Young man completing a task on a smartphone.

The Rise of Gamification in Recruitment


By , 21/05/2019

Imagine you are applying for your dream job, and everything goes as expected. Then, as you get through the first stage of the selection process, you are invited to download a mobile app, which looks like a game? A game? To apply for a job? You’re likely already familiar with mobile games – whether you’ve crushed candies on your commute, or launched disgruntled birds into the air. However, this is different.

Applying for a job is a serious situation, the outcome of which has the potential to change someone’s career and future as a whole. As such, it may cause nerves knowing that the success or failure of an application hinges on the outcome of a mobile game.

Good news – our app is not a game!

It’s part of a new wave of gamified psychometrics. Based on cognitive neuroscience, it’s a fully-fledged assessment in its own right. It just happens to be equipped with a user-friendly app interface, and game-like elements to make the user experience more enjoyable.

It is important to understand the context in which this type of assessment has come into existence. Gamification – essentially referring to the application of game technology in non-game contexts – is a relatively new approach that is gaining popularity across many industries. Recruitment is no exception, with gamification having disrupted workplace selection in the last decade. The application of game mechanics and elements – such as point scoring, leaderboards or storylines – in attraction, selection, on-boarding and employee development, is starting to be adopted and accepted as a viable alternative to traditional assessment solutions.

Research has shown that gamification improves the candidate experience and engagement, whilst providing a sense of competition or achievement. While academic literature is still playing catch-up with the applied use of gamification in recruitment and development, evidence is showing clear benefits. Game elements and mechanics can trigger a sense of flow; a combination of interest, concentration and enjoyment typical of work tasks. Flow enables individuals to unleash their full potential and  competitive advantage. Clear goals, feedback, and the possibility of control are key to achieving flow – all of which are easily fostered via gamification of a process.

Gamification within the Arctic Shores aptitude assessments comes in the form of a traditional assessments with a game-like appearance. But there is more to it than simply optimised visuals. In addition to creating a more engaged experience, these assessments have some very important social implications. Comparisons between traditional and gamified aptitude tests showed a significant reduction in the performance gap between women, non-white and lower socio-economic status individuals, and their male, Caucasian or privileged counterparts. Whilst the cause of these differences has not yet been determined, two potential reasons are the reduction of stress and of unconscious bias – both of which are currently being investigated experimentally.

Going beyond a cosmetic perspective, our personality and cognitive assessments – also known as psychometrics – make use of game elements and mechanics. The assessments combine neuroscience and gamification to become a holistic assessment, creating an innovative and bias-free way of benchmarking candidates on 33 job-relevant behaviours and personality traits.

You may wonder how we go from button presses to personality traits. Our assessments are developed by leveraging accumulated evidence of several decades of research in cognitive, neuroscientific, and experimental psychology. Incorporating this vast body of  research and empirical evidence into psychometric assessments has been groundbreaking. To ensure that our algorithm is scientifically sound and stable, we gather data from a range of tasks across our assessment levels, which are then combined to build a picture of personality traits and behaviours.

Gamification is revolutionising the recruitment industry and this is set to continue. Why? There are a range of benefits for candidates and employers alike. For example, candidates typically find the assessment more enjoyable than traditional measures. In fact over 80% of them do. Our assessments are shown to be less stressful, and allow candidates to showcase their suitability for job roles far beyond their CV.

For employers, gamification allows a more efficient and effective selection process by providing accurate, unbiased and predictive candidate data. This results in a more diverse talent pool and a better calibre of candidates at the later recruitment stages. With the magnitude of benefits that gamified assessments offer, it is easy for companies to confidently make data-driven people decisions.

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