Gamification: more than just a 'game'

Right now, Gamification is hot.
It is the newest innovation organisations are exploring to attract and engage candidates and in particular, graduates. As Gamification is new, there is still much debate over its role in the selection process, i.e. is it just a tool for attraction? and the validity of its assessment properties, i.e. how does this apply to the assessment of candidates? How do we demystify gamification and use it, or game elements,  in candidate attraction and selection?
So, what is gamification? According to Gartner (2011), gamification is the use of game elements and game design techniques in non game contexts.  Game elements break down into things like:

Engaging – games leverage people’s natural desire for competition, achievement, status and recognition. Gamification makes technology more engaging and encourages people interact with an employer or consumer brand.

Reward and recognition – interactive games play on people’s competitive instincts by using rewards such as points, discounts, status indictors, and leader boards to drive action. These badges are evidence of accomplishments.

Feedback– games with immediate feedback or response to a person’s actions encourage users to continue to adjust their activities and congratulate them on reaching a milestone, through onscreen notifications, text messages and emails.

Community – games provide a context for achievement, and leader boards, online forums and social media encourage the sharing or people’s achievements thereby creating energy in the community by making people aware of what others are doing.

In short, these game elements make people feel good and they encourage a positive experience with the game, and the brand this game represents.
This sounds very exciting and innovative and using these game elements to engage and attract candidates is likely to increase the positive exposure of your employer brand. Gamification in recruitment is reasonably new and to date there has been a strong focus on the ‘game’ itself as an attraction and engagement tool. But at present there are still questions around the validity of these games in candidate selection, i.e. how do we know they are measuring the behaviours they are designed to measure?   What if we take out the game and use proven and valid assessment techniques that embrace key game elements? It’s gamification, without the game.
Realistic job previews (RJP) are bespoke pre application tools that present common scenarios and tasks highly specific to an organisation and provide potential candidates with information on both positive and negative aspects of the role. For example, we use an RJP with easyJet who receive in excess of 4000 applications a month for their flight crew and ground staff. Here is an example:
RJPs are engaging, they are branded and specific to the organisation . They give immediate feedback on a candidate’s responses and their potential fit for a role within the organisation. Candidates who have a better understanding of the role and continue with their application are more likely to be a good fit with the organisation.  Such as below:
Or, how about Situational judgement questionnaires  (SJQs)? SJQs present common scenarios highly specific to an organisation to assess a candidate’s preferred course of action or judgement in an organisational specific situation. They are built against a validated model of ideal performance, or how top performers within the organisation respond to different situations.
For example, we introduced a bespoke SJQ into the graduate recruitment process for Grant Thornton Australia, and this proved to be an engaging, valid and reliable assessment tool that increased the quality of candidates from which Grant Thornton selected their successful graduates. That is we found those candidates who did well on the SJQ also did well at the assessment centre and at the interview, indicating we were identifying the right candidates throughout the process, thereby saving time and money in the selection of the best fit graduates for Grant Thornton.
So what does this all mean? RJPs and SJQs are bespoke and valid assessments (built against a model of ideal behaviour within your organisation) that embrace game elements such as engaging, feedback and reward. They have the interactive on-line elements that grads will engage with, they are innovative, organisation branded, and they are valid tools for selection.  They are gamification, without the game
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Don’t forget to register for Prue’s half day workshop #ATC2015 on turning assessment into attraction and engagement. Prue will be joined by Inari Saarinen, the Org Development & Talent Business Partner at Sunglass Hut to teach delegates how they worked together to use assessment to engage candidates with the Sunglass Hut brand regardless of the outcome of their application, and find the most culturally aligned candidates. You can find out more here and register here

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