Gamification200x233Today’s job applicants are more aware, critical and selective of employers than ever before. This collection of investigative attributes means that applicants are now smarter in assessing whether joining an organisation will allow them to achieve their personal aspirations and goals. Modern day businesses that realise this want to demonstrate they are ‘where it’s at’ very early on and to do this, they are employing new and evolving recruitment strategies in their quest.

How a company recruits can speak volumes about how they conduct business. If young people are engaged in an innovative, challenging, exciting recruitment process, it can give them great insight and confidence about what the company may be like to work for in the future.

Equally, businesses owe it to young people to be more innovative. We’ve seen some excellent examples of how candidates ensure they stand out from the crowd in a tough jobs market. Whether it’s using time on the fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square in London to advertise a 10 foot CV, or creating a blog to showcase writing and social media skills, young people are dedicating time to innovation and to getting noticed – and so should businesses.

Latest innovations

Often hailed as the digital generation, for members of Generation Y (and indeed what is now being called Generation C – the Connected generation), there is no distinction between the on and offline world. Having a digital element to any recruitment process is crucial to attracting talent from this group. Paying for key words and posting adverts on Facebook is just scratching the surface when it comes to attracting and engaging with talent online.

Creating bespoke selection processes greatly enhances organisations’ engagement of candidates and introducing digital solutions, that immerse applicants and candidates in a virtual world, can improve this even further.

Penna has recently worked with a blue-chip organisation to revolutionise their graduate selection process, by immersing candidates into the organisation early on in a multi-stage selection process. This meant designing selection elements such as: audio-visual situational judgement tests (screening tools that pose a number of job-related video challenges to applicants from which they must choose appropriate responses), introducing scenario-based questions at interview, and completely immersing the assessment centre candidates in a multi-media virtual world (using animation and enhanced digital presentation to replicate life in the organisation and contextualise the assessed exercises). The aim was to bring to life graduate roles and the organisation at the same time as testing them thoroughly on the behaviours required for success, if they were to secure a position.

Introducing gamification

The insights Penna’s occupational psychologists had gleaned about the qualities required from graduates resulted in the same client requesting support with introducing gamification to their graduate attraction process. The principles of gamification can be applied to almost any aspect of modern life where loyalty and engagement of the end-user is the goal. Gamification consists of three elements: motivation (i.e. prospect of reward); ability (making a task achievable); and trigger (i.e. something that calls for action).

Gamification can be seen in a diverse range of opportunities – including supermarket loyalty schemes, learning systems (where learners get ‘points’ for module completion) and weight loss recording apps on Smartphones. Modern gamification uses the techniques of online game designers to engage and motivate users to keep playing and applied to recruitment it makes process more ‘sticky’ – i.e. engaging prospective applicants with the organisation.

Gamification in recruitment

Using Penna’s psychologists, web developers and creative designers, the online game designed for the client invited prospective graduate applicants to see how quickly they could complete a series of challenges, which served the dual purpose of informing them about the organisation while introducing an element of competition. The fastest person on the leader board would win a prize and internship at the organisation, so there was a powerful incentive to get involved.

Those who did best at the challenge adopted creative strategies and analysed past approaches to improve performance (i.e. complete the challenges more quickly), learning from earlier mistakes.  The challenge was also constructed to enable participants to collaborate with other gamers via social media for tactics and tips – again, behaviours that would later be tested in the selection element of the process.

Not only did the game help the client to create a buzz about their brand and competition, it also helped them to engage with young people in the long term too. Those who take part will now associate that organisation with innovating and pushing the boundaries of traditional recruitment.

Other approaches

While creating online games and virtual worlds may not be feasible for some businesses, here are simple steps that companies can take to modernise recruitment practices:

  • Creating a competition for project ideas within Twitter’s 140 characters
  • Request photo captions for latest briefs
  • Conducting mini awards for the best blogs.

These are all ways to help engage young people in a recruitment process. Failing that, how about asking them directly for their ideas about creating a modern recruitment process? What better way to generate fresh ideas and engage with your target audience from the start?

Written by Daryl Murray, director of assessment, Penna Plc

Daryl is a chartered occupational psychologist with 15 years’ experience as a consultant psychologist in the public and private sectors – most recently with Royal Bank of Scotland where she was Head of Assessment for Europe. With an MA in Psychology and an MSc in Occupational and Organisational Psychology, Daryl heads up our team of Chartered Occupational Psychologists who specialise in bespoke assessment solution design.

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