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1672230cookie-checkGamification in Recruiting: How It Works In Hiring Talent
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13 December 2021

Gamification in Recruiting: How It Works In Hiring Talent

In recent times, games have become an essential part of our lives. Estimates show that a third of the world’s population plays games, and most of these people do so on their mobile devices. The lockdown also sped up the process of people engaging in games. Gamers don’t use games only to relax but to stimulate the brain and engage the mind. Therefore, it’s unsurprising that recruiters weigh their options for using them in the recruitment process. The article will discuss the definition of gamification, the benefits, a brief history, and the opposition argument against it.

What is Gamification?

Gamification is a concept that uses game theory, mechanics, and game design to assess, motivate, and engage people. The whole point of gamification is to engage potential talents or employees with tasks, rewards, and achievements, like in a game.

A Brief History

Nick Pelling, a computer programmer, coined the term gamification in 2003. But the idea behind using games as a way for people to learn or experience an environment far predates the coining of the word. In 1984, Charles A. Coonradt wrote a book titled “The Game of Work: How to Enjoy Work as Much as Play.” which spoke of ways to make work more enjoyable while improving productivity.

By 2002, Ben Sawyer and David Rejecsk founded the Serious Games initiative. They created programs for simulations and games. Soldiers would later use this to train by playing in a simulated environment, mimicking real-life scenarios. By 2007, companies like Ripple, Badgeville, and Bunchball would surface, offering gamification services.

The concept of gamification took off in 2010. Speakers Jesse Schell and Jane McGonigal brought attention to the subject, taking off and becoming a popular concept. Initially, skeptics saw gamification as a fad that will pass, a tech that will fail with time – but time has proved them wrong. The industry is now worth an estimated $9.1 billion and will grow to $30.7billion by 2025.

The history of gamification highlights one factor that has followed it with time – skepticism. Companies are careful in their implementation and are wary of it, and taking precautions is wise with any new technology. Although the evidence suggests, there is more to gain than lose.

Gamification in Recruitment

Sourcing qualified candidates are one of the more challenging activities to perform in a recruitment process. It’s easy for recruiters to miss talents, even when using ATS technology to assist. Job interviews have become predictable and ineffective in recent years, with candidates practicing answering questions that are likely to be asked.

The rise of the internet has led to no surprises in questions asked anymore. Some sites even offer various services to help these candidates get interviews with working on their CVs. Talents also know how to deceive ATS systems and “add” what needs to be in their CV to qualify for the next stage.

A study by Leadership IQ shows how 46% of new hires don’t last up to 18 months in their jobs – highlighting the increase in candidates who can “dupe” the system. Gamification offers something different, and using games to test specific skills is surprising and engaging for the candidates.

In 2004, Google invited some people to solve several equation problems. Their aim was those who solved all the questions and had the motivation to finish would make excellent candidates.
The process ensured the company could test the candidates on a level playing field, and those who weren’t too interested in it dropped out of their own choice.

Google will not be the only company to practice this concept, as many others joined them, using gamification in their hiring process.

Benefits of Gamification In Recruitmen

Helps to reduce bias: One advantage of ‘gamifying’ a hiring process is that it provides a level field for everyone. There is a bias within everyone, and it may be race, experience, or gender, but it exists subconsciously. Most times, we don’t know we are biased, but we display it regardless.

Gamification helps by only testing the individual’s skills, not based on other matrics aside from how well the person performs in the game. Magyar Telekom in Hungary implemented gamification in their recruitment process and tested candidates for problem-solving skills, endurance, and goal orientation for sales roles.

They discovered that by using games, candidates with limited job experience passed. Some candidates who were also initially rejected passed this stage of the interview. It shows that CVs sometimes can lead to an uneven playing field.

It Can Help In Evaluating Candidates: Games designed to assess certain skill sets are usually good at doing that. Games are also ideal because they can create real-life scenarios where the individual will decide based on the information provided. This type of evaluation is done with no real-life consequences on the outcome, taking the pressure off the recruiter and candidate.

It’s Good for Brand Awareness: It’s always a good sign when companies think ahead. Gamification executed well can bring about good brand awareness. The talents can enjoy the game while also meeting targets and getting rewards. It’s technically a win-win situation.

Reach a wider pool: Gamification can be a way to attract a wider talent pool. While it can be used as an assessment process when hiring. Gamification can also be a way to advertise what it would mean to work in a position. Giving people a sneak peek into how the world of that person goes.

This idea can spark interest in talents who are uncertain about their career path or want to switch careers to give the job a try. Since games appeal to this generation, they can educate potential talents.

Improves Candidate Experience: Candidate experience is a hot topic as experts see the decline in the quality of candidates. One primary reason for this is the candidate’s experience. Gamification engages one by nature, and this is an efficient way to improve the talent’s job experience.

Points to Note During Implementation

If you decide to implement gamification, then it’s best to note the following points:

Choose Your Vendor Wisely: Different companies like Codility, BenchmarkGames, Bunchball Nitro, and the likes offer gamification services. Before signing with any vendor, ensure they have

  • A proven track record of success
  • An excellent research team behind their games
  • Their games are uncomplicated
  • Their price is within your budget.

The Game Tests For What You Want: It’s essential to the game-designed tests for the job role. Communicate the aim of the game to the vendors so they can create what the company wants. Avoid vague descriptions so the development of the game can go smoothly.

Explain To the Candidate’s the Aim of the Game: The candidates should know the reason for playing the game. This point is relevant because clarifying why they should play will give them a reason to take the exercise seriously and not see it as a waste of their time.

Argument against Gamification

Not Professional: Some recruiters and HR personnel view the use of games as not professional. The news is games are transcending the myopic look of the late 90s and early 2000s.

Today’s generation is accustomed to games and the use of games in various ways. A look at the changing landscape in marketing proves games are not only mere tools of entertainment anymore, or only for kids, but also a powerful marketing tool.

Not Sustainable: This argument is as old as the term gamification itself. Some still see gamification as a fad that will pass. An industry that cannot possibly stand the test of time. Fortunately, it has done that for the past ten years and is likely to continue in the future.

Cost: In all honestly, it is a heavy investment to commit to and one that must succeed if a company goes that route. But it is worth it when you consider the long-term implication and the value you can get from implementing it.

Final Thoughts

Gamification is becoming increasingly popular as companies view it as a step in the right direction. There are still skeptics, and there will always exist. But many companies have already implemented it in their daily business process, and it’s only a matter of time before the recruiting industry fully adopts it.

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