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Play a Game, Get Hired: a New Way to Test Candidates

Clare Hopping

Taylor McBride/Flickr Taylor McBride/Flickr

Many companies are reportedly integrating game-playing into their graduate recruitment schemes. What does this mean for graduates, and how should you play it?

For those graduates out there who are also avid gamers, we have some good news – your skills may come into good use when applying for your next job. The Independent has revealed that some graduate recruitment portals are now incorporating gaming into the selection process.

Case in Point

Davinder Singh, founder and CEO of GIUP, a game design company that makes skill-based games for corporations, governments and sports, says, “corporations and organisations run themselves according to defined rules and frameworks, and it’s not too much of a leap of imagination to construct virtual environments that are governed by certain rules that replicate the way corporations work.”

BNP Paribas bank ran two online games for candidates – a coding based game for those students interested in technology, and a finance game with virtual bankers and clients for those going into finance.

KPMG, the top global accounting firm, presented potential new recruits with an adventure challenge called “80 Days”, requiring players to travel around the world in a hot air balloon in the quickest time possible, facing 10 challenges along their journey.

KPMGForbes refers to the recruitment game “My Marriott”, a Facebook app developed by Marriott International Inc.

The international hotel chain created the game, which has a similar concept to The Sims, where players act as managers in a virtual hotel kitchen, taking on the responsibilities of hospitality professionals and ensuring that everything runs smoothly.

The game allows candidates to get an idea of the kind of work they would be involved in, and to earn rewards, giving them a positive feeling towards the company and the industry.

The game was implemented to expand the company's recruitment outside of the U.S. to the international arena, and attract more millennials.

It’s a good example of how social media and gaming can be used to attract potential hires from all over the world – to engage and offer them the opportunity to find out more about the company and what a job there might be like.

GameAdvantages of Gaming for Recruiters

Although initial capital investment when implementing gaming into the recruitment process can be high, outsourcing to gaming companies who specialize in this kind of thing could cut costs in the long run.

In today’s market, there's a lot of competition, and gaming could help companies to differentiate themselves. Games are attractive and engaging – and much more exciting than the usual hiring processes.

Chris Pateman, Graduate Recruitment Specialist at LaunchPad says, "Increasingly, I'm reassured that graduate recruiting teams are recognising that their recruitment process is a direct reflection of their business culture—with a fun and dynamic environment, their hiring approach should reflect that. Gamification is a great way of bringing the experience alive.”

Gamification can also help recruiters expand their client base. As the girth of the technology industry grows, jobs in this sector are becoming a more viable option for students.

Gaming is well suited for this kind of recruitment and thus will help traditional recruiters expand their specialisations and clients by tapping into this market of technologically based companies.

Advantages of Gaming for Candidates

Gaming can add to the recruitment process by introducing a new way of evaluation that goes beyond the black and white applications of CVs and cover letters, giving potential hires the opportunity to illustrate their skills through practical situations and tests.

Gaming could also help students become better prepared for work. ThisMe, a product just on the horizon, is a platform that will test candidate's soft skills through online games.

According to The Independent, The team at ThisMe say their product “makes it easy and enjoyable for candidates to learn and improve—and to become better prepared for work.”

Singh believes using gaming in recruitment is also a fairer form of assessment than traditional methods. “Instead of having someone spend two seconds on your CV and then chuck it in the bin, everyone could be given five, six, seven hours of game play, or even more. It enables everyone to showcase their talents.”

Gaming vs. Traditional Recruitment Methods

Not all graduate recruiters see the benefit of games in recruitment.

Diana Spoudeas, a graduate recruitment manager at international law firm Jones Day says it won't accurately evaluate the student's skills, “you’d get the ones who are coached to pass through hoops, but not necessarily the ones who are personable, enthusiastic, original and different. Candidates who shine on tests don’t necessarily do well at work.”

“We recruit through a personal letter with application form, interviews and our two-week vacation scheme. At the end of the day, it’s about understanding someone's personal motivation and seeing how candidates respond to the work of a lawyer, which we (and they) can only tell by meeting them and giving them real work to do.”

Graduate Wojciech Kowalczyk says one of the games in BNP Paribas recruitment helped him demonstrate his skills and aided him in his first steps in his investment banking career.

“I think there should be more competitions on the market. For the companies it could be a great source for potential hires, and for students a great way to check their knowledge in comparison to peers from all over the world.”

However, he doesn't think gaming can replace traditional recruitment methods. While completing an internship at J.P. Morgan, he says it was the experience he gained that really mattered, rather than the competitions he took part in.

Gaming in the Workplace

According to Forbes, the gaming trend comes from the need to increase engagement among employees as well as creating a system of reward and recognition in the office, while making processes more visible and open.

In a recent Pew Internet/Elon University report, 'The Future Of Gamification', university researchers suggested that the principles behind gamification could improve motivation, learning, creativity and participation.

Of the 1021 internet experts that were interviewed, 53% of them predict that there will be significant growth and progress in the use of gamification in the workplace by 2020, in areas from education to marketing, communications and wellness.

Gaming is a powerful tool because it draws out the competitive nature of people, engaging them and making them more likely to work harder to achieve rewards. This can be used both in the workplace and in recruitment, offering an interesting alternative to traditional recruitment methods.

Clare Hopping

Clare Hopping has been involved in the recruitment of both full-time employees and freelance staff for ten years. She specialises in recruiting staff via social media and digital platforms.