Game-Based vs Traditional Assessments

Anete Vesere (1)

Anete Vesere

Content Marketer

Game-Based vs Traditional Assessments blog cover 2

“Wait, you’re seriously suggesting that making job applicants play games is a better way to evaluate them than using traditional assessments?

Even though both gamified and traditional assessments primarily focus on measuring two traits of candidates that are most predictive of work performance – cognitive abilities and behaviour – traditional assessments have significant drawbacks. 

Here’s how gamification solves them.

Cognitive assessments


Traditional cognitive assessments can be endlessly trainable because they often rely on the same types of questions or exercises to evaluate cognitive abilities. For example, the more someone practices common cognitive tests, such as the Figure series test or pattern recognition (see image below), the better they will score on these assessments. 

Example of traditional cognitive ability assessment figure series test

Simply by becoming more familiar with the questions or exercises, rather than by actually improving their underlying cognitive abilities. This is known as the “training effect.” The training effect can be problematic because it can lead to inflated scores that do not accurately reflect an individual’s cognitive abilities. Thus, can create a false sense of confidence and lead to poor hiring decisions.

Cognitive game-based assessments solve the trainability problem that traditional cognitive assessments suffer from in several ways. They reduce the “training effect” by using a variety of game scenarios, each with unique challenges. As well as by using adaptive difficulty, game-based assessments can ensure that the level of challenge matches the candidate’s abilities, leading to a more precise evaluation of cognitive skills. 

Candidate experience

Traditional cognitive assessments can lead to bad candidate experience because they are often time-consuming and stressful. Ultimately, this results in talented candidates opting out of the process, leaving the company with a smaller pool of potential hires.

On the other hand, game-based cognitive assessments improve the candidate experience by providing a more engaging and enjoyable assessment process. These assessments are, designed to be fun, reducing stress and anxiety.

Behavioural assessments


Traditional assessments are often disadvantageous for neurodivergent people due to the way they are set up. For example, personality questionnaires are text-heavy, making it difficult for someone with dyslexia to complete the assessment.

In contrast, game-based assessments focus on measuring a candidate’s behaviours and actions, rather than just their responses to written questions. These assessments are more interactive and engaging, which can help to reduce anxiety and stress for the candidate. 

Additionally, game-based assessments measure both conscious and unconscious behaviours. Providing a comprehensive and accurate assessment of a candidate’s abilities. That is precisely why game-based assessments are more suitable for individuals with neurodivergent conditions, such as dyslexia, ADHD, or autism.

Candidate Experience Neurodevelopmental disorder

Source: Equalture (2022)

Cultural bias

The dangers with traditional tests are that they are developed within one culture and often do not take cultural differences into account. For instance, certain words or phrases might have different connotations or meanings in different cultures, which will significantly change the accuracy of the test. 

Let’s take the concept of “leadership” as an example. This concept might be interpreted differently in different cultures, where some cultures might value a more authoritative leadership style, while others might value a more collaborative leadership style.  

Compared to traditional tests, gamified assessments can adjust the game flow to provoke the same level of motivation for individuals from different cultures, which includes various cultural values. Apart from that, gamified assessments limit the usage of text. As words can be interpreted differently depending on a person’s cultural background, this also reduced the chances of Culture Bias impacting the assessment results.

Social desirability and self-report bias

Let’s be honest, if you were given a question like this, how would you answer?

Or this?

Traditional behavioural assessments, such as personality questionnaires, primarily rely on self-reporting by candidates, which leads to the tendency for candidates to answer questions in a way they believe will be viewed favourably by the employer. This is called the social desirability bias – a bias is likely to lead to inaccuracies in the assessment results. 

In contrast, behavioural game-based assessments solve the problem of social desirability and self-report bias. Here’s how:

  1. Firstly, as candidates don’t know which traits are measured per game, thus making it more difficult to behave (play the games) in a socially desirable way. 
  2. Secondly, game-based assessment designers focus on creating a gameful design that enhances immersion, which in turn triggers the flow state and makes people ‘forget’ that they are even going through an assessment. Thus, encouraging more natural behaviour than traditional assessments.
  3. Thirdly, gamified assessments use objective behavioural measurements (e.g., reaction time) to evaluate candidates. 

It’s time to let go of traditional assessment methods

While traditional assessments may have been the norm for years, gamified assessments have proven to be a better alternative. Not only do they provide a more comprehensive and accurate assessment of a candidate’s abilities, but they also reduce biases and improve the candidate experience. 

If you’re looking to hire the best talent for your organization, it’s time to consider using gamified assessments to ensure you’re making the right hiring decisions. 

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