Using games as a recruitment tool – Games beyond fun


Our latest research report, DA16  showed that 24% of people have used a game in the work place for various reasons.  We recently spoke with Salih Mujcic, one of the people we interviewed for DA16 who provided us with a great example of how games are being used in the work force, specifically the recruitment process.  Salih is a Product Manager at Revelian and he takes us through a bit more detail about the use of games in their business and the success they have found in using games based technologies.


Tell us about your company
Revelian is an innovation-driven Australian company at the forefront of providing unique psychometric tests, surveys, games and communications analytics. We deliver insights to inform people decisions that help organisations recruit the right people, develop employees, as well as enhance and align team culture and performance. Leading companies including some of the nation’s biggest employers use Revelian to support their hiring and people management decisions with objective insights.

Why did you choose a game to help you in the recruitment process?

First Reason: Games are powerful contexts within which assessments can be conducted

Games naturally provide environments or situations where individuals must work through a set of challenges, trouble shoot, or problem solve to obtain a solution.

Most importantly games create an environment where people can determine their own direction, express their own autonomy and go about solving challenges in many different ways. This allows us to capture and measure these different expressions of self and infer how they may apply these approaches in other contexts.

Games and big data go hand in hand. The biggest difference between a regular assessment and a game-based assessment is that we are capturing stream-based data. Just as an idea, a single play through our game assessment can generate over 10,000 data points per player. We process thousands of events that often occur milliseconds apart or at times simultaneously.

To help make sense of all of the data, we’ve had to build a custom analytics engine. Just like Richard Bartle was able to classify gamers distinct play style in MMOs (Massive Multiplayer Online games), we’re also seeing clear differences in which actions players are taking in game. More interestingly, we’re also able to measure traits such as mental agility, cognitive speed, attention, spatial aptitude and numerical processing ability. There’s likely much more, but we’re still making our way through the data and exposing different feature sets.

Second Reason: Candidates prefer game based assessments to traditional psychometric testing.

An overwhelming number of candidates, 7 out of 10 to be exact, prefer game-based assessments over traditional online psychometric tests. They’re perceived as more fun, less stressful, interactive and immersive. The typical type of ocmments we see in online forums tend to look like this:

“Wow. First time I’ve done the Theme Park Hero exercise. Easily the most fun I’ve had yet on an exercise 🙂 Less stress-inducing then other ones I have done.”

Candidates also form positive perceptions of the organisation when the game-based assessment was implemented. They often relate these perceptions to a culture of innovation and pushing the envelope. From research in the assessment space we know that this is hugely important in shaping candidate perceptions and motivations to continue the relationship with that organisation.

Who developed the game, Theme Park Hero?

This project was worked on by game developers and designers, software engineers, psychometricians, instructional designers, and test engineers. The friction between the vision of the different disciplines and the strict psychometric requirements, as well as ethical considerations (e.g. impact of in game feedback on player psychology), was at times palpable. Channelling these differences into a positive energy was the real trick.

Typically we would target specific psychological characteristics and areas. Design certains games which we think will elicit these qualities and then analyse the data.

Our development approach and choice of games was guided by the Cattell, Carrol and Horn model of intelligence that provides a taxonomy of measurement for intelligence. We were equally as inspired by traditional psychometric assessments and short sharp mini games that tap into these qualities in a fun and engaging way. Finding the balance between the highly procedural and scientific approach used by psychometricians and creative flurry and chaos of game designers was very difficult, but ultimately the most rewarding experience and contributed to the end product.

A big challenge was that games often retain information for the moment (e.g. multipliers, bonuses, levels, scores) whereas we needed to measure every micro decision, every hesitation, inactivity, point of focus and retain that data for analysis. Our engineers had to develop custom analytics engines and data streaming funnels to help shepherd and make sense of this data. The psychologists and psychometricans would then develop behavoural models or data models that we could then use to make meaningful inferences about the players.

Describe your experience of using a game in the recruitment process with regards to both your company and potential candidates.

Employers are very welcoming of innovation and products where they can see genuine value. Game based assessments are legitimately revolutionizing how we assess applicants. Not only do they provide a great experience but also provide a lot of insightful data. In a consumer driven world this is critical. Theme Park Hero is one of the first steps in what we expect to be the norm in terms of how we pinpoint quality talent. We surveyed over 700 applicants that completed the assessments as part of their recruitment process and found that:

· Close to 70% of candidates feel that game based tests are better than traditional assessments
· Over 3/4 of candidates feel that it’s an appropriate way for employers to test candidates for their abilities
· Close to 7 out of 10 candidates wished other employers would use game based assessments as well
· Qualitative feedback suggests that candidates most valued the experience as it was fun, engaging and not as stressful as traditional testing. Candidates also found it challenging and full of variety. Candidates were suitably impressed by the technology that was used to test in this new way. It’s a very different experience to traditional tests due to the design, multimedia and interactive nature of game based testing. Candidates feel like they have more control over their testing experience and feel completely immersed in the activities they are completing.

Are you able to share the results of using games in the recruitment process?
At this point, well over 10,000 candidates have experienced Theme Park Hero in just a few months.

Some of Australia’s biggest brands as well as multinational corporations are adopting our assessment to find their talent. Currently, Theme Park Hero is mainly being used in graduate recruitment processes where organisations are competing for talent from a shared pool.

As mentioned above the candidate feedback has been phenomenal and people who see our game based tests for the first time are positive and amazed about this new methodology.

Are you aware of any other companies that use games similarly?
We’re on a few companies in the world that has harnessed games for these purposes. Some of the others include ConnectCubed, Knack, Talentology and Arctic Shores.

Revelian has a decade long pedigree in people analytics and identifying talent through psychometrics so for us our main focus is providing employers with meaningful information that helps them find best fit candidates. Other companies mentioned above are more focused on the consumer and reverse marketing that data to employers.

What are your plans for the future with regard to serious games?

Our main plans are expanding our games library. In the next 12 months we have a plan to release a number of games that not only measure characteristics like mental ability, problem solving, memory and other cognitive faculties, but softer skills and personality traits that are also important.

We also plan to redefine the perception of game based assessments as at times are perceived as a not serious alternative to traditional assessments. We believe that assessments using game based technology are the new standard in engaging and immersive assessment.
You can also watch Salih discuss Revelian’s use of Serious Games here




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