Gamification Tapped by Some Employers to Recruit Candidates

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Gamification is all too often confused with gaming; of course, gamification makes things more pleasurable. But it addittionally increases engagement and motivation and stimulates users to exceed their limits to win something.

And gamification could make a mundane task like completing employment application fun, creative, competitive and interesting. Says Jessica Miller-Merrel, a recruiting veteran and founder of, “Injecting fun into a thing that is generally viewed as boring or task orientated not merely can increase engagement but also drive innovation and productivity, which is something your company desperately needs.”

Current productivity numbers are in historic lows with Gallup recently reporting that 70 percent of the people in today’s U.S. employees have labeled themselves as disengaged or actively disengaged at the job.

Engagement is particularly critical with regards to new hires since workers will be the most engaged, happy and productive within their jobs the first half a year. Yet video-game job applications have sometimes became unsuccessful in motivating and engaging candidates, as demonstrated by failed attempts like the Marriot’s My Marriott Hotel Facebook game.

Related: 3 Unique Hiring Ways to Find the appropriate Person for the work

However, several companies have already been looking at how exactly to integrate gamification into challenge-based recruiting as a robust tool to activate candidates and assess their skills. The success of such corporate programs relates to the implementation of four key game-design strategies in the hiring process that may enhance the candidate experience and empower applicants to showcase and deliver value to the business.

1. Levels: Providing clarity about the steps of the application form process avoids the chance of candidates’ feeling lost and disengaged.

2 Challenges: Engaging candidates on specific tasks enables them to supply something concrete beyond just a resume.

3. Badges: Virtual goods are "unlocked" for many who flourish in the first rounds of the application form process. This encourage candidates to remain focused and compete for the work.

4. Social status: Celebrating the winners shows transparency and encourages applicants to try again and also have a positive candidate experience, which is crucial to an employer’s branding.

Tech companies are at the forefront in adopting this new technique, challenging software engineers and developers to assess their coding skills, which can’t be done by screening resumes. Google for instance, implemented the Google Code Jam, a worldwide online software writing contest with the potential to attract a lot more than 7,500 people every year. The most notable 25 finalists are invited to the Mountain View, Calif., campus to compete for $50,000 in prizes in addition to a chance to just work at Google. Another example may be the Facebook Programming Challenge where candidates can solve programming challenges to "be seen” by the employer.

Innovative leaders across other industries are challenging candidates on business-related problems, leveraging the four gamification strategies in the above list.

Related: Team ‘Ban Bossy’ or Not: 3 EXPLANATIONS WHY Hiring LADIES IN Tech Grows Business.

Saul Minkoff, among the co-founders of Pulse Savings, has experienced personally how challenges can appeal to the entrepreneurial spirit as a chance to showcase skills and creativity; actually, his company may be the product of a business-case competition.

Predicated on his experience, he made a decision to approach hiring the same manner: “When seeking to hire new associates, I wanted never to be biased by school names or years of experience," he said. "I needed motivated and innovative leaders that could can be found in with ideas, not only wait to be easily fit into a box."

"The results were impressive," he added. "Candidates surprised us with proposals and ideas that my team and I [had] never considered and that would haven’t come through a resume or through the interview.”

Minkoff is using 1-Page, the Silicon Valley-based company where I work that operates at the intersection between gamification and hiring, enabling businesses to activate candidates. Applicants may also access the platform lacking any invitation from an employer and focus on unsolicited job proposals to frame their ideas and pitch the business of their dreams.

1-Page isn’t the only company associated with this kind of activity. Another case is MindSumo: Its platform enables companies to activate students in solving real-time both business and tech challenges, rewarding the winners with monetary prizes (usually between $50 and $150).

For all those entrepreneurs who are embracing challenge-based hiring, the huge benefits seem to exceed engaging and identifying the very best candidates; Pulse’s experience with 1-Page and the MindSumo example show how engaging candidates to resolve companies’ challenges enables businesses to crowd-source ideas and innovation and access prescriptive data about applicants for enhanced strategic decision-making.

Related: three ways to Re-Engage Your Employees

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