Consider gamification

Games, game-based assessments and gamified assessments can be used alongside traditional psychometric tests to differentiate an organisation, engage and motivate applicants, raise brand awareness and attract and recruit the best talent. Games are a good option for attracting applicants or for creating a viral marketing tool.

"cut-e brought the right tool in order to assess digital competences. This is something we never had in the past."

Understanding game-based assessment

Understanding game-based assessment and what it brings to your recruitment and selection. Game-based assessment is increasing in its use within the area of volume recruitment, particularly attraction.

Advances in technology and the prevalence of online game playing, means that this attractive way to assess applicants, is accepted by applicants and supports a forward-thinking corporate positioning of a hiring organization.

The challenge is to develop an engaging and easy-to-understand game with high quality graphics that has robust psychometric data supporting it so that responses give reliable, accurate and valid insights.

White paper gamification image

White paper: Gamification of assessments

This paper covers a range of issues related to gamification: What are the underlying issues about gamification; current research about user acceptance, the difference between gamification versus gamified psychometrics and what should companies be thinking about in terms of fairness, adverse impact and with what objectives gamified elements can be used in the talent strategy.

Instant messaging as a vehicle for assessment

chatAssess is cut-e’s revolutionary gamified situational judgment ‘instant messaging’ assessment. Enabling clients to create their own customized assessment, it simulates real-time instant messaging, just like WhatsApp or Facebook messenger. Candidates assume the role of an employee, interacting with fictional colleagues by sending and receiving text and picture messages. Customizable in content and look and feel, the assessment can include any type of test item such as verbal, numerical, situational judgment or spatial reasoning items. It’s guaranteed to engage your applicants!

Research into gamified assessments

At cut-e we have a research-based approach to psychometrics. We have researched about what users want, how they want it and what can be done to improve the user experience. Our expertise in mobile optimised assessment allows us to deliver assessments as users would like them. Current research into gamified assessments include projects looking at what elements of a test can be gamified

Using a cut-e test, the University of Giessen also conducted research into the impact of context e.g. business simulation vs fantasy world on social acceptance of a test. The results: context impacts face validity. This is important particularly when recruiting in areas where there are few applicants. Anything that positively impacts their perception of the selection process will prevent them from dropping out. Thus from a standpoint of candidate experience it does make sense to use contextualised i.e. gamified instruments.

Game for psychometric purposes OR gamified psychometric assessment

Gamification is an appealing concept for employers as it potentially offers a fresh approach to selecting job candidates. But Dr Achim Preuss of cut-e says a distinction needs to be drawn between using a game for psychometric purposes and a gamified psychometric assessment.

“You could gather some form of data from observing people playing any game, such as Tetris, Candy Crush or Halo,” he said. “People play games in different ways and you could make assumptions about their likely behavior in the workplace from this but it’s not reliable. You would need to firmly test your assumptions against real behavior in action before you could confidently attach any psychometric meaning to the data. In other words, analysing how someone plays a game is very different to predicting how they’ll behave in the workplace. A war game in which someone controls a drone might help you select a candidate for a job that involves controlling a drone … but it won’t help you to select someone for a customer-facing role.”

The point here is that any ‘game’ has to specifically suit the role. However, a ‘gamified assessment’ is different.

“We use a standard psychometric instrument, such as a logical reasoning test, and we apply engaging elements of a game to this,” said Dr Preuss. “This helps to improve the candidate experience. But the test is still a robust psychometric instrument. We’re just making it more acceptable to candidates.”

Another important point is that games are only ‘fun’ when the stakes are low. “When a job is at stake, a game is no longer fun to play,” said Dr Preuss. “Parties are fun but if you threw a party for a group of candidates and told them their behavior would be assessed, the fun would soon disappear. The same applies to games.”

'Danger' of recruiting someone based on game performance

In this second post on gamification, Dr Achim Preuss of cut-e warns of the ‘danger’ of recruiting someone based on their performance in a game.

