The Gamification of Recruiting

SANCHEZ's picture
Rank: Orangutan | 344

It could be said that recruiting for competitive jobs in business is a game. However, recruiting is a poorly designed game with blurred rules that doesn't necessarily award the best candidates all of the time.

We have all long known about the shortcomings of the current model recruiting, and a start-up founded by Guy Halfteck called is trying to address the issues through the use of video games. is partnering with companies to develop games that test specific skills desired for particular job positions.

Knack's games vary greatly depending on the skills being tested. One of the games, for example, is a sushi restaurant management game (similar to other current popular games). Other games include card games, puzzles, and word games which have curve balls thrown in them to specifically test emotional reaction in addition to cognitive abilities and intelligence.

A pilot currently underway at Yale university can determine within ten minutes the approximate range of a player's academic class standing.

There is definitely a great deal of room for improvement in the human resources and recruitment space and I definitely welcome start-ups coming in to disrupt current practices which at times seem a bit arbitrary. However, even if these games yielded very strong results in matching candidates to jobs, I believe that hiring managers would be very stubborn in changing the current hiring traditions.

What is most interesting about this approach to me is the potential for non-traditional candidates (i.e. non-targets and those socially inept) to level the playing field in a non-academic manor.

Another interesting outcome would be the possibility of getting feedback in the form of data and statistics from your interviews as explanations for why you did or didn't get a job.

I have seen the concept of gamification used before to identify talent (particularlly in the world of software) with varying success. Do you guys think this could take off in a meaningful way? What types of games do you guys think would be useful for recruiting?

As Gordon Gekko said, "It's not about the money, its about the game between people". 


Comments (5)

Jun 3, 2012

Some industries might accept it. I could easily see engineering firms adopting coding challenges as a hiring metric.

But I don't see it in finance. The job doesn't require the most "skilled" analysts. Anybody that makes it to a superday is probably cognitively capable of doing the job. The final decision is based on fit.

Pedigree also helps in selling clients on your expertise (this is why MBB are so GPA/Alma Mater obsessed, imo). Finance is also relationship driven, so kids from targets will almost invariably have a leg up.

Jun 3, 2012

i want to short this what is stock symbol

Jun 3, 2012

I think in order to gain wide adoption there needs to be a certain "test" that is accepted as authoritative. So for business, you see the Bloomberg Assessment Test (BAT) - one of WSO's sponsors -- I think you've seen lately a lot of start-ups trying to become the default "test" for certain niches. With Bloomberg firepower behind them, I think the BAT has an obvious advantage.

As far as games, I could see that being used more in careers where certain traits like raw-intellect are needed (coding / quant, etc)...

Jun 3, 2012

Another awful startup...

Jun 3, 2012