Level Up Your Hiring With Gamification In Talent Acquisition

In August 2004, Google (anonymously) placed a billboard over Highway 101 in Silicon Valley. The billboard read, in stark, unbranded, black and white script: ‘{first 10-digit prime found in consecutive digits e}.com.’

The answer – of course – is 7427466391.com. People who followed the trail this far were met with another equation. Having beaten this one, they were routed to Google Labs, and a message that said:

“One thing we learned while building Google is that it’s easier to find what you’re looking for if it comes looking for you. What we’re looking for are the best engineers in the world. And here you are.

As you can imagine, we get many, many resumes every day, so we developed this little process to increase the signal-to-noise ratio.”

In the eyes of many, this is one of the earliest and highest-profile examples of gamification in recruitment. Signalling a departure from traditional and, let’s face it, tired hiring processes, gamification represents a way to engage candidates, test their abilities, create a brand atmosphere and reduce demand on resources – all while, hopefully, providing a platform for a fun and enriching experience.

The world has come a long way since Google’s billboard stunt in 2004, and so has gamification as a recruitment tool. In today’s blog post, the Sliced Bread Animation team will examine the concept more closely. We’ll go through some key definitions, impacts, and examples, before moving on to best practices and core benefits.

Strap in!

gamification level up

Gamification: Defined

So, at a very top-level, what exactly is gamification?

Gamification: The process of applying game-like elements, mechanics, and design principles to non-game contexts to enhance engagement, motivation, and user participation.

By incorporating elements such as points, rewards, challenges, and competition, for instance, gamification aims to create a more interactive and enjoyable experience for users.

In turn, and if executed correctly, this motivates them to achieve specific goals or objectives, and can ensure more effective outcomes.

From marketing and education, to employee training and customer loyalty programs – and, indeed, recruitment – gamification has proven to be a powerful tool in various industries.

Gamification In the Context of Recruitment

Talent acquisition – hiring and firing – is a rapid process. Given the accelerated pace of today’s digital environments, things are only getting quicker.

Gamification has emerged as a potentially-revolutionary strategy that can totally change the recruitment process. By infusing elements of gameplay into recruitment practices, employers and recruiters can engage future employees on a whole new level.

Hiring managers might assess candidates’ skills and problem-solving abilities through interactive simulations and quizzes, for example.

This innovative approach not only attracts top talent, but also reduces bias in the selection process, promoting a more unbiased and diversified recruitment process.

As we saw with the Google example earlier; when it’s done right, gamification in recruitment:

  • Fosters creativity
  • Differentiates the very best candidates
  • Conjures a brand narrative
  • Encourages knowledge sharing
  • Improves candidate retention

With its relatively simple implementation processes, and the potential for serious gains, gamification in recruitment can open the door on unique insights and elevate organisations’ talent acquisition strategies.

Three chairs with We Are Hiring written on them

A Few Examples

Since Google’s Silicon Valley billboard in 2004, gamification in recruitment has changed significantly. These days, it’s much more common for gamified experiences to take place in digital environments.

Take the following for example:

  • My Marriott Hotel – Marriott Hotels: In this social media game, the hotel giant introduces potential associates to the daily cut-and-thrust of being a hotel manager. Players have to take inventories, deal with complaints, or manage staff, for instance, and a ‘Do For Real’ button takes users to an application page. Neat.
  • Deloitte Onboarding – Deloitte: Players embark upon a virtual office tour, represented as a video game. Candidates begin at the airport, and choose a destination, where they’ll chat with employees and get to grips with the work culture. Candidates can also form teams with other new starters to learn about ethics, compliance, and privacy.
  • Airman Challenge – US Air Force: “To stay in front we must be perfect; limitless; unyielding,” players are informed by a Top Gun-esque voiceover. “Not everyone has what it takes.” In Airman Challenge, prospective pilots can learn more about the Air Force and its available positions.

Best Practices to Get It Right

Incorporating gamification into your recruitment strategy can yield exceptional results; according to Zippia, 78% of surveyed candidates said that gamification in recruiting would make a company or position more desirable to them.

But the success of failure of the enterprise hinges on effective implementation. Follow these best practices to give your organisation the best chance.

  • Clearly Define Objectives and Metrics: Begin by outlining specific goals and metrics you wish to achieve through gamification. Whether it’s improving employee retention, enhancing problem-solving skills, or connecting with ‘higher-value’ candidates, having a clear roadmap will guide your efforts.
  • Choose the Right Tools and Platforms: Select software developers, platforms, and tools that align with your recruitment needs and are user-friendly. As a general rule of thumb, those operators with a good reputation have it for a reason.
  • Design Engaging Gamified Experiences: Craft interactive and captivating gamified experiences that will resonate with your target audience, ensuring a seamless integration of your brand identity and values. Aim for something intuitive, original, and results-focused, and ideally include elements of personalisation.
  • Provide Feedback and Progress Tracking: Keep candidates motivated by offering instant feedback and progress tracking. You could consider utilising AI, to enhance feedback accuracy and cater to individual learning needs.

