Is There Any Way to Prepare for Gamification?

I’ve heard a lot recently about gamification being used as part of the interview process. While neither I nor any of my close associates have ever experienced it, it apparently is becoming a more prevalent tool today — not only for initial interviews but also for onboarding and even for evaluating current employees. Reading about it made me wonder if there is any way to really prepare for gamification.

First, a bit about the process.

According to an article in HR Technologist, gamification is a technique that “uses game theory, mechanics and gaming design to engage digitally with and motivate people for a goal or target achievement…In today’s highly competitive marketplace, most companies believe gamification can prove to be a major differentiator,” the story notes.

The process can take many forms — interactive quizzes and games, behavioral tests, coding challenges, simulated scenarios — all designed to help “check on an applicant’s creativity, innovation, aptitude, and problem-solving capacities,” the story adds.

Lisa Barrow, CEO of Kada Recruiting and former director of client adoption at Monster, has used a form of gamification when interviewing candidates.

“I was hiring two people for my team and we had four people coming in to interview. All had made it through phone interviews and were coming in to do a team exercise and individual interviews with key members of the team,” Barrow recalls. “For the team exercise, they were put into two teams of two and given an hour to do a real-world scenario and present it back to each other and the interviewers.”

Barrows stresses that what candidates who are thrown into this kind of situation should remember is — to use an old adage — it doesn’t matter if you win or lose, it’s how you play the game.

“As interviewers, we sat in for the full hour to observe the process, not just the results,” she says. “I also have a number of clients that have done ‘day in the life’ type exercises either before or during the in-person interview. While these are all varying levels of gamification, it is definitely becoming more prevalent.”

The fact that these games can take many forms can make it tough to prepare.

But Barrows says there are a few ways to make sure you tackle a gamification challenge successfully.

For a game you’re asked to complete at home:

Don’t take too long to complete it. “If it takes you two weeks to come up with amazing output, the job may be someone else’s by that point,” she says. “Also, don’t promise a date that it will be back and go past your own deadline. If they have a deadline, try and get it in early. If you have another job or obligations that will prevent you from hitting their deadline, be transparent and see if they’ll work with you. This gives you insight into how flexible/reasonable they might be as an employer as well. Watch out for grammar and have someone else take a look at anything you submit beforehand.”

For in-person exercises:

“Sometimes you won’t know what’s coming, but definitely check out Glassdoor or Indeed and read reviews about other people’s interviews, which might give you insight into what the process might look like,” Barrows advises. “If you’re working directly with a recruiter, ask them what to expect when you’re going in so that you can prepare. If you’re working with others who are also interviewing for the same role be nice, work together and don’t try and sabotage their work so you can get the job. This will be apparent to the interviewers and it’ll just give you bad karma.”

(Article written by Kathleen Furore)