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Gamification in Recruiting

In Hiring Strategy — by Trakstar

Gamification is a concept which uses game theory, mechanics, and game designs to digitally engage and motivate people to achieve their goals.

I recently went through a gamified campaign ran by Domino’s called “Create and Name Your Pizza.” Customers were invited to build their own digital pizza and were awarded cash every time anyone purchased their bespoke pizza. The underlying idea is to encourage customers to engage with the brand and its product via a game.

Companies generally use these gaming principles to intensify customer interest and interaction with their brand. In today’s highly competitive environment, gamification is becoming a popular marketing differentiator. Examples include profile ratings, engagement activities, loyalty programs, wrapper game prizes, hidden tokens, simulated games, employee-of-the-month schemes—or anything else that promotes customer or employee engagement.

Recruitment gamification market forecast

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The graph above shows the immense growth of gamification over the past decade. It’s now being used in every area of a company’s operations including customer engagement, employee performance management, and recruiting, in some instances.

Gamification in recruitment

Professor Allen Huffcutt from Bradley University, an expert in job interviews, has  identified several problems with the typical recruitment process. He believes that common job interview questions are often ineffective. Candidates have heard them before and usually come prepared with scripted answers that do little to demonstrate their job qualifications.

This is where gamification can help. When coupled with recruitment it is often termed as “recruitainment.” Using quizzes, challenges, or behavioral-related evaluations, hiring companies can integrate a fun element into a typically dull recruiting process. Candidates showcase their job qualifications, allowing the hiring team to assess their  aptitude, creative thinking, and problem-solving capabilities.

Matt Jeffery of SAP believes hiring-related gamification is often misjudged, “People rushed in and thought it is about adding a game to the recruitment process, which isn’t quite right.”

Why gamification in recruitment?

Sourcing candidates is a primary responsibility of recruiters. They need to generate plenty of qualified applicants for the hiring manager to consider, while filtering out the ones who don’t have the required skills, experience, or knowledge. 

Gamification can be an effective method for evaluating applicants before you invite them in for a formal interview. And it gives them a break from the monotony of job hunting. 

It some cases, gamification can be used to create simulated work environments where the candidate experiences the tasks they would do if hired. You can see their skills in action and get an idea of how they would approach the challenges the role presents. 

But even if it makes sense in theory, what companies are actually using games in their hiring process?

Siemens Plantsville

Siemens introduced “Plantsville”—a game that puts the player in the shoes of the facility manager at their company. Tom Warney, head of marketing and communications, believes it will generate interest in manufacturing careers among young people. The company can show prospective employees what the role of plant manager entails and, in some sense, prepare someone to do the job outside the virtual realm.

Siemens Planstville Recruitment

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My Marriott Hotel

Another successful recruitment-based game is “My Marriott Hotel,” which runs on the hotel chain’s Facebook career page. Players get a virtual experience of running a hotel and are redirected to a job application when they click the “Do it for real” button.

Marriott Careers

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While skills and experience are always important, hiring companies want to attract people who are interested in the day-to-day responsibilities of doing the job. The games created by both Siemens and Marriott are excellent methods for encouraging young, digitally-minded people to apply who otherwise may have never considered working for either company.

The case against gamification in recruitment

The examples above are neat but you’re likely wondering if gamification is becoming a regular part of the hiring process? Does it really have the potential to change how we evaluate candidates?

It’s important to note, the games created by Siemens and Marriott are meant to raise awareness for their open jobs. However, candidates still complete a standard application and participate in a typical interview process.

While incorporating gamification into hiring is a novel idea, there are a couple of reasons it’s not very practical. 

Hiring should meet the candidate’s expectations

For better or worse, a candidate has certain expectations when they decide to apply for a job. Writing a cover letter and completing an application may not be exciting activities but job seekers are used to it.

Suddenly adding a game to the process can be a jarring experience. Many hiring companies already struggle with high application abandonment rates and an out-of-left-field step in the process will only contribute to the problem. 

That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t start to evaluate candidates at the application stage. The better approach is to include questions that ask about the candidate’s background and reason for applying. Application questions align with what a job seeker expects and are arguably a more effective evaluation method than a game.

Gamification requires a lot of resources

Application questions not only meet a candidate’s expectations and help hiring companies learn about their qualifications. The ability to create custom application questions is a standard feature in an applicant tracking system (ATS) like Trakstar Hire. Any recruiter, hiring manager, or HR team member can build an application to their liking in a few minutes.

The same cannot be said for creating a hiring-related game. No ATS to our knowledge includes any such feature, and if any provider did, we would have to imagine the functionality would be a rather basic, one-size-fits-all approach. 

Building games like Siemens or Marriott requires extensive web development resources. Your dev team would need to plan the game, build it, and figure out how to integrate it into your hiring process. It’s hard to justify the logistics when there are better ways to attract talent and evaluate candidates. 

The future of gamification

Gamification has a bright future in some aspects of business operations. Forward-thinking companies can use interactive games to boost customer acquisition and promote employee development and training. 

Information technology research firm Markets and Markets predicts gamification will be a $11.10 billion industry in 2020.

However, it’s hard to imagine gamification making its way into the formal hiring process at this time. Games like the ones from Siemens and Marriott are an interesting way to promote openings and garner interest. But sourcing applicants and determining if they’re qualified requires efficiency for both the candidate and the hiring company. And the features provided by an ATS like Trakstar Hire are designed with effective hiring in mind.  

Trakstar Hire is considered the most user friendly hiring software on the market. If you’re ready to take your recruiting and hiring to the next level, request a Trakstar Hire demo today.

Who is Trakstar?

Trakstar is a multi-product HR software provider helping organizations put the people back in people management. Develop and align your staff through better recruiting and applicant tracking, performance management, and learning management. For a more integrated solution to talent management, check out our website and request a live demonstration today.

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