Gamification in Recruitment: 6 Game-Changing Benefits

So – aside from offering a fun and novel experience within the world of recruitment – what are the real-world benefits of gamifying the hiring process? Are there any cost-efficiencies or streamlining elements you can look to leverage, or is gamification in recruitment little more than a gimmick?

In fact, there are a number of business benefits you’ll take advantage of by bringing gamified processes into your organisation’s hiring.

1. Enhanced Candidate Engagement

In an ultra-competitive job market, captivating candidates is crucial. Gamification achieves this by offering fun and interactive experiences throughout the recruitment process. Through gamified challenges, quizzes, and immersive simulations, candidates become more motivated to participate and stay engaged with the hiring journey.

2. Assessment of Skills and Abilities

Traditional interviews often fall short of accurately gauging candidates’ skills. However, gamification enables recruiters to evaluate candidates’ problem-solving abilities, critical thinking, and domain-specific skills in a more comprehensive and interactive manner. This provides the foundation for more informed hiring decisions.

3. Reduction of Bias

Unconscious bias can unknowingly influence hiring decisions. Gamification in recruitment helps mitigate bias by focusing on objective evaluation criteria and standardised processes. Each candidate is evaluated based on their performance, ensuring fairer treatment and unbiased assessment.

4. Attracting Millennial / Gen Z Talent

As the dominant jobseeker demographics, Millennials and Gen Z respond positively to novel experiences – by bringing gamification into the recruitment process, you’ll magnetise these tech-savvy generations. Hypothetically, a VR-based gamified skills assessment would intrigue Millennials far more than an old-school multiple choice questionnaire, giving them a glimpse of your company’s innovative culture and inspiring them to join your workforce.

5. Improved Hiring Efficiency

Traditional hiring processes are almost always time-consuming and labour-intensive. It takes time and energy to create job listings, qualify candidates, schedule and conduct interviews, review performances, and so on. Gamified recruitment, however, can greatly streamline and automate several stages of the process. This saves time and effort for both recruiters and candidates.

6. Boosted Retention and Cultural Fit

Recently, the business spotlight has focused on elements of corporate culture, and alignment with concepts such as ‘digital transformation’ is growing ever-more important. In other words, cultural fit is vital for long-term retention. By designing experiences that reflect your company’s mission, vision, and values, you can more accurately identify candidates who ‘fit’ your ethos. For example, a collaborative puzzle-solving game would give candidates a sense of your company’s cooperative, teamwork-based environment.

A welcome text box on a yellow background

‘Increasing the Signal-to-Noise Ratio’

In a world where recruitment processes are typically flooded with information, gamification has emerged as a key to increasing what Google calls “the signal-to-noise ratio.”

Just like that original Google billboard, which magnetises candidates in an original, impactful and rewarding way, gamification cuts through the noise to capture the attention of top talent.

Looking forward, the future of gamification in recruitment is both promising and exciting, with advancements in AI, VR, and innovative tools adding new dimensions to what is possible.

Is your organisation ready to level up recruitment with gamification? Contact us today and begin the journey of transforming your talent acquisition strategy.

FAQs: Gamification in Recruitment

What types of gamification techniques can be used in the recruitment process?
Gamification techniques can include interactive quizzes, immersive simulations, and challenges that assess skills, problem-solving abilities, and critical thinking. These engaging experiences captivate candidates and enhance the overall recruitment process.

Can gamification be applied to all stages of the recruitment process, from sourcing to onboarding?
Absolutely! Gamification can be integrated at every stage, from attracting candidates, through to creative employer branding experiences, to using gamified assessments for sourcing and making the onboarding process interactive and informative.

How can gamification help with employer branding and attracting top talent?
Gamification showcases your company’s innovative and forward-thinking approach, appealing to Millennials and Gen-Z candidates. By offering unique and interactive experiences, you attract top talent seeking engaging and purposeful work environments.

What are some common challenges or pitfalls to avoid when implementing gamification in recruitment?
Common challenges include:

  • Ensuring the ease of use of gamified tools
  • Maintaining objectivity in assessment
  • Avoiding excessive gamification that might overshadow the actual job requirements.

Are there any ethical concerns or considerations related to using gamification in recruitment?
Ethical considerations could potentially involve ensuring gamified experiences are unbiased and inclusive, avoiding the use of sensitive data, and obtaining candidates’ consent for using gamification in the process.

Can gamification be used for different job levels and industries?
Yes, gamification can be adapted for various job levels and industries, tailoring the experiences to reflect the specific skills and values required in each role.

How can gamification assist with workforce planning and talent management?
Gamification provides insights into candidates’ abilities and cultural fit, aiding workforce planning and identifying talent that aligns with long-term organisational goals.

How can gamification encourage employee referrals and strengthen the hiring process?
Gamified employee referral programs engage existing employees, incentivising them to refer top talent, which can lead to higher-quality hires and improved team dynamics.

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