How Gamification Can Help You Attract The Best Talent

By Guest blogger - Mar. 1, 2015
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Editor’s Note: This is a guest post written by Isabel Williams – HR Specialist at UK-based BizDb – a one-stop business directory. Her opinions are her own.

Gamification is a relatively recent buzzword. Everyone talks about it, but very few really know how to leverage the benefits of gamified strategies applied to various business areas.

One of the sectors that could certainly change with the introduction of gamification in the near future is recruitment. Industry experts predict that this trend can already be seen in mainstream corporate management, so it’s only a matter of time before it spreads to other departments.

How can you gamify your recruiting practices?

Here’s a guide to ‘all things gamification’ that could be of value to both internal and agency recruiters who are always on the look out for ways to stay ahead of the game.

What exactly is gamification?

It’s actually quite simple. It’s nothing more than an application of ‘game dynamics’ in non-gaming contexts – such as project management, marketing or recruitment.

Gamification works in any sector that relies on engagement. It can help engage and motivate workers; it can help teams overcome specific challenges; and it can help change consumer behavior.

Gamification can also be useful for recruiting – since various strategies can allow recruiters to test candidates’ skills, motivate them to complete certain tasks, and generally engage with the recruitment process.

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.

How does gamification work for recruitment?

A gamified hiring process is one that makes employers more attractive in the eyes of job seekers.

Think about the competitions organised by tech giants like Google or Facebook – Google Code Jam and the Facebook Hacker Cup. These both resulted in twofold gains: more exposure and an opportunity to acquire fresh talent.

But that’s not all there is to gamification in recruitment.

Hiring managers can use these techniques to test candidates’ skills by constructing various situations focused on showcasing specific personality traits that would otherwise be difficult to check. Introducing ‘game elements’ can give recruiters a chance to assess full profiles of candidates and help determine their drive for innovation, their ability to problem solve, and their capacity to perform under pressure.

What types of organisations can benefit most from a gamified recruitment process?

Those looking for highly creative candidates with a strong learning orientation. A gamified recruitment process works well in sectors suffering from a shortage of skilled candidates or where competition for qualified candidates is very high.

How to gamify your hiring process

Hiring managers have already observed that gamification is most appreciated by ‘millennial’ candidates who find it easy to relate to this kind of hiring dynamic. After all, they are a generation that has practically been brought up on virtual reality games.

Still, the results achieved through games depend mostly on their design. Several companies hire professional coaches or agencies to acquire gamified strategies designed to solve certain problems or achieve specific goals.

Cost can often be an issue with the price of a custom-made ‘recruitment game’ ranging from $50,000 to a smashing $3 million!

Fortunately not all gamified strategies involve such exorbitant costs.

Here are a few examples of some actions you can take right now to incorporate a gamified element into your hiring process, which will help you source and engage talent.

  • Virtual job fairs – the web is full of tools that allow to easily create a virtual job fair, perfect for sharing more information about various positions. This will help you attract candidates and, if the design is suitably engaging, help you to test their qualifications.
  • Tests and puzzles – this is both an effective and a relatively inexpensive strategy for getting some valuable data throughout the hiring process. Incorporate games, multi-person discussions, short tests and problem-solving tasks to help assess a candidate’s competencies.
  • Rewards – if you’re running a candidate focused website as a part of your recruitment process, this could be a place for gamification as well. Every time a candidate leaves a comment, rates a video, takes a poll or performs a different action, you can give rewards like points and badges to make the process more engaging.
  • Real-time progress – another good idea for candidate focused websites is to provide a neat progress bar so candidates can instantly see how far they are into the recruitment process, helping them to focus on reaching later stages and collecting the ‘prize’.
  • Video-based interviews – giants like Sherwin-Williams or Starbucks are already using ‘video tryouts’ for some jobs. It really is a perfect tool. Use a camera, prepare a script and you’re ready to test your candidates. Review their real-time reactions later – it will only add support to your hiring decision.

Gamification is definitely an interesting option to spice up your hiring process.

It’s highly unlikely that gamified strategies will completely replace traditional recruiting tactics in the future. But breaking the routine with gamified experiences can be very rewarding – helping you to source and engage talent, check their skills and qualifications, and make sure that you attract top candidates into your organisation.

Isabel Williams is a Human Resources Specialist at BizDb. She combines a deep background in Internet Science with her intense expertise in New Technologies. She is a seasoned educator lecturing about leveraging the potential of the World Wide Web for professional development.

Photo by Ashley MacKinnon


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