America's favorite pastime seems to be video games. We've already seen the whole Pokemon Go craze that had everyone looking for mythical creatures in their neighborhoods. And why not? It's a great way to unwind after a stressful day at the office. But could it also be a viable way for recruiters to evaluate candidates in a non-biased way? Could the skills that gamers have transfer to career success? Some experts think so, which means gaming technology is gaining traction as a tool used to attract the next generation of the workforce.
Gaming is big business
According to Statista, as of 2016, global video games sales have reached $101.62 billion, and the average adult spends around 23 minutes a day engaged in video gaming. The majority of players are 18 to 35, but there are also a growing number of Baby Boomers engaged in this activity. The emergence of cheaper mobile devices has made it easier for people of all ages to access games. It's also a natural fit for recruiters who are connecting with more candidates using mobile apps.
Unilever, a global supplier of food, home, personal care and refreshment products, recently launched a new digital recruitment program that will use online gaming for candidate selection. The company currently receives more than 250,000 graduate applications annually, necessitating a way to weed through all of these candidates using digital technology. Their new gaming initiative mixes gaming with video interviews to find the best and brightest candidates. According to Leena Nair, Unilever's Chief HR Officer, "From the CV, to the candidate search, to the interview, we're using technology to create a truly interactive experience allowing us to get a more meaningful connection with applicants."
How does this work?
After completing an application, candidates are invited to play a series of brief games. The way in which applicants play these games allows Unilever to determine each candidate’s potential while examining how well they connect with the company’s goals and purpose. Those who perform well are invited to a video interview, and later, a face-to-face interview for career consideration. It’s the real-world equivalent of slaying the dragon to get inside the castle.
Gaming is a highly complimentary medium for recruiters. Isabel Williams, HR Specialist at UK-based BizDb, who contributes to RecruitLoop, says, "The thing about gamification is that it essentially provides a great incentive for action. Rewarding and recognizing the highest achieving players in the hiring game, recruiters can easily spot those candidates that fit the offered position." Most gaming systems have rating and performance scores built in, which highlight the candidates who rise to the top. It's no wonder that recruiters can use this to evaluate each candidate based on his or her own merit and leave other biases out of the equation.
Using gaming to attract and select candidates
Fortunately, there are a number of methods available to employers when integrating gaming elements into any stage of the recruitment process. This can support greater engagement with potential hires and help remove bias in candidate selection.
- Rewards system — Set your application process up as a game itself, with a series of rewards for completing each section. As the candidate fills out his or her information, uploads a resume, adds references and more, award them with a gold star. This can be a motivating factor that helps you keep candidates in the ATS so they complete the process.
- Interview tests — If you are conducting standard telephone or face-to-face interviews, you can send each candidate a brief test in advance. Or you can have something waiting for them when they arrive that’s a fun ice-breaker, but also evaluates their ability to solve complex problems.
- Video tryouts — Take your dull video interviews to new heights by adding a fun gaming component to them. Set up brief videos with members of your team to be conducted on the same day. In between live video sessions, send candidates to a gaming portal to "earn" their way to the next level.
These are just a few simple ideas to get started with adding a gaming element to your current application and recruitment screening process. Of course, any company can design a custom gaming portal, complete with built in candidate evaluations, analytics and more, at a cost based on the features added.
Some things to consider
On the flip side, some may find gamification intrusive. After all, what candidates do and the games they excel at on their own personal time shouldn't bare much in terms of actual work skills. It's the proverbial mouse-in-a-maze feeling that employers need to avoid at all costs when designing gaming aspects in their recruitment portal. Gaming should be easy to opt out, not everyone enjoys it or has the ability to participate. Organizations must also to be mindful not to excluding protected groups of employees through the use of gaming technology.
As a whole, however, gaming is well-received by the most competitive of candidates and can be a great way to spice the recruitment process up, all the while providing valuable information to recruiters.