Gamification and its Place in Recruiting

In 2011, Gartner® released a report predicting that by 2015, 50% of organizations would seek to gamify marketing processes. This same report also predicted that by 2014, 70% of Global 2000 companies would have at least one gamified application (Gartner, 2011).

Today, almost all companies leverage some sort of gamification technology on their website whether visitors notice or not. Gamification includes trivia contests, scavenger hunts, profile ratings and reward systems for participation used to engage a target audience for a specific purpose. A major pioneer for gamification was eBay®, with their highly interactive rating and comment system which has allowed both buyers to rate sellers and sellers to rate buyers. Some eBay users aren’t even aware they have a public profile on the site attached directly to their own rating, even if they’ve never sold anything. All users on eBay’s site can be rated anytime they make a transaction regardless of being a buyer or seller. The concept of public transactions, ratings, comments and expertise are essential aspects of social shopping today, which are also aspects of gamification.

The notion of gamification is not just about games (as the word may seem to denote) but is also about engaging users as a whole. There are four primary purposes today for company- related gamification:

  1. Increase customer loyalty
  2. Improve employee productivity
  3. Employee training
  4. Engage future candidates

Increasing customer loyalty is an obvious reason to use gamification for marketing, as nearly everyone likes to play games and be rewarded for them, but many companies are leveraging gamification for both internal knowledge sharing and succession planning as well. Using an internal “community” network on a company intranet is a great strategy for rewarding current employees for their knowledge and interaction. Whether it is rewarding employees with a Starbucks® gift card for achieving their “Walk it off” personal goals for the year or getting that “community” “gold badge” for being a top contributor for industry knowledge internally, both are considered gamification.

Though gamification may seem like a new concept for engaging future candidates, some companies have been doing this for many years. Both Facebook® and Google® have been leveraging online programming “puzzles” to find engineering problem solvers for nearly as long as each has been in business. Today, both Facebook and Amazon® are using Interviewstreet, an online programming challenge dashboard, to identify top programming talent. Gamification for recruiting, however, doesn’t have to be used just for identifying code ninjas.

Think of gamification as a way to get people interested in a job, company and a recruiter. Below is a suggested list of ways to integrate gamification into the recruiting process:

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  1.  Industry related communities – if looking for Six Sigma® experts, think about building an interactive community around that topic and create a badge rating system for each user based on engagement. Reward badge levels for posting comments, answering questions, updating profiles and adding in their social networks, as of course digging into a user’s Twitter® contacts could be yet another avenue for passive candidate sourcing.
  2.  Industry related quizzes – Loop in hiring managers to help build out industry related challenges that will evaluate both creative thinking and problem solving skills as part of the screening process.
  3.  Company knowledge trivia – see what potential candidates already know about the company brand and its brand.
  4.  Preliminary behavioral evaluation – help identify people who have certain character traits that are a good fit for the company culture.

There are many tools today for creating this type of gamification interaction and companies today are already using these tools marketing; however, the same tools can just as easily be used for recruiting. A great strategy for driving gamification interaction is leveraging leader board technology. Below is a list of gamification tools that integrate leader boards:

Below are some aspects of leader board technology to consider adding to gamification:

  • Location
  • Social standing against Facebook Friends, Twitter Followers etc.
  • Level of Interaction
  • Accuracy
  • Time to complete

What has your company done to gamify the recruiting process?

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Ryan Phillips is a technical writer & sourcing researcher at AIRS. She lives in Helena, Montana. Joining AIRS in 2010, she transitioned to the role from the internal recruiting team at The RightThing. Phillips began her recruiting career working for a technical recruitment staffing firm in the Silicon Valley, where she recruited for IT, Engineering, Marketing, and Accounting. She later moved into the RPO field, where she did mainly niche engineering recruitment for Microsoft. She works on curriculum development for all AIRS courses, including the industry-leading AIRS Certification classes. She also continues to consult with RPO clients on their social media branding strategies, as well as support the internal RightThing sourcing team to develop client specific sourcing strategies.

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