Does Gamification Improve the Quality of your Recruitment Process?

Candidates are often attracted to employers they perceive to be forward-thinking and fun, and it all starts with the recruitment process. Do gamified assessments help, or hinder?

Does Gamification Improve the Quality of your Recruitment Process?

6 May 2016 by  Grant Meyer

The most engaging employers attract the best talent, and often, candidates are attracted to employers they perceive to be forward-thinking, innovative and fun—starting with the recruitment process. Has this trend and the focus on employer brand in the recruitment process impacted the quality and rigour of our assessment methods?

The introduction of gamification into the recruitment process has increased in popularity over the past few years. ‘Gamification’ is the application of game design and mechanics into non-game contexts, and has brought success in engaging, educating, entertaining, and information-sharing. Recently, organisations have started using the gamification approach to sharing information about roles and the organisation, as well as helping prospective candidates make job-related choices during the recruitment process.

To attract Gen Y and Millennial candidates, psychometric test providers also use gamification to offer an immersive assessment experience in place of more traditional approaches. The assessment results are still also used to shortlist candidates to progress further in the recruitment process.

However, while modern technology and aesthetics enhance the organisation’s brand in the eyes of candidates, gamification also tends to dilute the real reason for assessing candidates in the first place—to scientifically and rigorously ensure the best candidate is selected based on their potential to succeed in the role. Instead, organisations should consider: What is the real reason for assessing candidates and does gamification achieve this objective?

Gamification in Recruitment

What are the shortfalls of gamification?

1. Credibility questions: Candidates often question the face validity of these games, especially if they cannot determine the relevance of the game to their job. This can ultimately lead to questions being asked about the fairness and objectivity of the recruitment process.

2. High cost, low value: Development of gamified assessments comes with high costs. However, the tools delivered are generic rather than bespoke—without factoring in the data points and customisation necessary to make informed decisions within a particular organisation and context.

3. Slow to results: It takes 4 times longer to determine a result or valuable insight through gamified assessment, than through a traditional assessment.

4. Narrow assessment: Instead of assessing a candidate as a whole person, gamified assessments tend to take a narrow view—and exclude important aspects of a candidate’s suitability for the job, such as the broader personality, work-style, situational judgement, and cognitive assessments.

5. Unproven methodology: There is very little research to demonstrate the ability of gamified assessments to actually predict future job performance. Also, the effectiveness of gamification in enhancing the recruitment process has yet to be proven. In more litigious environments, this impacts an organisation’s legal defensibility of assessment and recruitment decisions.

While gamification looks attractive, these concerns highlight that gamified assessments are untested in their ability to evaluate talent and predict future performance. As a result, organisations looking to position themselves as modern and engaging employers end up compromising on more critical qualities such as rigour and efficiency.

Yet, we believe that some form of gamification could still be the future of assessment—but not without psychometric rigour, face validity, customisation, and cost efficiency. Best practice assessments should include a combination of technology-enabled content with realistic job simulations, in conjunction with traditional tools and methodology to deliver organisation-specific and predictive solutions.

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Grant Meyer

Grant Meyer has over 20 years of experience in the corporate and consulting environments in Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa. He has held both General Management and Senior Human Resources Management roles across APAC. Together with his qualifications, it has equipped him well to provide professional, client-centric, and practical solutions to different client groups. He joined Aon Hewitt in 2014 and now leads the Leadership and Assessment Practice in Australia.

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