Posted July 31, 2012 by

Get Your Game On! – Three Questions about Your Candidate Experience.

Joe Murphy

Joe Murphy of Shaker Consulting Group

Game designer and TED presenter Jane McGonigal had an article in the January 22, 2011 WSJ “Be a Gamer, Save the World.” She states we (the royal We) spend three billion hours a week gaming.  The average 18 year old spends 80 minutes a day gaming and extreme gamers spend up to 45 hours per week connected to a digitally delivered challenge. The quick lesson here is that engaging experiences hold our attention.  The first question is: What kind of engagement does your candidate experience deliver? 

Charles Handler, in his Candidate Bill of Rights suggests a candidate assessment should last no more than 30 minutes.  Is that to free up time for gaming?  Or is that because the assessments he is thinking about are a form of torture.  Maybe he is seeking to limit the pain of a putting a candidate through poorly designed on-line assessments. He wants to limit (but not ban)– Applitorture.  Or, the degree to which the applicant is subjected to mental or physical anguish from the act of applying for a job.

McGonigal goes on to suggest gaming can create a “blissfully productive” feeling.  And that “When we play, we also have a sense of urgent optimism. We believe we are up to any challenge…gamers spend on average 80% of their time failing in game worlds, but instead of giving up, they stick with the difficult challenge…”

Again, a quick lesson here is that an engaging challenge, even if it is difficult and demanding, will hold attention, and maybe even attract attention.  McGonigal supports this with asserting “..we like and trust someone better after we play a game with them – even if they beat us.“  The second short question is: What demanding challenge does your candidate experience deliver? 

When done correctly the candidate evaluation experience can be demanding, challenging, and highly engaging.  The candidate experience can be Applitainment.  Or, the degree to which the applicant obtains amusement or pleasure from the act of applying for a job.

McGonigal has used games to solve world problems with EVOKE.  And by her estimation believes if we spent about 21 billion hours per week gaming we can solve issues such as starvation, global warming and the like.  The task of creating a game challenge for recruiting is far less demanding, but can be equally productive at solving a quality of hire problem.

By bringing a dose of gaming mindset it is possible to create an assessment that combines the intellectual stimulus of solving a variety of tough day-in-the-life problems, the social context of competition for the job, and a rich graphical experience that presents your corporate culture and work environment.   And to quote McGonigal again,…”so many gamers feel they become the best version of themselves in games.”

Now, the third question, In what way does your candidate experience bring out the best of an applicant?

A universal question we get asked is “How long is a Virtual Job Tryout?”  Followed by “We are worried about keeping it short.”  Do you think game designers ever ask how to keep their user experience short?  I think game designers ask, What challenges can we create?, What problems do we want them to solve?, What thinking do we want to push?,  What environment do we want them to feel and sense?

We ask similar questions – What do you want to know about the way your candidate thinks, solves problems, and works with others?  What do you want your candidates to know about your job, your unique company?  A universal response is, “We want to know if they can be successful in the job and fit our culture.”  Success is complex, so a simple candidate evaluation experience just will not do.  To confidently assess job-fit and culture-fit requires robust candidate evaluation, the type of evaluation a simulation for pre-employment testing can deliver.

On average, Virtual Job Tryouts we have deployed take less than an hour to complete.  One of the longer Virtual Job Tryouts we have deployed takes 75 minutes to complete.  About 20,000 candidates a year complete it, vying for 2500 open positions as a medical technician.  That translates into collecting more than 25,000 hours, or twelve and half (12.5) person-years of candidate engagement time to provide decision support for the hiring demands of one position.  This company has rich evidence of which candidates can best solve their patient service challenges.

When asked about their candidate experience, here is what the applicants have to say:

-98% Agree or Strongly Agree – The Virtual Job Tryout helped me gain a better understanding of the position.
-95% Agree or Strongly Agree – Having experienced the Virtual Job Tryout, I am in a better position to determine if the job is right for me.
-99% Agree or Strongly Agree – Based upon my experience, I will gladly tell my friends about employment opportunities at this company.And after 75 minutes of applitainment, a survey asks for feedback and reactions to the engaging and demanding nature of the candidate experience.  Here are some verbatim responses:

-It was an awesome experience, it felt like I was actually working for COMPANY. Thank you for this experience I now have a better understanding of what is expected of me.
-What a wonderful way to begin an interview process! I thought your virtual tryout was well thought out and based on the various areas you are testing, gives you a good picture of not only the ability to draw blood with appropriate equipment, but gives you a look into the candidates thinking process. All employers should do this to screen their candidates.
-The Virtual Job Tryout was wonderful, I enjoyed the experience.  It was very interactive and not nearly as dull as a paper test might have been.  It kept my attention.
-I was impressed with the Virtual Job Tryout. I felt like it helped me understand the job and made me very excited to have a possible opportunity to work for COMPANY!
-Was a very good way to find out how qualified an applicant may be.Simulations for pre-employment testing may not be on the same interactive plane as games, but they are a significant stride in the right direction.  If you are not satisfied with your answers to the three questions about your candidate experience, there are options.  Give us a call.

This article provided by permission from Joseph P. Murphy of Shaker Consulting Group. Deliver an exceptional candidate experience with Shaker Consulting Group’s Virtual Job Tryout®.  Obtain a work sample that predicts on-the-job performance. Identify best-fit candidates at the click of mouse. Click here for a 3 minute overview.

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