Assessment games: 3 pitfalls to avoid
Assessment games and recruitment games have been used for several years for recruiting talent and for making a preselection of candidates.
However, developing and using assessment games is more complex than it would seem at first sight. In our view, these are the 3 greatest things to avoid:
1. Lack of psychometric quality in assessment games
Assessment games are just cool, aren’t they? Why do you need psychometric quality? The first pitfall for an assessment is lack of reliability. Games are specifically developed to encourage explorative behaviour. And that is only possible if you develop a game world that gives you plenty of different options. Not a linear storyline, but a storyline that depends on the choices you make in the game. The richer these options, the more challenging the game often is.
Reliability in psychometrics means that if I measure something again, the same result will be produced. Reliability is increased by standardization, but games are designed specifically to allow players a rich and varied gaming experience. From the game design perspective, it is extremely difficult to combine standardization with a wide range of options. From the opposite point of view, it is the same; psychometric tests are standardized and that means they are often boring to complete.
Why is reliability and validity so important?
The objective of selection is to predict performance. That is only possible with tools that are reliable (allowing the same result to be measured repeatedly) and valid (it measures what it is supposed to measure). Otherwise you will make two sorts of mistakes:
Mistake 1) You will reject candidates who are actually suitable. In a tight labour market, this is a waste; you are failing your own organization.
What’s more, you damage the job market reputation of your organization as an employer. If this poor image spreads on social media, this can rapidly start to work against you. Mistake 2) You will take on candidates who are actually unsuitable. This is always complicated and costs a lot of money to solve the problem. To avoid these mistakes, you need to use reliable and valid selection tools.
2. Lack of commitment from hiring managers
It’s not that difficult to make hiring managers enthusiastic about assessment gaming, but how do you keep them that way? This is essential as hiring managers are the ones conducting the interviews. If an assessment game has failed to filter the applicants well, hiring managers are the ones who will notice that the differences in the quality of candidates is too great.
From experience, we know that this perceived waste of time causes the quality of interviews to go down: hiring managers stop preparing for the interviews, stop using the STAR technique and start to conduct interviews in their own style. The classic unstructured interview rears its ugly head again, causing the reliability of the selection process to sink even further.
3. Navel-gazing: oh, look how sexy our assessment game is!
Recruitment and assessment games have been in use for several years now. According to students and new graduates we have spoken to, many recruitment and assessment games are not very inspiring. HR often isn’t aware that a millennial’s frame of reference for such games is the games they play for entertainment that have literally cost 1,000 times more than the average assessment game. That means they expect far more. And it is not going to be easy to reach that level with a budget of around 50 – 150K . However, … nothing is impossible.