Gamification in recruitment: pros and cons

Gamification in recruitment - pros and cons

Many employers are using games as part of the recruitment process, some as early as application stage – this is gamification. Here’s our quick guide to help you prepare for such tasks

What is gamification in recruitment?

The games employers use vary widely: quizzes and puzzles; business problem-solving within a virtual environment with other candidates (essentially a group exercise); simulation of the work environment or processes; and even a virtual escape room (‘locked’ in a virtual room with other candidates and interviewers to plan an escape!) This is usually at early recruitment stage and removes any unconscious bias in initial screening.

These types of games are designed to test you for particular skills and attributes that are relevant to the roles employers are recruiting for. These could be creative problem-solving, swift decision-making, are you a risk taker, do you take considered strategic steps to gain the prize, and many others. However, you probably won’t ever be working day-to-day in the middle of a game, so they don’t reflect the real work environment, and there can be advantages and disadvantages for some applicants…

Some pros and cons of gamification

Applicants who have played lots of computer games before are inevitably more comfortable reacting to the unexpected, using virtual tools and making swift decisions in a virtual environment than those who are completely new to this. If you aren’t a gamer, get practicing if you can, to gain familiarity with operating in a virtual way – many employers have a test version you can try (see below for some practice games).

Communicating with other candidates in a group exercise through an avatar can be a lot easier and less daunting than in a face-to-face group environment. If you are a happy gamer, don’t relax into it so much that you forget it’s a recruitment exercise! You’re still in a professional environment – employers may not appreciate you pushing over the other candidates to get to the answer first.

For candidates with a visual or hearing impairment, make sure that any screen reading, transcribing or voice recognition technology that you use is compatible with the game well in advance. It needs to be able to keep up with the speed of communication within the game.

Sometimes gamification tests can be very colourful, involve lots of patterns, swift movement and messages popping up on screen rapidly. If you have an information processing difficulty this may make the game harder for you than for other candidates. Certain games have flashing imagery, which would make them impossible for some candidates…

Reasonable adjustments?

Although an employer may tell you that the recruitment process involves gamification, they may not have given you enough detail to decide whether or not you’ll be disadvantaged by it. As soon as you can, contact the employer to discuss it in more detail. It could be that the game involved isn’t any difficulty at all.  However, if a game is going to put you at a disadvantage it would be a reasonable adjustment to ask to be evaluated on the skills it tests in an alternative way.  If you would have extra time for other types of recruitment, it is a reasonable assumption that you will need extra time for these tests as well, for the same reasons.

Ensure you’re connected and can concentrate

As with any element of online recruitment, make sure you have a strong internet connection, and a quiet place to focus and complete these games uninterrupted.

Further information and places to practice gamification:

If you have any queries or concerns, don’t hesitate to contact us via

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