play. Six of them were chosen based on their resume to be interviewed while they played alongside the CEO, who was controlling a burly barbarian. Three of them, including a former member of the Israeli army intelligence unit, were invited to another round of interviews, he said."
But, as many things in the virtual world, not everything is as it seems. Lubaton admitted to Bloomberg that his high ranking in the game as a level 60 barbarian came from having a "junior employee spend work hours to reach the game's highest level for him."
No word on whether the junior employee complained about being paid for playing a video game. But the junior employee's parents are, no doubt, proud.