Thursday, September 18, 2008

Using video games to recruit and select candidates

A new study by the Pew Internet and American Life Project found that:

"virtually all American teens play computer, console, or cell phone games and...the gaming experience is rich and varied, with a significant amount of social interaction and potential for civic engagement."


"Game playing is universal, with almost all teens playing games and at least half playing games on a given day"

This raises a question:

Is there a benefit, or even a mandate, to make recruitment and assessment more like a video game?

We've already seen a massive amount of interest in using virtual worlds like Second Life for recruiting (which has met with mixed success). And the U.S. Army is always on the cutting edge with things like America's Army (which has enjoyed quite a bit of success).

When it comes to assessment, we've seen some valiant efforts, such as the virtual job tryout. And video-based testing has been around for a long time.

But with everything that's out there, would you describe your candidate experience as "rich and varied" with a "significant amount of social interaction"?

Laying aside for the moment the fact that many organizations lack even realistic job preview videos, what competitive advantage is to be gained by the employer that figures out how to make its recruitment and selection process interactive? What if instead of the process being a one-way street (candidates search for information about employers, employers try to figure candidates out), it was a two-way simultaneous sharing of information?

Doom came out 15 years ago. The Sims, 8 years ago. Isn't it time we developed realistic 3-dimensional worlds that allow candidates to make real-time branching decisions and learn about a potential employer, while we measure things like attention to detail and judgment?

Is it just me or are we missing an enormous opportunity to attract a new generation of workers and gather valuable competency information at the same time?

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