Recruiting, Gamification, and Your Resume


On Wednesday, Yuki Noguchi’s story “Recruiting Better Talent With Brain Games And Big Data” aired on NPR’s Morning Edition. Aside from reviewing resumes and conducting a series of interviews, some companies are now trying out behavioral science-based games to evaluate the cognitive and emotional traits of potential candidates. In short, how people play a game gives employers further insight into how they think, learn, and strategize. Combined with big data, hiring managers can make smarter decisions, boost retention, and lower turnover.

Is using non-traditional methods like games to recruit talent a new idea? As cleverly pointed out in Tim Hawk’s recent LinkedIn post, “The Award Goes To…Recruitment (and The Imitation Game),” Alan Turing used a single crossword puzzle – printed in a newspaper for anyone to try – to recruit team members to help crack the Nazi’s Enigma code in World War II. The small group of individuals who were able to solve the puzzle was brought in for one more challenge – complete another cryptic puzzle in a certain amount of time.

“After 15+ years in the recruitment industry, this is the first time I can remember seeing the historical significance of what the recruitment process had contributed toward ending World War II,” wrote Hawk,’s Business Development Director. “While in the theater surrounded by other patrons, I was proud this film so prominently featured the recruitment industry and a candidate assessment process like gamification to help find Turing’s team.”

I am very interested in and excited by the idea of gamification in the hiring world. Job seekers have a chance to prove themselves in an objective – and fun – way, while also potentially learning something new about themselves. I see these games as a compliment, not a replacement, to the resume. This is a way for candidates to demonstrate the skills listed in their resume in real time, and unless the job is something so specific as breaking a communications code and the talent required something so focused as mathematical genius, a game won’t quite be enough. So don’t throw out your resume just yet; instead, be ready to play a game next time you apply for a job.

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