What is gamification in recruitment? (let’s get on the same page)

Gamification in recruitment is all about gamifying the components of the hiring process – most notably the assessment stages. But let’s be clear. This is not about introducing frivolous games to the hiring manager’s decision-making process. Nor is it about making tests or assessments out of games (otherwise known as game-based assessment). Gamified assessments are entirely different.

Gamified assessments take robust, scientific psychometric tests and introduce some elements of gaming (such as progressing through levels, or earning points, or getting badges to create a more engaging and contemporary looking online test.

The result is a psychometric test which works like a traditional psychometric test and measures the abilities it needs to measure – but has some gaming components built around it.

Question #1

Why is there so much talk about gamification in recruitment?

Quickly spotting the best in your applicant pool, engaging with your candidates and making sure you stand out from your competition are becoming increasingly essential for all recruiters. Graduate-age candidates tend to expect stronger engagement with them as individuals, immediate feedback and a selection process that is reflective of the mobile world in which they operate.

Taking all this into consideration, hiring companies want an update type of psychometric tests that gives them the robust information they need about the capabilities of the applicants but a fantastic user experience for the candidates.

Question #2

What are the upsides to gamification in recruitment?

Those that are embracing the gamification of assessment tell us that they are getting over and above using traditionally delivered psychometric tests:

  • Stronger engagement with applicants and a reported better user experience.
  • A differentiated selection process. Candidates remember the company as having an innovative approach to assessment.
  • A more ‘serious’ assessment than the game-based assessments on the market which are set in outer space and the like! Candidates want the assessment to be serious; it reflects the importance of their application.
  • A hiring tool that supports any corporate, forward-thinking, market-leading brand value.
  • Supports the desire to create a more diverse and inclusive applicant pool.
  • A more contemporary assessment process. Gamified assessments are designed for, and delivered to, mobiles and integrate seamlessly with their application systems and ATS.
  • Generates more applicants – and higher quality applicants.
  • Recruitment efficiencies.

Question #3

And what are the downsides of gamification in recruitment? (there must be some!)

But, choose the wrong assessment, and you could go wrong

  • Too much ‘gamification’ might give the impression to candidates that the application process isn’t a serious business. It is.
  • Focusing on the user experience may mean that you lose site of the real value of the tool – the assessment and the information this gives you to make a decision.

Question #4

How do the results of gamified assessments compare to those from traditional online psychometric tests?

A great question. Research* shows that there is no significant difference between the levels of ability measured by more traditional online tests, and those that have included gamified tests.

The same research study showed that those test takers that enjoy ‘games’, rate the hiring organisation more positively as a prospective employer than those completing traditional online tests. But, those that say that they do not particularly enjoy games, don’t rate the company lower.

So, using gamified assessment in your hiring, offers you the opportunity to only go up in the perceptions of the applicants.

Question #5

Where does gamified assessment fit in the hiring process?

Gamification is slotting in throughout the recruitment process.

Attraction – pre-application, realistic job previews have embraced gaming elements for a number of years. They help promote the hiring company’s brand and give an insight to the job itself for the potential candidate. Typically, they include elements of a game such as instant feedback and scores, but for the benefit of the potential applicant and not the hiring company. Of course, the highest scorers are encouraged to continue to apply!

Vodafone harnessed this approach when it commissioned the development of an online game to encourage applicants to apply for roles online.

Early in the process – sometimes known as screening applicants. Here the online gamified assessment is presented to all applicants early on. The assessments’ ease of use and completion, speed and powerful information-giving qualities make it perfect for offering to many to get a solid initial view of their likelihood at success in your business.

Rolls-Royce deployed a gamified assessment based around typical situations or scenarios in its business. Candidates were asked to make judgements about what to do via a messaging app style of communication via their mobile. It gave Rolls-Royce a robust situational judgement score, and the candidates a strong insight into the role.

Assessment Centre stage – Assessment centres have been paper-heavy for decades. Gamified assessment now enables these selection events to become paperless, more efficient and more objective.

Nationwide commissioned the design and development of an escape-room type of assessment helping it to stand out from its competitors, provide an innovative experience for its candidates and deliver efficiencies to its internal teams.

Question #6

Is gamified assessment already being used for real-world recruitment?


Yes! And increasingly so. But you need to be watchful that any gamified assessment is, first and foremost, a high quality, robust psychometric test. Look for the evidence of this, and the feedback from applicants as to the user experience.

Transformed graduate selection by including gamified assessment within a focused campaign– Deloitte.

  • 32% increase in applications.
  • Higher quality candidates applying and progressing through the process.
  • 58% increase in acceptance of offers.
  • A growth in the number of candidates from key target universities applying.
  • Better candidate experience with a short, mobile assessment.
  • Alignment with the core strategic aims of innovation and diversity.
  • Strong positive candidate feedback – 70% of responding candidates described the Deloitte graduate recruitment process and the gamified assessment as “market leading”.
  • Reduced time to hire due to process efficiencies.

Question #7

What do candidates think about gamification in recruitment?

Good point. Research into this has taken place. After all, if gamification in recruitment turns off applicants, why do it – however innovative and glossy it looks?

A study with a consumer brands business investigated applicant perceptions of its new gamified assessment compared to the more traditional online assessment they had previously experienced.

The results:

  • 91% reported that it gave a better or the same impression of the company. (or 85% said gave a better impression – which works better?)
  • 94% said it was better at, or the same as, engaging them. (or 83% better)
  • 93% reported that the gamified assessment held their attention more or the same as traditional tests. (80%)
  • 88% thought it as fair if not better. (63%)

Call us to talk about how we can power your recruitment strategy with gamified assessments.

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