5 Tips for Using Gamification in Recruiting

gamification
Andrew Deen

Andrew Deen

Consultant
Andrew Deen has been a consultant for startups in almost every industry from retail to medical devices and everything in between. He is currently writing a book about scaling up business and his experience implementing lean methodology.
Andrew Deen

@AndrewDeen14

Consultant. Speaker. Writer. Discovering new stories in business, health, criminal justice & sports. Always look for an iced coffee in hand.
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Lately, recruiters have been moving away from traditional hiring methods and the same old stodgy and ineffective interview questions. That’s a good thing, but the new frontier of recruiting comes with many new methods, some of which can be difficult to leverage effectively. Gamification has had its vogue in recruiting, but many companies haven’t see good results from using this approach—probably because it’s not an easy tool to use in recruiting. That doesn’t mean that gamification doesn’t have a place in recruiting. We all know how unpleasant job-hunting can be, and gamification can make the recruiting process more painless for the applicants—and even pleasant. Considering gamification for your recruiting process? Here are 5 tips for doing it right.

Stand Out

When you’re using gamification in recruiting, your job ad can’t be boring. If you want to attract innovative, enthusiastic talent, you need to reflect that energy in your job descriptions and advertising. Attract candidates with your compelling ad—then woo them further with a quick gamified assessments to figure out who should be at the top of your call list.

Surprise Them

One of the major problems with asking standard interview questions is that candidates can be prepared for them. Because of this, it’s difficult to get a sense of the candidate’s real personality, strengths, and weaknesses. Clever gamification will surprise candidates, and avoid the pitfalls of a standard interview process. Candidates won’t know what they’re getting into, so they’re more likely to be themselves in gamified assessments. Could your next project manager or developer be among them?

Use the Tournament Model

While there are many software-based gamification models out there, nothing beats in-person competition. Google has been using the tournament model in recruiting for years, hosting the Google Code Jam to find the best new coders in the business. Though the competition is not outwardly a recruiting strategy, Google uses it to identify potential employees. This approach only works for skills that can be used in a competitive environment.

Use Games for Initial Screening

It takes time to pre-screen candidates, especially for technical roles. Gamification can help solve this problem by pre-qualifying candidates before they even get on the phone with you. One big data firm used this approach to hiring developers—candidates could complete coding games and see how their skills stacked up against other applicants. A UK government agency also took this approach, requiring applicants to solve a code on their website in order to apply. This tactic will help ensure that only quality candidates make it to the next round of screening.

Show, Don’t Tell

Many jobs aren’t for the faint of heart, and high turnover can be crippling for businesses. Recruiting costs are often very high, and losing new hires quickly can put a drain on the business. A French postal service wanted to solve this problem. They did this by setting up their own game that walked candidates through a week on the job. Instead of going through the hiring process and finding out that the job wasn’t a good fit, candidates could get a realistic view of what the job would entail. Marriott took a similar approach, creating a game that simulated running a hotel—points for pleasing customers, penalties for disappointing them. These games help candidates set expectations, and can help weed out those who aren’t up to the pressure.

How Do You Set Up Gamification?

Evidence shows that even though gamification in recruiting may not be as popular as it was a few years ago, there are still ways to use it effectively and find quality candidates. If you’re interested in using gamification in recruiting, you’ll want to look into gamification platforms, which allow companies to create their own games without needing special skills or resources. These can be surprisingly affordable, and are perfect for smaller companies. Could gamification help you step up your recruiting game? There’s only one way to find out.

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