Do you prefer playing a game or filling in a boring psychometric test? For millennials the answer is pretty clear. A game-based assessment (GBA) is making the recruitment process more predictive, more data driven, but also more friendly and fun. Several big multinationals such as Siemens, Vodafone or KPMG have already adopted it.

The assessment is not really a game rather it is a series of tasks and challenges, presented in an engaging format, where the decisions, effort, and choices you make are used to create a profile of your natural strengths and preferences. In fact, during the average 25-35-minute assessment session, thousands of data points will be captured and used to generate the profile.

Robert Newry, the founder of GBA startup Arctic Shores, explains the story behind the company: “It was set up 4 years ago. We got a grant from the UK government to innovate in the world of assessments. In order to get that grant, we had to demonstrate two things: 1) were we genuinely doing something different in the selection process and 2) what kind of social impact will we have?

What do you want to fix in the selection process?

The problem in the recruitment process is that it’s become too automated, too focused on efficiency. It’s all about how quickly do we shift through the applications, it’s not about the candidate experience or making the recruitment process more data driven and more predictive.

That’s why we thought that psychometrics and gaming technology could come together to solve that problem. And it’s really unique because we have merged the science of psychometrics with the engagement and analytics of game technology.

When you say gaming, people might think about playing Mortal Kombat…

There’s a terrible misconception about gaming technology — when you tell companies that we’re thinking of introducing gamification to recruitment, they immediately think we’re introducing some shooter game into my recruitment process, and they switch off. But this isn’t what it’s about.

So how do you go about it?

We don’t make games, we make psychometric assessments by using game technology to deliver and collect the information about the user — which is totally unique.

Gaming technology allows us to give users a series of tasks which are psychometrically sound, and then use analytics to interpret the data on the micro behaviors on how they go about solving tasks. We’re bringing an interface that is behavioral-based, and we can pick up 5,000 data points, which is critical — because we can see how people go about tackling problems in data rich way.

How do you do the matching with what the company needs?

First, we create a ‘fit score’ with an organization (aka a matching score). We use business psychologists to understand the role and collect data on that company, and then we build an algorithm to match the candidate and their 5,000 data points to what “good” looks like for a particular organization. In terms of implementation it takes 6-8 weeks and involves stakeholder interviews, focus groups and analysing the GBA results of people in the role. Our algorithms are transparent and tested for any bias.

Secondly, we give a report/feedback back to the candidate. We are helping the candidate through their career journey with the psychometric feedback we provide. We explain their strengths, weaknesses, and the type of jobs that they would be most suited for based on their natural preferences.

Who is your typical customer?

High volume recruiters, who have have innovation or change as their core structure. We have clients in engineering, banking, the legal sector, telecommunications, consumer goods, retail. We have over 60 clients now in more than 25 different countries, and the momentum is growing quickly.

Does language play a role?

We’ve translated it into 10 different languages. One of the benefits of game technology is that we are measuring behaviors and so we just need to translate the instructions. We don’t have the challenge of translating cultural differences and word based questions.

Do you think it will go mainstream?

I think within 12 months, we will see it common use. It’s still hard to persuade HR to do something new, but in 2018, there’s been a change in HR’s willingness to innovate. We recently had an event and we were extremely impressed and surprised about the enthusiasm and interest form the 40 companies that attended – the theme was how gamification can help with recruitment digitization and innovation in the workplace of the 21st century.

What would you recommend as the best justification for HR to get the budget for it?

There are three main points. First, we have to view candidates as if they are consumers. The recruitment process has to reflect that, an experience that is more candidate friendly – Virgin Media found a poor candidate experience was costing them £4m a year in cancelled contracts, which was more than their recruitment budget!

Second, the data for matching candidates to roles means we are better able to select and identify people who would be good for your organization. This predictive approach is generating a huge improvement – in one case a reduction in over 50% in terms of the number of candidates a client had to see in order to make a job offer. This generates substantial cost-savings too.

Last but not the least, we are helping improve diversity, which is very important for European multi-national companies now. A more diverse workforce provides better results and every company should give all sectors of society a fair opportunity.