Could games give your recruitment an edge in a competitive market?

games recruitment
Deb Peacock


written on January 20, 2017

In the US, gaming has moved out of the basement and into the job interview. Game-based recruitment is highly popular and now it’s gaining recognition here. So how can computer games help you select the best candidate?

Last December, a games company located in a building tucked behind a Bunnings Warehouse in the sleepy Brisbane suburb of Stafford competed alongside military simulation developers, worldwide universities and professional game developers at the International Serious Showcase & Challenge in Orlando, Florida.

While they weren’t the victors, as they were at the Australasian event, they succeeded in attracting the largest crowds to their stand as people queued up to play Cognify, their latest pre-hire assessment game.

So, what drew this international audience in? Most impressive was the game’s simplicity and broad appeal as an effective and engaging way to reliably assess candidates for employment. And the feedback was overwhelmingly positive.

“In the US, simulations and games are widely accepted as legitimate tools in the recruitment process. There’s a lot of comfort with the concept of ‘serious games,'” says Revelian CEO, Cherie Curtis.

Tell me more about game-based recruitment

Cognify is Revelian’s latest game-based psychometric assessment that uses game-based design thinking, backed by psychometric science, to provide candidates and employers with what they consider a vastly improved assessment experience. 

One of the new wave of assessment tools, games like Cognify are gradually replacing more traditional psychometric tests as a better way of objectively assessing critical skills and attributes. And increasingly, they’re being adopted by leading employers in Australia and internationally.

Are games really a good way to assess candidates?

And do they actually give you the information you need to make better hires? Here are 6 reasons why they could help your recruitment process.

1. Properly constructed games are based on psychometric science and reputable models of human intelligence

While games are fun, most of them don’t have any bearing on how someone is going to perform on the job.

Recruitment games assess proven indicators of future work performance, such as general mental ability (GMA) and the Cattell-Horn-Carroll model of intelligence. Combined, they give you a clear and objective indicator of each candidate’s problem-solving, information processing speed, numerical reasoning skills, verbal knowledge and other performance-related attributes.

2. They’re relevant for all roles

While some of the games in the marketplace today are clearly more suited to graduate and entry-level recruitment, games such as Cognify represents a new breed of more sophisticated and clean game design that appeals to a much broader audience.

Similar in appearance to some of the better ‘brain-training’ games, it also offers high face validity: candidates can see how the skills measured are relevant to the jobFurther, the abilities assessed are important for every role, from entry-level admin to senior management.

3. They enhance the candidate experience, which promotes your employer brand

Increasingly, organisations are realising the importance of optimising a candidate’s journey through their recruitment process. With 80 per cent of candidates recommending game-based assessment, it’s clear that today’s digital natives prefer a more technically rich, immersive recruitment experience.

“Candidates forget they’re completing an assessment, which means they’re less stressed, and you get more authentic data about their performance, as well as promoting your brand as an innovator,” explains Curtis.

4. They’re hard to ‘fake’

A common problem with traditional assessment methods – and indeed much of the recruitment process – is the candidate’s (understandable) desire to present themselves in the very best possible light. Games make it more difficult for candidates to distort their responses, which gives employers a more robust and accurate appraisal of their suitability for a role.

As Jason Blaik, Head of Psychology at Revelian puts it, “Games like Cognify assess ability and aptitude without exposing the nature of the construct being assessed. They offer a unique candidate experience each time the game is played, while delivering an equal level of difficulty to ensure a fair comparison”.

5. They provide a more complete assessment of each candidate

Another way games supersede traditional assessment methods is in the amount of data collected for each candidate. While other assessments record a right or wrong answer, games record and analyse every aspect of gameplay and potentially thousands of data points. This means that you can get a better understanding of how each candidate approached different problems and situations and arrived at their solutions, to give you more sophisticated insights into each person.

6. They’re applicable across all ages, genders, ethnicities and backgrounds

Forget the stereotype of the 18-year-old male playing games in his parent’s basement: the most recent stats show that the average game player is 33 and almost as likely to be female as male. They’re also spread out across the world, with nearly 50% of players coming from the Asia-Pacific region, followed by the US and Europe.

However, even if a person plays games every day, Revelian’s research shows that this doesn’t impact their performance. As Jason Blaik tells us, “We analysed the data from game-players and non-gamers very carefully. And, as we’d hoped, because our games offer each candidate a unique experience, a person’s previous level of familiarity with computer games had little impact on their performance.”

Internationally and in Australia, gamification is emerging as a tool for workplace activities beyond the hiring room. Australian-based digital platform Wooboard allows employees to receive a “Woo!” from their peers whenever they reach team or individual goals. And in the US, companies such as Badgeville and CaptainUp are used for recruitment by the likes of Wells Fargo, Dell and Hewlett Packard.

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2 thoughts on “Could games give your recruitment an edge in a competitive market?

  1. Excellent article. Interesting read that provides ‘food for thought’ in recruitment strategy development. Thank you for sharing.

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