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How Effective Are Gamification Strategies in Recruitment?

Gamification is the process of using game design elements in non-game contexts. It’s a hot topic due to the potential of vastly improved employee morale, customer engagement, and even recruitment. But how effective are gamification strategies in recruiting? Also, are they for everyone? We’ll take a look at some of the pros and cons to see if it’s worth implementing for your business.

First off let’s start with some background, gamification is a process of using game design elements in non-game contexts. These strategies can be seen as the use of motivational psychology, neuroscience, and behavioural economics to make the user experience more fun and engaging. Gamification became popular in the recruitment industry because it’s a way to make hiring more fun and competitive. There have been arguments both for and against these strategies, which we’re going to dissect below.

The first reason why gamification in hiring is a great idea is that hiring can be a frustrating process. Games have been found to increase motivation, engagement, and recruitment rates in some cases but there are also downsides such as making recruiting seem like only an entertaining game rather than about finding qualified candidates for your company.

Another argument why gamification strategies can work well in recruitment is that they can help recruiters get more information than more traditional methods such as a more formal hiring process. More information can mean better decision-making for the role available.

Branching from the point above, gamification could be a powerful tool to help tackle the multi-generational workforce that exists today. Specifically, more success in recruiting younger generations. It’s known that generally speaking, younger generations job hop more frequently than the boomer generation, this lessened sense of lifetime commitment plays nicely into the fun simulated assessments that companies offer.

These pros are good to be aware of, but with most concepts, there are also some reasons why gamification in recruitment might be not the best strategy to use.

Starting with the most obvious point, the recruitment process is not a game and it can make the candidate experience less serious. After all, people are trying to make life-changing decisions that will impact their future heavily, and pinning it all down to a friendly game can be diminishing. From reading the point above, you’ll understand how this would be more true for older generations.

As well as running the risk of diminishing the recruiting experience, focusing too heavily on gamification might seem like you’re only an entertaining game rather than about finding qualified candidates to fill the available role.

Gamification also requires a lot of resources, sophisticated methods use heavily governed and responsible AI to eliminate bias. Combining this with the already complicated recruitment process can be overwhelming and seem impossible to get these concepts to harmonize. Once this is achieved, there are further challenges such as ensuring uniqueness, value, and further resources to make ongoing tweaks, improvements, and updates.

Finally, there’s the issue of tradition. Writing a cover letter and CV along with an application is a deep-rooted concept that the majority of the talent pool is used to. Gamification could make it increasingly difficult for people to mass apply especially for those who are desperately in need of work, which begs the question: does every role need a gamification strategy? That’s something you have to decide.

Although gamification isn’t looking to replace the traditional recruiting process entirely, some candidates might be put off by the added time of taking the game, which further strengthens why you need to make sure the chosen strategy provides value. Highlighting what participants stand to gain from applying such as discovering their hidden abilities and weaknesses will incentivize people to apply.

Overall, we can safely say that gamification strategies, whilst effective in recruitment, are no easy task. It’s a real challenge to integrate a modern strategy into the traditional hiring process, however once pulled off, the benefits can be very fruitful. You appear more attractive to applicants, get a better understanding of the candidates who apply (leading to better hiring decisions), and you have the opportunity to give back to the industry, providing candidates with valuable insights about themselves.

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