Gamification in Recruitment: Advantages & Disadvantages

I’m sure you have heard the word gamification plenty of times. And in fact, gamification in recruitment is getting more and more popular, as it has slowly proven its business case. However, that doesn’t always mean that everyone knows what it entails, what are its benefits of it and how to implement this within an organisation. 

If used correctly, gamification in recruitment not only raises the hiring quality, but also improves candidate experience. However, like most great things, it is a double edged sword. 

In this blog, I will elaborate on both the advantages and disadvantages of using gamified assessments in recruitment, so you can get a full picture of what it entails.

Game-based assessments: A Short Intro

When we talk about gamification, we mean the application of game based elements in non-game related contexts. Game-based assessments allow the candidates to show their natural, unconscious behaviour and abilities. 

To put it simply, gamified assessment refers to modifying the original form of traditional assessment by adding game elements to increase motivation. 

Gamified assessments can be used throughout the initial stages of the hiring process, as well as to ensure better employee onboarding and future development.

It’s not all fun and games: 4 disadvantages of gamification

#1. Not everything that is gamified will automatically be good

Just throwing game elements at something does not automatically imply it’ll be good. An assessment that is gamified, however lacks scientific foundation for the results and the interpretations it provides, is as good as nothing.

The games are only reliable & useful if they are backed up by research and validated as novel scientific instruments.

#2. You have to be ready & open for change

In some cases, implementing gamification within recruitment practices can require opennes to change in mindset. 

Change is one thing that people tend to fear the most. Combine that with the unknown and you’ve got a recipe for disaster and judgements that are not based on facts. 

Totally normal reaction by the way – because it strips away the feeling of being in control which is a completely human feeling. This also applies to using gamification in recruitment – it’s something relatively new compared to traditional assessment methods such as CVs and motivational letters. And what is new, unknown and requires change in mindset – can often be scary. 

#3. Bias can still occur & algorithms need to constantly be reassessed

Gamified assessments are built on predictive algorithms and the ultimate job of these predictive algorithms is to analyze data, recognize patterns and produce automated reports.

When AI is used for gamification purposes, it’s all about being critical and continuously measuring what’s happening. It’s about this ethical mindset and that is why the algorithms need to be constantly reassessed for bias.

#4. Your employer brand might not be ready for it

Gamification is the newest and coolest method to assess a candidate’s personality and cognitive/soft skills. But – it’s not for everyone. Before deciding to use gamification in your recruitment process just for the sake of it – gamification is not a digital version of something that solves the problem you have or something that entirely is there to replace every human-decision ever made in a company. 

It’s no magic cure. Yet, it is the very first step to take when trying to remove bias from your hiring process while simultaneously expanding your talent pool and improving hiring quality.

Game changer: 6 advantages of gamification

So, now that I’ve discussed some disadvantages of using gamification in recruitment, let me shine some light on how gamification can improve your hiring process.

#1. Data-backed and objective insights to start hiring for potential

Something that might surprise you is the scientific foundation of games. It’s not just fun and engaging – games are built and validated upon decades of scientific research and neuroscience.

Created by a team of neuroscientists, cognitive psychologists, organizational psychologists, data scientists, game designers, and recruitment experts, gamified assessments leverage decades of cognitive and behavioural neuroscience to help companies hire people based on science instead of bias. Thus, being novel scientific instruments used to measure and assess someone’s cognitive abilities, personality and unconscious behaviour.

A word from Leonie Grandpierre, Head of Science at Equalture

Game based assessments allow us to tap into someone’s full potential by capturing an individuals attention and increasing their motivation for the assessment by making it short and fun. 

Using scientific methods to validate the assessments ensures we can use these games to collect objective insights on factors that actually matter for how someone acts and performs at work.”

Being on a mission to shape the world of unbiased hiring, our scientific validity and test accuracy is our highest priority. Thus, all of our game-based assessments are created based on the four following principles:

  1. Built upon decades of modern neuroscience.
  2. Developed according to the COTAN Review System.
  3. Inclusion at the heart of our assessments.
  4. Extensively validated, with a focus on Reliability and Construct Validity.

#2. Create a hiring process that is efficient & improve CX

Gamification works in a twofold way: firstly, it improves the candidate experience and, secondly, it makes your hiring process more efficient and seamless.

Gamification makes the hiring process efficient by allowing to filter out and select candidates who are best-fit for the open position, thus reducing the length of the hiring cycle – based on the insights gained from the games, you now know exactly who to invite for the interviews.

Additionally, the application process is not only more “fun” for the candidates, but provides a safe environment for candidates to showcase their skills & potential. That’s not all though – it also takes a maximum of 15 minutes to complete (instead of the traditional assessment forms that can take up to 90 minutes to complete). 

Don’t take our word for it! Check out our Quarterly Candidate Experience Report!

After all – to win the ongoing war for talent, as a company, it’s time you prioritise candidate experience when determining what recruitment methods to use. 😉

#3. Remove bias from the hiring process

We all know that eliminating bias from the hiring process can seem like a complex puzzle. And what happens when we let our own bias influence hiring decisions? An increasingly high rate of mishires that are accompanied by large financial losses. 

Using data-driven assessment tools, such as games, helps you fight bias at the very beginning of your hiring funnel.  As games prevent the interference of socially desirable behaviour, they also prevent the chances of cultural background influencing the assessment results.

This way you can get the right first impression about each candidate and prevent wrongfully rejecting candidates in the future, as well as make better hiring decisions.

#4. Diversify your talent pool

Gamification not only allows you to gain all the insights about candidates in an unbiased, data-backed and objective manner, it also helps to increase and diversify your talent pool. 

Once you begin digging deeper into the soft skills, paying more attention to the potential and ambitions of candidates – exactly at this moment, your talent pool will start increasingly expanding and consist of diverse, skilled candidates that are ready to help you take your business to the next level!

#5. Improved organisational attractiveness

To win the ongoing talent war, as a company it’s about time to prioritise candidate experience when determining your recruiting methods.

Using innovative technologies, especially when recruiting and assessing candidates has repeatedly been proven to leave positive effects on applicants’ perception of an organisational image (Bartram & Hambleton, 2006; Landers et al., 2021; Sinar et al, 2016).

#6. Non-manipulable

 A gamified assessment has less obvious socially desirable answers. Often gamified assessments are better at concealing what exactly the games measure (Nikolaou et al., 2019; Armstrong et al., 2016). 

Games put candidates in an immersive experience and draw conclusions from data points that focus on a candidate’s unconscious behaviour. This prevents the impact of social desirability on the assessment results.

It’s always better to experience something yourself, rather than just reading about it, right?

Fearing the change and the unknown is absolutely normal

After all – it’s what makes us human. Yet, change also requires the ability to adapt. This ability to adapt is absolutely crucial for the success of your teams and your business as a whole. And if you never try, you’ll never know! 

I dare you to take a look at the differences between resume based screening and game-based assessments – you’ll be surprised of the multitude of benefits using games can bring to your business.

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