Are you looking to combine gamification and assessment? David Barrett offers seven tips for creating a distinctive gamified assessment. For decades, employers have used online psychometric assessments to identify the most appropriate candidates in their applicant pool. Now, some recruiters are turning to gamification in a bid to differentiate themselves, raise brand awareness and provide a more immersive candidate experience.
The attraction of using a game is that it challenges candidates and enables them to score points, compete with others, try out different strategies and get recognition and instant feedback - all without feeling that they’re being ‘measured’.
But a distinction needs to be drawn here. You can’t just introduce a game and expect it to make your recruitment process more enjoyable, because the game will not be ‘fun to play’ if a job is at stake. You have to introduce the right ‘gamified assessment’, one that will help you make a fair and objective selection decision. In other words, you need to combine science and entertainment.
The best gamified assessments are powerful tools underpinned by proper science and validated with psychometric rigour. Then the games offer not only an immersive, engaging and entertaining candidate experience, they also provide specific psychometric insights about each applicant’s skills, abilities and their potential to perform in the role. On top of that, they’ll give you predictive analytics that will help you make future talent decisions.
Seven tips for success
A gamified assessment that helps you to accurately and cost effectively find the right candidates, through an optimum combination of science and entertainment, is a seductive concept. Here’s how to achieve it:
1. Make it yours. If you choose to use a generic game, you won’t differentiate your organisation in any way. There may be a short-term cost advantage to using the same game as a competitor but the longer-term impact, in terms of damage to your employer brand, can be hard to shake off. Above all, you want your assessment process to feel ‘special’ and distinct to candidates.
2. Be clear about what you want. Gamified assessments can be built for a range of purposes, such as pre-application attraction or candidate selection. Do you want to attract applicants, expand your talent pool, offer guidance, assess specific skills or create a viral game that can be shared to improve your brand awareness? If you’re looking to assess your applicants, then what specific skills, abilities and aptitudes are you trying to find? For example, are you looking for critical thinking, attention to detail, problem solving, initiative, aptitude for learning or specific skills such as creativity or teamwork? Start with what you want to measure, then build a gamified assessment that will deliver this. Don’t start with the game and then try to modify it to measure something. Also, think about which aspects of gamification will actually help you to achieve your goal. For example, you may want to develop a valid and reliable Realistic Job Preview, which includes gamified elements. This can appeal to candidates as it provides a fresh, brand-specific approach and it features the ‘look and feel’ of a game but it is also highly predictive.
3. Don’t limit yourself. Certain soft skills such as empathy may be difficult to assess via a game. So consider whether a gamified assessment is really the best option for you, or whether there are other ways of identifying which candidates have the exact behaviours and competencies you require. Gamification is not the only way forward.
4. Create an immersive candidate experience. The design of your gamified assessment should appeal to candidates and serve its purpose. Don’t include fancy ‘bells and whistles’ for the sake of it. Your candidates should be able to complete the game in a short time. Yes, it should be enjoyable but remember it also has to be grounded in scientifically-validated psychometric rigour and it should provide meaningful, job-relevant insights about candidates as well as robust predictive analytics that will help you with future talent decisions. Get your design wrong and you could find candidates ‘bad-mouthing’ your game on social media!
5. Think through how it will be used. Candidates should have an equal opportunity for success, regardless of whether they play the game on a phone, tablet, desktop or laptop. The layout and format should resize appropriately to display any text, image or video elements on any device. The game also has to be ‘fair to complete’. Candidates should not be disadvantaged if they lack colour vision or the manual dexterity to perform well, unless these aspects are relevant for the job. Ensure you partner with a gamified assessment provider who can design a quick, aesthetic and engaging candidate experience that’s optimised for any device and that doesn’t compromise basic testing principles. This will require trials across different devices to check candidate performance and completion times.
6. Make it scaleable.Choose a partner who can provide an underpinning platform; who has expertise in assessing the skills and attitudes you need; who can deliver reliable analytics; who can create a distinctive game and who can administer the process across local, regional, national or international boundaries, according to your needs.
7. Communicate with your candidates. If you’re making a selection decision based on someone’s performance in a game, good practice is to explain to your candidates what the game is assessing and how their performance data will be used. If you won’t be taking a candidate further in your selection process, outline the reasons why and explain that it isn’t because they ‘failed’, it is because they don’t have the specific mix of skills or behaviours that you’re looking for. You have to be able to justify and validate your decision and you can only do this if your game has a sound scientific basis.
Equipped with the right gamified assessment, you can deliver a great experience to every candidate and also gain a rich source of job-relevant data and insights that can help you make a quick and informed decision about whether or not to progress each person through your application process.
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