“If someone is able to repeat a game, which usually relies on ability, they can get better at playing it,” he said. “An obsessive candidate may play a game to the detriment of other things and may eventually achieve a high score. But they may not be the best person to employ. This is the big disadvantage of using the same games, where there is an ability or skill involved, for selection. Candidates who face the same skill in a game will get better at it. Their ‘measurement’ will be skewed but recruiters won’t know how much was driven by that person’s ability and how much was ‘experience’.”

Dr Preuss stresses that ability-based games should only involve skills that are relevant for the job. “These types of games should be used to determine whether or not someone will be successful in the role. But the game must also be a reliable psychometric instrument. The challenge is to identify the attributes required in the role and then measure whether a candidate has these, in as short a time as possible. But some types of ability games can take a long time to get into.”

Also, some people simply don’t like playing games – and if they see one in your application process, they may drop out if they feel it requires a skill or knowledge of them. “The problem for recruiters is you won’t know why they’ve dropped out,” said Dr Preuss. “So you may unwittingly sift out good candidates for the wrong reasons which is why a true psychometric game requires very careful design.”

Diversity is another issue. “In our experience, boys prefer technical games and girls prefer word games,” said Dr Preuss. “You have to design something that will appeal to both genders. You also have to make allowances for learning/physical challenges like colour blindness or dyslexia. Most ability games rely on candidates having very good motor control but this isn’t relevant for the majority of job roles, so great care is needed here. They may drop out if they feel it requires a skill or knowledge of them or they might simply not like that specific game.

Gamification: cost, content and context

In this third post on gamification in recruitment, Dr Achim Preuss of cut-e examines aspects of cost, content and context.

“The interest in gamification is huge, particularly from employers who want to differentiate themselves to attract new talent,” he said. “The problem with investing in a bespoke game is that the life-cycle can be very short. However good the game is, it will become outdated very quickly. Large employers may be able to invest regularly in developing new games but others may struggle with this. Our advice is not to think about games as such but instead to think about ‘gamifying’ a proven psychometric instrument. That’s much more affordable.”

The data that’s available from games presents a new challenge. “A few years ago, assessing candidates was like measuring how fast someone runs 100m,” said Dr Preuss. “Now, so much more information can be gleaned about how someone plays a game, such as where they clicked and where they put their emphasis. It’s like assessing a footballer: it’s not just how fast they can run 100m, it’s about how many successful passes they complete and whether they make productive runs. Now, there is so much more you can assess in a game and that gives you more data to contend with. This is appealing but it’s also very complex.”

Context is another issue to consider. “The science behind gamification is in its infancy but we do know that the context of a game is very important,” said Dr Preuss. “The instructions have to be easy to understand and candidates should see the game as relevant to the job they’re applying for. Ultimately, every organization wants to employ the best candidates for the job. Gamified assessments are an option worth considering. Just be careful to choose the right solution to meet your needs.”

Who plays games?

Today, the typical gamer is a 26-year-old woman playing games on her smartphone. 5 years ago this was a 33-year-old man on a console; 10 years ago, a 17-year-old boy on a console.

We have all been playing games since the invention of the 'rock, paper, scissors' game by the Chinese around 2,000 years ago. It is a universal game, played by all cultures and it seems we all like the simplicity of the rules and the engaging, fun format.

There's psychology underlying how even this game is played. Your first choice of gesture in 'rock, paper, scissors indicates your personality. Research has shown that if you choose your first gesture in the game to be 'rock, this indicates confidence and strength, choosing to start (open palm, a little like a handshake) suggests a more emotionally stable, friendly personality whereas the 'scissors' option is linked more to a strategic, manipulative personality.

Gamification
Press release Gamification

Press release

To help with the stresses of Christmas, international assessment specialist cut-e created a fun, Christmas-themed logical reasoning game that identifies your ability to cope with the festive season - and you can use it to train yourself to experience a calmer and more organized Christmas. 

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