Gamification In Recruitment: How To Do It And Why It Matters

By Aris Apostolopoulos

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Has it occurred to you that, during the hiring process, your future employees evaluate you as much as you evaluate them? Even in the shaken post-pandemic job market, quality candidates have plenty of options and ambition that needs to be fed. 

That leaves your hiring process with two main objectives. One, single out the perfect candidate. And two, impress them -- so that they choose you back. In an attempt to achieve both, more and more companies are changing the way they attract and hire talent. While they still follow a structured recruiting process, they “embellish” it a bit with game mechanics throughout. This new way of recruiting employees is known as recruitment. 

If you haven’t heard of recruitment before, you’re in the right place. This post explores the benefits of gamification for recruitment and explains how you can add gamification into your hiring process.

What is Recruitment and why Gamification in Recruitment Matters

Like we explained above, recruitment is the practice of adding gamification elements into recruitment. By gamification, we mean anything from a progress bar to simulations that will evaluate the candidate’s response to certain situations. The name suggests that recruitment aims to make the hiring process more “entertaining.” In reality, there are many more benefits to using gamification in recruitment: 


  • Your company strikes as a desirable place to work in. Why should a job candidate choose to work with you over another company? A gamified recruitment process tips the scale in your favor: it’s an unusual, modern, and creative approach. So candidates expect the same from your workplace. Case in point, in a recent gamification survey by TalentLMS, 78% of respondents say that gamification in the recruiting process would make a company more desirable.


  • It’s an effective way to find the right fit. It’s easy to boast about your excellent organizational skills on a resume. What’s more, anyone with the ability to lie (so, most of us) can describe an imaginary situation where their quick thinking saved a doomed deal. Gamified activities, however, enable you to evaluate skills that matter to you and are hard, if not impossible, to test during an interview. This increases your chances of picking the right candidate.


  • Test candidates without intimidating them. We all had that one classmate who was an excellent student but flunked every exam due to stress. To some people, the same happens with interviews. Unless you’re specifically looking for employees who can stomach aggressive behavior and need to have their way with words, gamification is an excellent way to test skills without intimidating your more introvert or anxious candidates.


  • Appeal to game-loving Millennials. You probably know that the largest part of today’s workforce is Millennials. What you might not know is that most Millennials return home to a game. More specifically, 7 out of 10 Millennials play a mobile game for an average of 9.7 hours a week. Put two and two together, and you’ll see why gamification in recruiting is a safe bet when it comes to engaging modern candidates.


  • Raise awareness and screen candidates. Invite candidates via your LinkedIn profile or career page to play a game. Using a game to screen initial candidates deters those who are randomly sending out resumes and helps skilled but inexperienced applicants catch your attention. On a side note, gamified recruitment can also increase awareness about your company, especially among Millennials and Generation Z. 

How to Use Gamification in Recruitment

So, what do you need to keep in mind to make recruitment work the way it’s supposed to? The following tips will show you how to use gamification in recruiting to engage candidates and find the perfect fit. 


1. Start with Simple Gamification Features

Not every company can pull off the Marriott simulation or Google’s riddle. Developing high-end games is expensive and requires a dedicated development team. Luckily, gamification doesn’t have to be complicated or costly to work. Start simple, maybe with a quiz or some drag-and-drop activities, and see how it goes. Even a progress bar will get applicants excited as they watch the hiring process unfold and advance. Depending on the feedback and the results you get, you can add more advanced features later.


2. Hinge on Real-Life Scenarios

Don’t forget that gamification in recruitment should, above all, help you hire the right person. Therefore, it should be based on real-life scenarios and test your candidates in everyday work situations. Let’s say your company’s interviewing candidates for a customer support rep opening. In this case, all gamification features must assess how they use their customer support skills on the job. For example, you can add a game to see how they handle a touchy customer or how they respond to an unusual request. 


3. Find the Right Tools

When developing a gamified recruiting process, consider investing in a gamification LMS to save time and effort. With a gamification LMS, you can add levels and progress bars to visualize the candidate’s progress and how far in the hiring process they are. An added benefit is that a training platform enables you to use gamification in onboarding as well. This way, you’ll offer a remarkable welcome experience to your newcomers from start to finish.


4. Measure Results

Gamification in recruitment allows for a more detailed and rounded evaluation of the candidate’s skills. For example, if you have used a gamified training platform, the system will generate reports so that you can see how your candidates performed in diverse activities. This will help you identify their strong suits or skills they need to train. Keep your eyes open for candidates that might be a good fit for a different position than the one you’re currently looking to fill. At the same time, make sure candidates know how they’re performing by adding or deducting points accordingly.


5. Keep it Relevant

Never use the same gamification features for every job opening. Each role demands unique skills and traits, so create different processes for different positions. If you’re looking for a web developer, for example, you’ll want to check their problem-solving ability and basic communication skills to see how well they collaborate within a team. But there’s no point in testing their negotiation or active listening skills like you would with an aspiring sales assistant. If you do, you’ll confuse your candidate about your expectations and their job duties. And you won’t be any closer to finding the right person either.


6. Old School is not Dead

Well-designed games can uncover hidden skills and talent and help you make the right hiring decision. That said, neither games nor gamification elements can replace a structured recruitment process. You still need to ask candidates for a resume and a cover letter and conduct an interview or more. (Yes, you might have to ask a few of those common interview questions, too.) 


Gamification in recruitment adds a refreshing touch to an otherwise graceless and stressful process. It also helps you raise awareness for open positions, evaluate specific skills and aptitudes, and create engagement right from the start. Is it time to wave goodbye to bleak hiring processes and welcome recruitment?

Author bio:

Aris Apostolopoulos is a faithful follower of the eLearning mentality and a cosmonaut in orbit around the latest trends in the eLearning solar system. After multiple, around-the-eLearning-universe tours, his spaceship has landed on TalentLMS. This is where he publishes articles related to eLearning, the continuous learning philosophy, as well as posts on the latest industry news and trends.

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