Fun & Games: The future of recruitment gamification



What is recruitment gamification and how are businesses utilising it now?

What does it mean to ‘gamify’?

‘Fun’ probably isn’t a word most of us would use to describe the recruitment experience. This is set to change; and the wheels are already in motion. You could argue the recruitment process is somewhat a game anyway, with so many candidates playing the ‘interview game’ ending up landing the job when their counterparts are more qualified. But by actually gamifying some of the processes, business can eliminate this as a problem, as well as take advantage of numerous other benefits.

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If it’s not a term you’re already familiar with, gamification is applying game design theories to everyday & business situations. Put simply, the notion of gamifying the recruitment process is to achieve two things; apply computer game logic to hiring, and to create a buzz about the employer brand. It’s a combination of talent analytics with an improved candidate experience. This is why it’s the future of recruitment, and some notable companies are already taking advantage.

Why Gamify your recruitment process?

It’s not all about providing a fun game for candidates to play before an interview; there’s a number of benefits that can be taken from gamifying the recruitment process. As already noted, the experience that a candidate has with the business can be vastly improved. A good candidate experience is crucial to building a great employer brand so that the those in the job market want to work for you! Recruitment gamification is one way to achieve this.

Adding an element of gamification provides valuable data that can be used to assess candidates prior to a formal interview. The way somebody plays a game, how they interact with elements of the brand within the game and the sores they achieve can tell the business a lot about a person. In some of the examples below, leader boards are used to pre-screen candidates. When the games are directly based on aspects of the job itself, a candidates’ virtual performance gives an indication of how they may perform in the role. Furthermore, performance in these games helps to identify soft skills that are important for the job; problem solving and creativity skills can be identified from playing these games.

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Gamifying the process takes away some of the dull elements of the recruitment process and replaces them with fun. One element of the recruitment process that would be made more ‘fun’, is teaching and explaining to candidates exactly what it is the business does; including this as part of the game eliminates the need for lectures on company history and values.

Who’s already doing it?

Is anyone taking advantage of recruitment gamification right now? If you were to bet, you’d probably say the companies investing in gamification are niche tech start-ups maybe, well, its already a lot more mainstream than you might think.

For example, Marriot hotels use a virtual hotel app to reflect what it would be like to run a hotel. Users of the game get to to ‘do it for real’ to gain an understanding of the processes required for the job.

Similarly, Siemens launched their own candidate experience game, Plantville; which lets the candidate play virtual plant manager. The idea behind the game was to get candidates experiencing the role prior to the job. By spending hours playing a game directly built around the job, once they’re working on it in real life, they have a better understanding of the role.

But there’s also a growing industry for software providers of recruitment gamification. BadgeVille, used by the likes of Walmart enables them to track candidate performance, providing real time feedback whilst characterising users based off their game performance.

The future

What the above examples have demonstrated is only the potential of gamification. Experts forecast that adoption of gamification will be far more wide spread as more companies realise the value in making recruitment processes more fun and engaging for candidates, but also have an understanding of how to use gamification data to make smarter recruitment decisions.