Recruitment Games: 10 Ways They Enhance Candidate Experience

January 13, 2023

10 ways recruitment games enhance candidate experience

While recruitment games might seem like a relatively new phenomenon, they have been part of the recruitment process for more than 20 years already. The first iteration of America’s Army was released by the US Army back in 2002, and it was aimed at young teenagers to show them what life was like in the army before they applied.

Of course, the Google billboard in 2004 - where a complex math question was displayed on a billboard in Silicon Valley, which when solved would lead to an opportunity to get a resume in at Google Labs - was a famous type of recruitment game, too - and statistics suggest that gamification in recruitment and HR will be worth $30.7 billion globally by 2025.

What are recruitment games?

Recruitment games are essentially another way for recruitment teams to gauge the skills and aptitudes of candidates, in a similar way to the usual verbal, numerical, or logical reasoning tests used in the application process. Instead of a timed test taken under exam conditions, the gamified assessments are just as they seem - games that can be played which give recruiters information about the abilities of the applicants through their performance in the game.

There are many different types of games available in recruitment. These can range from role-playing games where the candidate controls an avatar and goes through some of the daily work (like in the America’s Army game or Proving Grounds, the updated version released by the US Army), escape room-type games with riddles like the Google billboard, or multi-level games like Skyrise City that are used by Deloitte and PwG to assess multiple competencies and personality traits at the same time.

If you are looking to include gamification into your recruitment strategy, the candidate experience has to be one of the main reasons you’ll choose it - not only can it make finding the right candidate easier for the hiring team, but it can make it a better experience for the candidate too. The games used instead of pre-employment aptitude testing are more fun and engaging, but there are other ways that they enhance the candidate experience too.

Why you should care about the candidate experience

10 ways recruitment games enhance candidate experience

The turbulence of the job market means that finding top talent isn't as easy as it used to be - and it is easier for a job seeker to choose where they want to work than it ever has been.

As a recruiter, the role is expanding to not only assessing candidates for jobs, but also looking at ways to make applying for a job more enticing and accessible - and that is where candidate experience comes in.

With applicants holding much of the decision making power, and top performers needing more incentive to join, finding ways to make the application process more streamlined and effective can only benefit the company as well as the employee. One of the things that puts a candidate off applying for a role is going through several seemingly unnecessary steps in the hiring process - multiple aptitude tests and several rounds of interviews - and a lack of communication throughout.

A good candidate experience through the hiring process sets the tone for the working relationship, building community, trust and transparency and helping to develop a positive and engaging culture.

10 Ways Recruitment Games Enhance Candidate Experience

1. A fun and engaging skills assessment

Playing games is fun - that is why we play games as children and even as adults. When compared to sitting in exam conditions to take an aptitude test as part of an application process, it is easy to see why recruitment games would be more enjoyable than other screening methods.

With the right recruitment games, more information can be gleaned about the candidate and their abilities than through several different tests. This means that recruitment games are a more engaging way to learn about candidates than other screening methods.

As a candidate, sitting down to play a game is much less stressful than taking a typical pre-employment screening test too.

2. Foster a sense of community and belonging

Using recruitment games feels like a more personal and friendly touch to the application process - and it also improves communication.

This can foster a sense of belonging and community for the candidates before they are offered a role, and help them to buy into the company culture.

In games where the candidate needs to perform job duties as an avatar during a role-playing game, they will already feel like they belong because they know the sort of duties they will be expected to perform.

3. Reduce unconscious bias

Like other pre-employment assessments, recruitment games reduce bias. The results are based on just what the candidate can demonstrate while they are playing, with no reference to gender, religion, socioeconomic background or level of education.

The data-driven assessments are powered by AI and algorithms, not personal bias, so hiring decisions are made based on the skills and aptitudes that really matter. For the candidate, this means that they are truly being judged on their merit and suitability, rather than some other arbitrary benchmark.

4. Speed up the recruitment process

Traditional application processes can be lengthy and bulky, requiring lots of mental work and time spent by the recruitment team, but also by the applicant.

Even when compared to screening aptitude tests, recruitment games are considerably quicker - a verbal reasoning test can last 30 minutes, while a game can last a mere three minutes, and give the same if not better results.

For the applicant, getting through the process quickly makes it more appealing - and they are much more likely to get involved in a process that is not going to take hours of their time to complete.

5. Offer insight into the company culture

Recruitment games might not be suitable for every type of company or even every type of role, but if your recruitment is focused on job fit, then using games can give the candidate a real insight into company culture.

Games that involve skills and competencies that the candidate will use daily are one way to do this, but it also paints the business in a good light when it comes to recommending roles too - and that makes candidates more likely to buy into the culture of the business before they join.

Gamification demonstrates a collaborative company culture that values diversity and upholds inclusion as very important - people are hired because of what they can do, rather than who they are.

6. Break the ice between candidates and hiring managers

As previously mentioned, taking a test is stressful. However, playing a game is relaxing and fun, and the addition of some form of entertainment into the hiring process makes it seem less daunting and more personal.

From the feedback given after the recruitment game is completed, the candidate and the hiring manager will be able to open an honest and transparent dialogue, effectively breaking the ice and creating a working relationship earlier than in other scenarios.

7. Boost self-esteem

recruitment games enhance candidate experience

Playing games makes people feel happy, and they have been known to boost confidence and can bring feelings of self-esteem - especially when you are winning!

Recruitment games are entertaining, fun, and a little bit different, which makes them an excellent way for candidates to experience a confidence boost and improved self-esteem.

Certain games - like the multi-functional ‘brain training’ types - allow the applicants to explore a bit more around their own logical reasoning and critical thinking abilities, which can also be a great boost to self-esteem.

8. Create a more comfortable environment

Approaching an application process can be nerve-wracking, and it is normal for a candidate to feel a bit stressed out - but by adding recruitment games into the early part of the process, the candidate can relax into this stage, and feel that they are in a more comfortable environment.

Instead of sitting down with the pressure of exam conditions and the natural worry that we all have about taking tests, gamification makes it feel more approachable, less stressful, and in the end, more relaxing - which leads to better performance.

9. Constructive feedback

The feedback after playing a recruitment game tends to be in-depth and detailed, which leads to a better experience for the candidate.

Whether they pass or fail the aptitude, personality, or skills tests that are involved in the recruitment game, the candidate will be able to clearly see where they performed well and where they might have struggled, and they will be able to use this constructive feedback to perform better in the future.

10. An opportunity to learn something new

While recruiting someone who is great at learning new things is usually high on the list of requirements for a hiring manager, the candidate themselves will be able to indulge their love of learning through recruitment games.

Taking an aptitude test in a new and exciting way - through gamification - isn't something that is particularly common, so getting to apply for a role that offers this is a real opportunity for a candidate who wants to learn something new.

Key takeaways

In the end, utilizing the right recruitment games as part of the application process provides hiring teams with unbiased, reliable and useful data about which candidates are the most qualified for a role - and they save both time and money in the process, while reducing the risk of a bad hire.

Perhaps more important is the improvement in candidate experience - prospective employees feel immediately empowered by the games, and they are more likely to build a better relationship with the business and the hiring team.

When hiring for top talent, hiring managers need to provide the best experience - and in many cases that means recruitment games.

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