Talent Acquisition

Does Gamification Work in Recruiting? You Bet!

Gamification: the art (and sometimes science) of attracting users and keeping them.

Gamification works by encouraging users to engage in game-like behaviours, in non-game contexts. Having heard a lot about it this year I predict gamification’s role in the industry will act as a game changer (pun intended), so if you’re not already thinking about how you can apply it to your recruitment strategy, then perhaps it’s time to start!

Now that the concept of social recruiting has established itself and is no longer considered a passing phase, it’s now constantly offering us new and innovative ways to crowdsource. The use of social networks is evidently a successful route and the new ways in which recruiters are interacting with candidates is allowing for more enjoyable brand experiences. Brands that are choosing to use gamification are obtaining higher levels of retention and building bigger online communities. It’s serving the common purpose of engagement and generating better user experiences.

Information technology research firm Gartner has already predicted that over 70% of Forbes Global 2000 organisations will have at least one gamified application by 2014, with a belief that 25% of day-to-day business processes will be using aspects of gamification. Brian Burke, research vice president at Gartner, explains:

Gamification aims to inspire deeper, more engaged relationships and to change behavior, but it needs to be implemented thoughtfully. Most attempts at gamification currently miss the mark, but successful and sustainable gamification can convert customers into fans, turn work into fun, or make learning a joy. The potential is enormous.

What role is gamification starting to play in recruitment?

So what role is gamification starting to play in recruitment – an industry that is using social media now more than ever? One of the key advantages of using gamification in recruitment relies on the fact that not only will candidates be coming back regularly to interact with your brand, but they will be acting as
advocates for your brand. A good gamification strategy has users encouraging friends and family to engage too, so they are essentially acting as recruiters themselves.  Surely this is the recruiter’s dream!

Gamification provides users with a sense of belonging and encourages, what Matthew Jeffery of Autodesk described as, “stickiness to sites” – he also points out the potential for monetisation that comes with using gamification in your business strategy.

Marriott, Nike & LinkedIn

Marriott created an excellent recruitment campaign to attract potential employees – using an online game entitled My Marriott Hotel. It was created with the intent to encourage young people to take an interest in hospitality as a career path. The virtual game is much like Farmville or The Sims, requiring candidates to demonstrate their skills in a fun, online environment. It was a social media success that drove traffic to their Facebook career page (which currently has 113,000 likes).

However, the benefits of gamification are not solely about attracting candidates or consumers, it’s also being used to engage clients too.

Take for example Global Corporate Challenge – a business that attracts some of the world’s biggest corporations as their clients every year, purely on the merit of what is essentially gamification which gets the world moving. They are the world’s leading and largest corporate health initiative and users devotedly engage in the game-like experience. They have highly refined expertise in behavioural change and that is key to their success.

Although gamification is a relatively new concept for the recruitment industry, it has been implemented to great success in the advertising world for a few years now. Gamification is being integrated into advertising campaigns, globally; encouraging brand engagement and facilitating great results.

Another example is Nike and their Nike+ campaign. A campaign which gamified running, with a seamless integration of their brand into the consumers’ everyday lives. They created a Nike+ tag running app, which links running directly with social gaming. Essentially anyone using the app is in a game of virtual ‘tag’ and must keep running to avoid being ‘it’. So if you run the shortest distance among the group you are playing with, you are ‘it’. It’s a smart use of gamification because it took something that people find hard to get motivated for and offered a direct incentive. Whether this is social like in this case or through a reward based system.

Foursquare, Klout, Kred, and PeerIndex are all good examples of successful reward and high score systems. They appeal to an individual’s sense of achievement and create an appeal to return. Although LinkedIn’s Endorsements features have been received with mixed reviews, it’s a prime example of clever gamification suited to their audience. The number of endorsements people have on their profile almost work as a badge system, and will be used to highlight thought-leaders and also show up in searches.

Place your bets

Gamification doesn’t have to be expensive and, like with most things, simplicity is the key! I would use it to increase brand awareness, build a community, integrate it in as part of a mobile strategy, with the end result leading to more applications.

Have you tried gamification in your company? Let us know your success stories in the comments below!

By Amanda Ashworth

Amanda Ashworth is an agency recruiter with a passion for social recruiting, who now focuses on marketing. She blogs about the changes within the recruitment industry and social media. Follow Amanda on Twitter @RecSocially.