Can ‘World of Warcraft’ Game Skills Help Land a Job?

Nevertheless, Mr. Reed said videogame experience could be a conversation-starter in an interview, although a hiring manager may wonder whether the candidate will be playing games in the office all day. He cautioned gamers to broach the topic “very subtly.”

Gamers’ ability to accomplish complex tasks across virtual teams could be seen as a plus for some companies.

Fran?oise LeGoues, the former vice president of innovation at International Business Machines Corp., said gamers can thrive at firms like IBM, where employees must collaborate with colleagues anywhere in the world, often without having met in person.

“This capability to engage in strategy-building, team-building, knowledge-sharing and problem-solving remotely is really important,” said, Ms. LeGoues, currently vice president of transformation at the YAI Network of nonprofits.

As he searches for a full-time work, Don Spafford, a 30-year-old electronics engineer from San Antonio, lists his class and guild rank on his résumé along with his role leading raids in “World of Warcraft.” That experience, combined with his past job at Norwegian Cruise Lines and six years in the U.S. Navy, proves his abilities as a leader and communicator, he said.

“It’s a chance to stretch your leadership ability,” said Mr. Spafford, pointing to his experience heading teams of easily distracted virtual soldiers on raids. “Sometimes it’s like herding cats.”

MIT researcher Michael Schrage says a whole bunch of modern, digital pursuits such as fantasy baseball and Minecraft should eventually become appealing to hiring companies, since they signify modern skills. Bill Gates and Warren Buffett made playing bridge “cool” in the business world. Maybe it will take a top tech CEO from Facebook (FB), Apple (AAPL) or Google (GOOGL) to make video games acceptable as a future business skill.

“If a Mark Zuckerberg or Larry Page or Sheryl Sandberg were to be quoted saying that they’ve found that their best coders and project managers tend to do very well in WOW and/or fantasy leagues, then we’ll be on our way to creating new ‘norms’ for knowledge worker assessment,” Schrage says.