28 January 2021

Candidates prefer gamified assessments over traditional assessments and the reasons why might surprise you.


The application of gamification to a hiring setting has become extremely popular over the last couple of years. From an employer-perspective, this makes completely sense. After all, it’s not only the sympathy for gamification that has grown over the last few years, but also the flaws of traditional assessments have become painfully clear.

But what about the candidate perspective? We all claim that candidates get more satisfaction from gamified assessments than they get from traditional assessments, but why is that? I know it seems like an open door, but the actual reason may surprise you. Did this trigger your curiosity? Geat, just keep on reading, cause you’re just about to find out. 


Before moving on to candidates. Why did employers actually fall in love with gamified assessments?

Pascal Frühling, Head of People & Culture at a German scaleup, and one of our biggest Equalture ambassadors, has given the best explanation of why not only he loves gamified assessments, but why he also wants other hiring professionals to embrace gamified assessments:

In a traditional test where you need to answer questions, you can think: ‘’How would a Sales Manager, Engineer or Customer Success Manager answer this question?’’ In a gamified test, you can’t change your battleplan. And that means you can’t cheat the system! 


Social desirability, or more simply, manipulation of the answers, is a big issue with traditional tests – especially with personality questionnaires. And while lots of companies still use these tests, deep inside we all know that there’s a huge risk of hiring a manipulated version of a person, rather than the real person behind this manipulation. That’s why employers started falling in love with gamified assessments.


Now, let’s move on to candidates. Is it all about games just being fun?

No, it’s not all about fun – however, that is definitely one of the motivations. Below you will find an overview of the three reasons why candidates are more satisfied with gamified assessments than traditional assessments – starting with the most obvious one, and wrapping up with the most surprising one. 

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Reason 1. Joy

Indeed, that’s the most obvious one. Let’s think about it – what’s more enjoyable: Filling in a black-and-white personality questionnaire, or playing a short, immersive game in which you need to flip hamburgers or build a tower? 

Research has shown that gamified assessments create an environment and atmosphere that directs a person’s attention away from the feeling of being assessed, thus reducing anxiety. This makes gamified assessments more attractive to candidates and consequently more enjoyable to take part in.


Reason 2. Organizational attractiveness

A second reason, which also may not come as a surprise for you, is the fact that gamified assessments increase the company’s organizational attractiveness. This is because candidates perceive gamified assessment as an expression of innovation and progressiveness, but also as an expression of a company’s desire to challenge the status quo. Millennials in particular like to identify themselves with progressive companies.


Reason 3. Perceived fairness

The third reason, however, may actually come as a surprise for you. 

As I mentioned in the first part of this blog, in which I explained why employers are more and more a fan of gamified assessments, traditional assessments can be easily faked – especially the personality questionnaires, as it’s not that hard to match your answer with the job requirements. Let’s be honest, is there anyone in the world who would apply for a sales job, and then fill in that (s)he prefers standing alone in the corner at a party? Well, at least I haven’t met this person yet. 

I can imagine, however, that where employers are disadvantaged from this social desirability-component of a traditional test, candidates might actually feel advantaged, given the fact that they can somewhat manipulate the test. With gamified assessment, in contrast to that, every possibility to manipulate the assessments is eliminated. So candidates are no longer in control.

Interestingly enough, though, 8 out of 10 candidates have indicated that they perceive an assessment to be more fair in a gamified format, rather than the traditional format. The main reason for this is that gamified assessments collect more data points and focus more on how candidates behave in a game, rather than their answers on a puzzle only. In other words: There’s more room to show what you got. And that makes it feel much more fair for candidates.

This third reason is probably not only the most surprising one, but it’s moreover the one with the highest correlation with Candidate Experience. 

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Cheers, Charlotte
Co-Founder & CEO