Gamification of Social Recruiting

Gamification of recruiting

Let’s face it. Social recruiting is a game, where a collection of “players” (companies and staffing agencies) compete for the same “prize” – top talent. The winners get the best “prize”, but it can take tremendous time and effort to come out on top.

It is widely known that good talent is employed while the best remain hidden from traditional recruitment strategies such as social media and online communities. So how do you lure them away from your competitors?

If today’s social recruiting campaigns are about developing communities, the future is about creating value in such communities. So instead of establishing a one-way communication with your fans through job postings and the occasional recruiting post, engage with these followers and establish a dialogue with them.

This novel and promising approach consists in “gamifying” the talent acquisition process. Not to be confused with video games, this method consists in incorporating game thinking to business activities. The true value of this route stems from the fact that it can make a mundane task like completing a job application fun, creative, competitive and interesting. Basically, it would disguise the application and assessment process as a fun activity rather than an annoying task, making it much more likely to convert the top talent from just noticing your job opening into engaged candidates who are interested in working with you, and committed to making a difference.

A gamified hiring process will not only make your more attractive in the eyes of job seekers, but it would also contribute to amplifying your brand. Both HR and marketing are in the people finding and relationship building business. Followers who like and share your content, and also interact with you within your online communities are the same valuable asset both of these departments are desperately seeking to find and engage. In a recent study, the marketing department of a global fashion retailer was reluctant to letting HR engage with its fans on social media as it was concerned that recruitment specific spots would dilute its brand. To their surprise, this experiment yielded unprecedented results. Within four hours, 14,000 people had “liked” and contributed to that HR post; and in fact, it was the highest level of engagement ever reached.

A gamified recruitment process can come in two different flavors – ranging from complex and stand-alone gaming technology to simple “gaming elements” directly embedded into the job application process. Subsequent sections will discuss the first approach while the latter will be discussed in a later post.

A full-blown gaming engine is effective as not only does it provide a fun and hands-on experience as to what the job really entails, it also gives a feel for the culture of the workplace. However, this route requires deep IT skills and a sizeable budget to implement the needed technology.  One of the earlier adopters of this new way of recruiting was Marriott International. High turnover of underqualified employees created a serious business problem for the hotel chain. It needed to attract young candidates in areas of the world where the hospitality industry was not well known or seen as a viable career path. And in 2011, the hotel chain launched its own Facebook game called My Marriott Hotel which was specifically designed as a recruitment tool giving younger people a taste of what a career at a Marriott Hotel might be like. The game instructed players to start a restaurant, go through activities such as decorating a hotel restaurant dining room, ordering food inventory for the kitchen, maintaining a restaurant budget, and trying out various positions in hotel operations. According to Francesca Martinez, Marriott VP of Human Resources, the game successfully increased traffic to the company’s career site by 30%.

If you feel that this is the path you would like to embark on, follow these guiding points to get you started:

  1. For each job, identify the skills necessary that candidates need to possess in order to deliver superior performance.
  2. Group the jobs that have similar and complementary skills and devise a fun and creative scenario to assess those skills.
  3. Determine the platform you will use to get the game in front of your ideal hires.
  4. Assess your company culture and consider adding elements that indicate what it will be like to work for your company.

Ideally, you should create a game that is universally enjoyable — while not every player will be a qualified candidate, one of your objectives should be about increasing your brand awareness.

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