Job Candidates Will ‘Tune Out’ if Assessments Have too Much Gamification, Claims New Paper

The challenges of choosing between the different gamification options, when assessing job candidates, are highlighted in a new white paper from assessment specialist Aon.


Called Gamification in assessment, the paper distinguishes between games, gamified assessments and game-based assessments. It explains that games are primarily used for pre-application attraction, whereas gamified assessments can be used to select candidates. These are proven psychometric instruments which feature game-style elements. Game-based assessments are defined separately as purpose-built games which assess the user’s behaviour while ‘playing’ the game.

“The right gamification option can differentiate your hiring process, engage your candidates and boost your employer brand,” said Andreas Lohff, CEO of Aon's Assessment Solutions. “But to achieve these benefits, you need to balance the conflicting needs of recruiters and candidates. Recruiters want an objective, evidence-based assessment that will identify applicants who match the requirements of the role. Candidates, on the other hand, want an engaging assessment experience. This paper explains how to satisfy the needs of both audiences.”

The new paper reveals that - according to Aon’s research - certain game-style elements are seen as attractive by job candidates. For example, candidates like completing designated challenges that unlock different levels and enable them to progress. They also like receiving immediate feedback. However, anything which identifies too strongly as a ‘game’ is perceived as inappropriate for recruitment and unprofessional.

“The lesson here is that candidates want to ‘feel’ that they are being taken seriously when they apply for any job,” said Andreas Lohff. “Our research shows that gamification elements can enhance the assessment experience, particularly in volume recruitment. But if your assessments have too much gamification - or if you include the wrong type of gamification - candidates will start to tune out.”

Seven practical steps are listed in the paper, to help HR and talent teams identify and implement the right gamification solution. These include: look for evidence that the assessment will measure what it claims to assess; ensure that the assessment feels appropriate to the role; give every applicant an equal chance of success, with no adverse impact, and explain to your candidates what you’re assessing and how their performance data will be used.

“If you’re considering introducing gamification into your talent acquisition process, it’s important to look beyond the hype,” said Andreas Lohff. “HR teams must ensure that their assessments are grounded in scientifically-validated psychometric rigour. If an assessment doesn’t provide meaningful, job-relevant insights, it won’t help you to make a fair and objective selection decision.”

Aon’s new paper Gamification in assessment can be freely downloaded from here.


Aon’s Assessment Solutions is part of Aon’s global Human Capital business, helping clients achieve sustainable growth by driving business performance through people performance. Aon’s Assessment Solutions undertakes 30 million assessments each year in 90 countries and 40 languages.

About Aon

Aon plc (NYSE: AON) is a leading global professional services firm providing a broad range of risk, retirement and health solutions. Our 50,000 colleagues in 120 countries empower results for clients by using proprietary data and analytics to deliver insights that reduce volatility and improve performance.

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About the Author

Aon creates smart measurement solutions with valid and innovative online assessment products. Aon is globally the preferred partner for organisations who demand the best.

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