Why Video Games May Soon Replace Resumes

The new wave of hiring tools is a lot more fun than combing through a stack of resumes.
November 14, 2013

The typical job hiring process has become so routine, it starts to have the same ring as rinse, lather, repeat. Get resumes, weed them down, meet a candidate, make an offer. But a number of companies are experimenting with new ways to determine if a candidate is the right fit for their company before they're on staff.

These new hiring tools include targeted video games, online questionnaires and other data-driven assessments, according to Bloomberg Businessweek, and can help companies avoid the major costs associated with hiring the wrong person.

“When new people apply, you can say, ‘Wow, this guy has all the makings of our top salesmen,’ " Michael Tanenbaum, the CEO of ConnectCubed, a startup that provides candidate insights through games, told Businessweek. “These are things that are impossible to measure from a resume, especially with educational backgrounds that are often more determined by socioeconomic status than your innate ability.”

Gamification—or bringing certain elements of games into traditionally non-gamelike experiences—has moved from being a great way to engage and capture new customers, to a new HR tool. One estimate reports that "more than 70 percent of global 2,000 organizations will have at least one 'gamified' application," according to Forbes.

There's a groundswell of companies combining behavioral science with games. Knack.it's Wasabi Waiter, an online game where users have to gauge and serve the varying demands of hungry customers at a sushi restaurant, also collects behavioral data points based on the players' performance—everything from their management skills to how insightful they are. Some companies base prospective employees' performances against those of their star employees to wager whether or not they'd be able to hit the ground running once hired. And a call center that used an online questionnaire software offered by a company called Evolv found that employees found through the service missed "29 percent fewer hours of work in their first six months and handled calls 15 percent faster than those hired before the company began using the software," Businessweek reported.

Data aside, thinking creatively about recruiting and hiring can draw in a much more engaged staff. FirstMerit Bank uses a "secret shopper" style recruitment blitz to find potential tellers, according to HRMorning.com, a site devoted to HR news. Recruiters go to retail stores on the hunt for people who provide the best customer service experience from start to finish: from purchasing an item, to returning it. 

"Though the recruits might not have experience in banking, they’re pursued because of their customer service skills, which can be applied to various industries," HRMorning.com reports.

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Photo: iStockphoto