What are game-based assessments?
Game-based assessments are a type of psychometric assessment. But, instead of the traditional question-based format you might expect, these use a range of interactive tasks and game-like elements instead, to dig deeper into candidates’ ability and personality. Your candidates will almost always complete game-based assessments online.
Typical game-like elements you might find in this type of assessment include engaging motion design, personal ‘scores’ and different ‘levels’ to complete.
What’s the difference between traditional psychometrics and game-based assessments?
Traditional psychometrics tend to rely on the tried-and-tested approach of asking candidates questions about themselves. When candidates are expected to tell employers about their own personality, we call this ‘self-report’.
Game-based assessments of personality tend to ask precisely zero questions – meaning no self-report necessary. So the candidate isn’t expected to know anything about themselves. Instead, the game-like tasks let them show their natural behaviour or ability in action. This is the main difference between traditional psychometrics and game-based assessments.
Why do employers use game-based assessments?
While there are lots of reasons employers opt for game-based assessments, here are the three most common benefits:
Engaging candidate experience
As we’ve mentioned, game-based assessments tend to avoid asking questions. This often makes for a more relaxed, engaging candidate experience. Here’s why.
When an employer asks a candidate a question, it will often trigger a whole host of thoughts:
- “What are they measuring?”
- “What’s the ‘right’ answer?”
- “What will make me look like the best possible candidate?”
In a high-stakes environment, where a job is potentially on the line, it’s natural to have this set of questions swirling around with each question. But, by removing the questions, game-based assessments are better at setting candidates at ease. They’re often able to achieve a sense of ‘flow’, or total concentration, where many have reported they actually forget they’re being assessed at all.
A more relaxed, engaging experience contributes to a better employer brand. We’ve seen hundreds of candidates link employers’ use of game-based assessments to a more innovative identity, while it also helps show that employers care about their candidates’ experience in the hiring process. This doesn’t just help keep candidates in the process, but it also helps to attract better candidates in future.
Deep, authentic insight
Game-based assessments like ours give employers a new way to see beyond the CV. Depending on which assessment you choose, there’s the potential to measure candidates’ natural behaviour, their approach to real work scenarios, their cognitive ability and more. This gives employers a deeper insight into how they’ll take to a given role.
But it also means more authentic insight. Because there’s no questions, and no self-report, there’s no way for candidates to engage in what we tend to call ‘impression management’. That is, faking. With no way to tell you what they think you want to hear, consciously or not, game-based assessments will often give you more authentic, trustworthy insight into your candidates.
A fair, unbiased opportunity
Lastly, game-based assessments generally grant truly objective insight. This contrasts with CVs – where it’s often pretty easy to establish someone’s gender, ethnicity and background. These types of data can tap into our natural bias, and cause different candidates to be assessed on different criteria from one hiring manager to the next.
Game-based assessments, by contrast, give every candidate the opportunity to show you how they think, behave, and solve problems. So there’s less room for biased interpretations, and a greater chance of a fair, inclusive, objective selection process.
What are the common types of game-based assessment?
Game-based assessments can be a great way to measure candidates’ unique personality. As we’ve said, using engaging tasks, rather than questions, often gives candidates a more relaxed, authentic environment to showcase their natural strengths in action.
These mostly include a series of tasks, sometimes tied together with a storyline – although this is more for engagement purposes than any impact on the final results. Although each task may seem to only measure one key trait at first glance – risk propensity is an obvious example – they’ll often secretly measure a host of others too. One of our tasks, Balloon Burst, actually measures 20 traits all at once.
That said, employers can also use these assessments to target very specific traits that are key to predicting performance at work. This might include the likes of creativity, resilience or learning agility, for example.
Into this group falls pretty much any assessment that measures some type of intelligence. Spatial, verbal, and numerical reasoning are some of the most common examples. Generally, these will assess candidates by asking them to either solve problems, recognise sequences, or similar activity.
Unlike personality assessments, where there’s pretty much no ‘right or wrong’ (you can’t really have a ‘wrong’ personality!), aptitude tests are just that – tests. That means that, much like your tests at school, there’s generally a right answer for your candidates to unearth.
The third common strand of game-based assessments is job simulations. As the name suggests, these try to replicate workplace scenarios and problems in a game-like environment.
The obvious challenge with these is understanding how well any assessment, taken online, can accurately replicate that working environment. That said, these can still give you a clearer sense of how a candidate would approach problems they’ll likely face on the job.
Which traits does our game-based assessment measure?
Our game-based assessment measures dozens of behavioural and cognitive traits, each of which help you see beyond your candidates’ CV and application.
While we won’t list them all here, we can group them around the five pillars of the OCEAN model of personality. These are:
Openness to experience
This one feels pretty obvious – is a person curious? Do they respond well to ambiguity or uncertainty? Or, rather, do they do their best work within a rigid framework? And, importantly, how creative are they?
This mostly refers to how well candidates control their impulses. Are they self-disciplined? Do they own their work, and plan it out beforehand? Or, on the other end of this spectrum, do they tend to procrastinate? This can be a sign of low conscientiousness.
In contrast to popular belief, you’re not either an introvert or an extrovert. It’s a sliding scale, and few people are ever at one pole or the other. Some of the traits we measure in this group are optimism, and sociability.
In short – how well does someone get along with others? We look at traits like authenticity, politeness and altruism in this group, to paint a picture of how naturally agreeable a person is.
Everyone has at least the faintest hint of neuroticism in their personality. But that’s no bad thing! A key trait in this group is emotional stability, but we also measure the likes of self-belief and resilience in this group.
So these are the five pillars of personality. But, with our assessment, there’s also a little bonus group we measure…
Granted, it’s not really a part of your personality. But this section still speaks to your candidates’ brain functioning, and paints you a richer picture of how they’ll perform at work. So it’s worth knowing!
Cognition spans the traits we’d usually link to intelligence. That’s the likes of learning agility and concentration, as well as processing speed, capacity and consistency.
How your candidates should prepare for game-based assessments
Our advice on how your candidates should prepare can be broken down into three areas:
So far as we know, almost all game-based assessments are online. That means the first port of call will be making your candidates have:
- Fully charged a compatible device (e.g. a laptop, or smartphone)
- Established a strong WiFi connection
- Turned off all alerts, alarms and notifications.
Candidates tend to perform best when they’re able to complete an assessment in one sitting, uninterrupted. If they’re getting distracted by what’s going on around them, they’re unlikely to perform at their best.
For this reason, we’d always recommend that your candidates find a quiet, comfortable place if possible, and give themselves plenty of time to complete the assessment. Ours has no time limits, but most take between 10-45 minutes.
Attitude & approach
Candidates should always do their best – but only within the parameters of the instructions. That means, unless otherwise stated, no guides, aids or other helping hands. If the assessment is looking into a candidates’ personality, trying to fake it will often only muddle the data and give them a worse shot at progressing. In fact, our assessment recognises when this is happening in real time. Its response? To immediately deem that person unsuitable to progress.
The moral of the story is to approach any game-based assessment authentically. This will often give candidates their best chance at being successful.
Time to learn a bit more about game-based assessments?
It’s pretty complicated in the world of assessments. Which is why it’s always worth discussing your options before you dive right in.
With that in mind, we’d love to chat about whether you’d be a great fit for our game-based assessment. Just reach out here, and we’ll get all your questions answered pronto.