How gamification is helping companies hire top talent

  • Opinion
  • November 9, 2017
  • Michael Gilmore
How gamification is helping companies hire top talent

Need to hire new employees? Make the process a game. And it's more common - and easier to do - than you might think.

The labor market has changed drastically in the last few decades. Today, companies are competing to detect and recruit new talents, so young professionals with enough skills and knowledge don’t have to search for job opportunities anymore. Instead, HR managers find them.

At the same time, the unemployment rate in First World countries is reaching an all-time low. For instance, the New Zealand jobless rate has fallen to 4.8 percent - the lowest in eight years. In such circumstances, recruiters are creating new methods to attract employees. Gamification is one of those methods.

How to Combine Games and Recruiting

Around 15 years ago, an average opening sat unfilled for 19 days. Now, it's 28 days. This clearly suggests that contemporary recruiters need more time to convince top talents to accept the job in their company. They need something new and exciting to grab the attention of young prospects.

This is why HR executives have turned to gamification. Namely, it is the process of adding games or gamelike elements to something (such as a task) in order to encourage participation. This is exactly the purpose of gamification in recruiting – to engage people and make them participate in the hiring processes. It makes the whole procedure more interesting and amusing, which is why some people even call it "recruitainment."

Dave Watson, HR manager at Careers Booster, explains, that gamification has three distinct objectives in hiring processes: 

-To attract top talents: This is the basic goal and the first thing you should have in mind while adding gaming elements into your talent search.

-To educate before the actual hiring: The best thing about gamification is that it helps new employees to learn about the business before they even become regular employees.

-To improve brand awareness: Just like all other games, recruitainment can also go viral on social media. It helps companies to boost brand awareness and generate new leads and conversions. This is the secondary role of gamification, but certainly a valuable one as well.

With so many features taken into the calculation, it is not surprising to learn that more than 350 companies launched major gamification projects in the last seven years. But what are the most common gamification models? Let’s take a closer look.


Recruiting websites can add rewards as gamification elements to make the process goal-oriented. Every time a candidate performs some activity on your website, you give him a few points as a reward. This activity could be anything from rating a photo to leaving a comment about one of your posts. With each point they receive, they have a better chance of getting the job interview invitation. 

Virtual job fairs

Using modern technology, it is easy to organise a thematic job fair and invite top talents to take part. You need to design a webpage dedicated to this event with all relevant materials about the company and its employees. The most important thing is to promote it precisely, detecting your target group on social networks.

Crosswords, tests, and quizzes

A lot of companies are creating special challenges in form of crosswords or quizzes to test the knowledge of potential employees. This makes recruiting very entertaining, which is why the generation of Millennials – who are born in the Internet era – consider it a big advantage for the overall company image. You can create online quizzes quickly, using a minimum budget. 

Video-based interviews

Contemporary HR managers utilise video interviews because they are cheaper and more efficient than traditional models and because they deem more interesting to the candidates. All you need is a computer with a camera and you can start the quest. On some occasions, you can also test the actual skills of job prospects, setting up a genuine office environment around you and asking people how they would react in any given situation. 

Real-time progress

Watching your real-time progress is a popular feature of all classic video games in the last 30 years. That’s why some recruiters use it to post a challenge and let talents compete to fulfill 100 percent of their tasks as soon as possible. It makes the procedure result-driven, which is excellent if you need ambitious and hard-working employees.

There are many examples of all these gamification techniques. For instance, audit giant Deloitte created a website quiz with several questions to test the behavior of their candidates. Their campaign 'Will You Fit into Deloitte' is exploring office experience decision-making to see how potential employees think. As the recruiters explained it, this is the “campaign about the company’s culture and various service lines in a ligh-hearted, innovative, and interactive way.”

The second example is Upwork, the biggest freelancing website, which uses real-time tracking and progress bars to assess both remote workers and employers. The process goes two ways: companies are giving marks and comments about the work conducted by freelancers, while their former employees also assess the quality of communication and instruction. This means that candidates will not accept a job offer in case user reviews are bad – and the other way around.


Modern companies cannot find talented and reliable employees easily anymore. Recruiters have to try hard to attract top prospects and that is why they embraced gamification as the means of hiring. In this article, we explained how this whole process functions. Now you know how gamification in recruiting works - and how to use it in your own hiring efforts. Good luck.

This story was originally published on Idealog. 

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