Gamification in Recruitment: When and How To Do It Right

Gamification in recruitment

If you’re struggling with talent acquisition, it might be time to say goodbye to a traditional hiring process and incorporate gamification instead. Gamification in recruitment is nothing new, but it’s been picking up steam in recent years as employers look to do away with bias and foster more diverse workforces. There are many benefits of gamification in recruitment and selection, although the objectivity it brings stands out above all else.

Gamification is incredibly effective at evaluating candidates. What’s more, it keeps future employees engaged from the off and creates an enviable company culture. Still not sold on the idea of gamification. Our guide breaks down what you need to do to leverage gamification tools to your advantage.

What is gamification?

Gamification is a pretty simple concept. It essentially means bringing game design elements to non-gaming scenarios. In other words, all the things that make up a game are transplanted into another context. Commonly encountered gamification design elements include team structures, points, leaderboards, reward badges, and more.

Whether it’s a problem-solving exercise set for staff or you’re using gamified assets to assess candidates, gamification is generally intended to motivate individuals and keep them engaged. This also makes it a powerful learning tool. Gamification is used across industries, although it’s its recruitment applications that make it such an attractive prospect for hiring managers.

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Can gamification be applied to recruitment?

What is gamification in recruitment? Game designs and mechanics can prove incredibly useful when dealing with potential hires. During the interview and selection stage, gamification can be used to take roleplays to the next level. Interactive game elements make it possible to create realistic scenarios that would-be employees would encounter on a daily basis.

What’s more, gamification can help engage job seekers looking for remote opportunities. Without that face-to-face first meeting, it can be hard to make the right call when selecting remote employees. However, gamification is one thing you can standardise across the board, ensuring remote candidates enjoy the same interaction as their branch-based counterparts.

Gamification is particularly effective at weighing up the problem-solving ability of potential employees. Depending on the scope of your activities, you’ll also be able to identify core competencies like creativity, logic, and leadership.

The traditional hiring process is now pretty stale, with the same generic questions asked and the usual rehearsed answers volleyed back. While a candidate might say the right words, it’s their actions that speak volumes. With gamification, you can test their mettle and see how they would cope in a real-world scenario.

Gamification benefits in recruitment

Benefits of gamification in recruitment

Do you still need convincing that gamification can help overhaul your hiring strategy? Below are just a few of the benefits that gamification in recruitment can bring.

Removes bias from the equation

Unconscious bias is more prevalent than most people would like to believe. This can spell trouble for the recruitment process, with decision-makers relying on misplaced assumptions to make the call. With gamification, bias is largely removed from the recruitment life cycle. Here, everything is objective and driven by data.

Speed up your time to hire

A massive advantage of gamification is that it can streamline the recruitment process considerably, particularly when it comes to candidate evaluation. Once created, games are ready to go at any time, with some only taking a couple of minutes to complete. You also get the results back instantly, meaning you don’t have to wait for managers or senior employees to grade assessments.

All this means you can make immediate decisions on how to progress. If a candidate passes with flying colours, they’re fast-tracked to the next round. If their scores fell woefully short, you can remove them from the shortlist.

Better candidate experience

If you want to seriously enhance candidate experience, look at incorporating gamification throughout the hiring process. Use gamification as part of an initial application, forcing job seekers to think outside the box to reach the next stage. Beyond sourcing, you can use gamification to keep candidates engaged as their number is whittled down as evaluation and interview rounds get underway.

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Quickly identify essential skills

Some people thrive in an interview scenario. Others fall apart at the seams, regardless of whether they have the experience and knowledge to thrive in the role they’re applying for. A traditional interview format isn’t the best setting to discover what skills a candidate actually possesses. With gamification, you can engage would-be employees, while testing them with problem-solving conundrums that give you a realistic idea of the skills they possess and what they can do with them.

Are there any downsides?

Although gamification can revolutionise recruiting, it’s not for everyone. For starters, it takes time to integrate gamification into your processes. What’s more, even though feedback is instantaneous, someone still has to take ownership of things.

There’s also the issue that gamification simply doesn’t work for some companies. It can be useful for recruiting sales and customer-facing roles, but weighing up the proficiency of highly skilled individuals can be more challenging. Employers also need to ensure they’re using games that gel with their brand identity.

Gamification also falls short when it comes to accessibility. Web-based games are not built with the hearing and visually impaired in mind. Furthermore, there’s always the issue of technical mishaps. A downed broadband connection can cut you off from assets that are essential for recruitment, while a game riddled with bugs and glitches is going to bring more hassle than good.

