Let the Games Begin — Gamification in Recruiting

Written by: Lisa A. Burke
Published on: Jan 25, 2021

group of candidates playing games in recruiting

In 2004, Google posted a mathematical riddle to a billboard in Silicon Valley inviting candidates to complete a series of math equations thinking that those who accepted the challenge show both the intellect and motivation to become great employees. Both sides benefited from the exercise: Google would attract high quality employees and candidates would be engaged in the recruitment process via a fun and challenging game. 

Since that time, many companies have introduced gamification to the recruiting process. The below graph shows the large growth of the concept over the past 10 years. As per market reports world, the size of the gamification market is expected to grow to a $17.56 billion industry by 2024. Gamification is a versatile process and has been utilized in various areas, for example, customer service, employee performance, and recruiting.

gamification graph (BI)

Image source: Businessinsider.com

What is Gamification

Gamification is a concept which incorporates game theory and game design to digitally engage and motivate people to complete a task or meet a goal.

Healthcare organizations have been reluctant to introduce gamification in their workplace because they consider healthcare to be a mission-critical industry that oversees the welfare of patients every day and don’t wish to trivialize the hiring process. However, gamification is beneficial across various important areas of a facility such as safety training, as well as recruitment. Within the competitive healthcare sector, gamification can be a beneficial job market differentiator to attract top caliber candidates as it offers a unique activity that breaks the monotony of traditional job search.

Gamification in Healthcare Recruitment

When partnered with recruitment, gamification is often called “recruitainment.” Using quizzes, puzzles, and simulations allows candidates to showcase their creative thinking and problem-solving skills. For example, benchmark.games has developed puzzle games, which test for skills such as goal orientation, planning, analytical thinking, problem-solving, and multitasking—all of which are important for clinical leaders in a facility. With regard to simulations, candidates are given the opportunity to perform the tasks they would be expected to carry out on the job so that hiring team can obtain an objective evaluation of their potential for success.

When to use Gamification in hiring process

The first step in adding gamification to your recruiting process is to decide which stage to use this tactic. Gamification can be an effective tool for evaluating candidates early in the hiring process before they are invited to an on-site interview. Typically, the most benefit is derived from using the tool during the application and assessment stages.

Games during the application process

Games can complement or replace traditional pre-employment assessments. Rather than asking candidates to answer multiple choice questions across several areas, you can ask them to play a short game. Game-based assessments measure many of the same Knowledge, Skills and Abilities (KSAs) as traditional assessment, including cognitive ability (e.g. puzzles and problem solving) and emotional intelligence (e.g. simulations) in an engaging, less biased manner. There is a caveat here: aside from the hesitation of healthcare employers to employ games in their hiring process, candidates themselves may wonder as to the effectiveness of games in deciding their appropriateness for a given role. As a result, the manner in which the hiring team presents the activity is of the utmost importance. You can remove candidate hesitation by clearly explaining the purpose of the game in terms of evaluating needed skills and competences. This points to the fact that it’s critical to select the best game to measure the specific skills you wish to evaluate, for instance problem-solving, verbal communication, analytical thinking, and even clinical skills (covered below).

Benefits of gamification during the application process

  • Candidates who complete the activity are clearly the most motivated. Engaging in an activity requires a time commitment on the candidate’s part, forcing them to consider whether they wish to continue. Candidates who are less motivated might self-select out of consideration leaving you with a talent pool of engaged candidates.
  • Allows the hiring team to more easily evaluate entry level candidates. Imagine you are hiring for an entry-level nursing role and your facility receives resumes from several qualified candidates. By asking candidates to play a game, you can immediately identify their actual skills and abilities. For example, UbiSim is a Montreal-based nursing-focused gamification company. Simulations are provided wherein candidates can “examine, auscultate and palpitate life-like patients, review medical records, operate medical equipment, utilize clinical judgment to recommend nursing interventions or communicate with patients and their families.” A healthcare facility in Sint-Truidin implemented a patient room so that new employees can perform basic tasks that will be required on the job (the activity can also be used as a hiring tool). There have been 20 intentional errors made in this room, such as the bed being too low or high, nurses and medical personnel not wearing protective equipment, safety precautions being bypassed (e.g. the patient alarm is disconnected). New hires and candidates have 10 minutes to find and explain the 20 errors, after which the evaluation team provides feedback.  
  • Easily engage candidates. Gamification makes the hiring process much more interactive and projects a facility culture that’s fun and enjoyable. As a result, it helps to attract a larger number of engaged candidates. With the competition for healthcare talent so keen, this is no small benefit.
  • Build a diverse team. Games are played in the same way for all candidates which introduces less bias to the hiring process. This allows the hiring team to more objectively evaluate candidates than traditional assessment tools (such as personality tests) which can disadvantage certain groups of people.
  • Reduce time to hire. Taking a traditional assessment test can last for a few hours or even days if the candidate becomes fatigued. Many pre-employment assessments also cannot be completed on mobile devices. Conversely, a game take minutes to complete and can often be played right on the candidate’s smartphone.  

The future of gamification in recruiting

With the many benefits that we mentioned above, gamification is expected to stay and will continue to evolve. Forward-thinking healthcare organizations can use interactive games and simulations to inject some fun into the hiring process, or incorporate this tactic into the employee development programs and training sessions. While gamification is a useful tool for candidate evaluation, keep in mind that human interactions are key to build relationship and promote the organization’s culture. 

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