Longtime readers know that I've considered one of the holy grails in our field to be a way of combining the interactivity and engaging content of video game technology (VGT) with recruitment and assessment. Yes, part of this is because I enjoy the occasional Nuka-Cola and killing the occasional troll, but there is so much potential in the marriage of these two fields that we can't ignore it.
Up until now, the best efforts have gone one of two ways. The first is creating an entire first person video game for recruitment purposes--this is what the U.S. Army did. The second is using VGT but in a very basic and limited way--this is what the FAA is doing. But to my knowledge no one has created a web-based tool that showcases the basic functionality of VGT while also serving as an assessment tool. In fact many people may not even know what this might look like.
Well I ran across something the other day (hat tip) that gets us pretty darn close. It's actually an onboarding program designed by Vestas, a Danish energy company. It takes the form of a situational judgment test (SJT) that leads new employees through an orientation of what Vestas does and their approach to their business.
I think once you've watched, you'll agree with me that the potential is vast.
So why this type of technology over, say, existing SJT solutions such as those offered by companies like Ergometrics and Biddle? Those definitely still have a place, and live actors are obviously higher fidelity, but here are some advantages to think about:
1. You can do more, and show more, with VGT. Need to show someone hanging onto the bottom of a helicopter then jumping to a rooftop? Not a problem, no wires required. Need to show someone underwater? Scaling a mountaineous peak? Again, much easier (and cheaper).
2. No screen actors required. No more worrying about makeup or getting the right shot--you create what you want. Of course voice talent is still very important if you decide to use sound.
3. It's just plain more modern. For folks that grew up watching cartoons and playing video games, they will naturally gravitate more toward something that feels familiar. Text job descriptions that link to an ATS? Yawn.
4. It will make you stand out. Yes, I know the unemployment rate is high here in the U.S., but don't think that means the end of competing for the most qualified. Now's the time to plan how you're going to compete when the pendulum swings the other way again.
5. It will stand the test of time. People still watch old cartoons. Very few old shows are on. That video shot of the desktop computer in the background may look outdated sooner than you'd like.
but perhaps most importantly:
6. VGT holds the promise of a truly interactive experience, where candidates explore their future work environment, make decisions, and learn about the organization. This has the potential to be both a realistic job preview that helps candidates decide whether to apply, as well as a measurement tool that gauges how well the candidate meets job requirements. (Yes this sounds a bit like Second Life but need not be so complex)
So what do we need to do moving forward? Here are some things we need to make this work:
1. More education. What do projects like this need to succeed? How much do they cost? What are the challenges and potential roadblocks?
2. Outreach to the VGT industry including the big companies (Activision Blizzard, EA, etc.) as well as the smaller shops, industry groups, schools, etc. No doubt they have much to teach us--but we have a lot to share as well. (As an aside, Activision has a very attractive Careers page that showcases some of their work, but they dump applicants right into their ATS like most companies--failed opportunity to continue the brand experience with a game-like character sheet!)
3. What are the psychometric implications? Is this just another version of unproctored Internet testing, or is there more here? How does this relate to run-of-the-mill adaptive testing? Are there demographic differences in willingness or performance?
Now what may throw a big monkey wrench into this is cost. Video games are not cheap (WOW cost $63M to develop). But we're not talking multi-user, latest video card, and all that stuff. This could be much shorter, more cartoonish, and much simpler.
I think this is the most exciting thing happening in assessment; I hope there are enough developers out there that agree.