Gamification in recruitment benefits

How to Effectively Apply Gamification in Recruitment

1. Start with a Clear Objective

Before diving into gamification, it’s crucial to have a clear goal. What specific aspects of the recruitment process do you want to improve? Is it to assess technical skills, enhance cultural fit evaluation, or provide a more engaging candidate experience? Define your objectives clearly to ensure your gamified strategy aligns well with your recruitment goals.

2. Choose the Right Gamification Tools

Select tools that resonate with your company’s ethos and the specific skills required for the role. From simple quizzes and puzzles to sophisticated simulation games, choose a tool that effectively evaluates the candidate’s capabilities. It’s important to select a tool that’s not only engaging but also relevant and challenging for the role you’re hiring for.

3. Ensure Fair and Inclusive Design

Design your gamification elements to be inclusive and accessible. Avoid any potential bias and ensure the games are fair to all candidates, regardless of their background. Remember to account for different learning and problem-solving styles to create a level playing field.

4. Incorporate Realistic Job Previews

Use gamification to give candidates a realistic preview of what the job entails. This not only helps them understand the role better but also allows you to see how they might perform in real job situations. For example, simulation games can mimic real-life challenges and decision-making scenarios relevant to the role.

5. Gather Data for Continuous Improvement

Use the data collected from gamification to refine your recruitment processes. Analyze how candidates perform in different scenarios to identify trends and areas for improvement. This data can also be valuable for future job structuring and role-specific training programs.

6. Provide Feedback to Candidates

Offer constructive feedback based on their performance in the gamified assessments. This not only enhances the candidate experience but also positions your company as one that values growth and development.

7. Promote Your Gamified Recruitment

Finally, market your innovative approach to attract top talent. Showcase your gamification strategies on your career page and social media platforms. This not only positions your company as a forward-thinking employer but also draws in candidates who are eager to engage in such dynamic recruitment processes.

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Gamification in recruitment examples

Keen to see how other businesses have integrated gamification into their recruitment drives? Below are just some of the big brands that leveraged gamified assets to their advantage.

Marriott International

Marriott International takes the concept of a trial shift and redefines it with My Marriott Hotel, a simulation game which tasks players with managing a virtual hotel. Players can design interiors, hire and fire staff, make orders, and more. Just about every aspect of the hotel business is covered in this game, with points awarded for every customer who’s left satisfied.


The United Kingdom’s intelligence, security, and cyber agency got in on the gamification action early. Launched in late 2011, GCHQ set aspiring analysts a brain-busting challenge that was intended to appeal to anyone with an interest in hacking and code-breaking. Once the code was successfully cracked, players were redirected to the GCHQ careers page where they could explore current opportunities with the agency.

French Postal Service

For many years, the French Postal Service suffered from a major staff retention issue. Around a quarter of all new hires had left their roles, suggesting the issue was ultimately bad hiring decisions. However, a nifty initiative was introduced to solve the problem. Jeu Facteur Academy was a virtual experience that gave prospective posties the chance to acclimatise to the requirements of their new role.


The search engine giant hosts many coding competitions every year, but most candidates are eyeing up one of three events. Kick Start, Hashcode, and Code Jam are loaded with fiendishly difficult coding challenges, with the first one to make it through all rounds crowned champion and the recipient of a cool $15,000. If that wasn’t reward enough, many former winners have gone on to join the ranks of Google’s codemasters.

Use gamification to make the right hiring choices

You might pride yourself on having a knack for picking out the perfect person for the job but the truth is, nobody’s gut instinct is right all of the time. More often than not, misjudgements and unconscious bias seep in, clouding your opinions and forcing you toward the wrong decision. With gamification, you’re stripping everything down to hard data, with the candidates boasting the best scores the ones you want to focus on.

If you’re eager to experiment with gamification, you’ll first need to get the rest of your hiring strategy in order. The first thing on the agenda should be a great applicant tracking system (ATS). With Teamdash, you have an ATS with all the features you need to streamline recruitment, monitor progress, and ensure everyone stays in the loop. Tired of spending an age on manual tasks? With Teamdash, you can automate admin, while asynchronous interviews mean you don’t have to haul senior staff and managers away from their work.

Ready to learn more about how Teamdash can help you? Why not book a demo today?

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Marie Evart

Co-founder & Community Manager

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