The Gaming Imperative for Pre-Employment Screening Assessments – Part 2

The Gaming Imperative for Pre-Employment Screening Assessments – Part 2

This is the second of a two-part series. Tom started the series by looking at how improving the candidate experience impacts the chances of hiring top performers, while here he takes a look at what game-enabled assessments looks like today. At the end of this article is a link to Tom’s free webinar on this topic.

Part II | What Game-enabled Assessments looks like today

1] The first level of gamification replaces text with visual images sampled from performance on-the-job

Assessments that feature scores of sentences or dozens of paragraphs of text cause zoning out, presenting too great a contrast with the short, interactive, visual world of PC, tablet and smart-phone gaming experiences that occupy large chunks of time among most target talent populations.

Work Memory Test

The Work Memory assessment series offered by, where I am Chief Scientist, illustrates this category.

Research published in the journal Intelligence (Vervive and McDaniel, 2006) found that assessments of short term memory captured 80-85% of the predictive power of general mental ability tests — the best single predictor across all research published by scientists who aren’t selling anything.

Yet they cause half the level of discrimination against protected minorities. That’s what we PhD IO psychologists call a “two-fer”.

Work Memory tests use visual content drawn from the job itself to make the assessment relevant, while it does its powerful work measuring memory speed and accuracy.

The Work Memory test page shown here comes up after respondents applying to a retail designer brand store associate role.

First, they are shown a page with the catalogue items and the prices, with the instruction to: “Study the page just as long as you need to commit it to memory.

Then click ‘Next’ to answer questions on the items and prices shown here.”

The Work Memory test items are drawn from the company’s online catalogue, so they are job related.

We make sure the test images and recall questions get at short-term memory by having current workers calibrate the items—comparing how long successful and struggling workers study the images and how many they get right.

Referring back to the Roofing Warehouse company, we are preparing Work Memory pilot tests for Driver and Inside Sales, after already developing one for Warehouse Specialists.

2] The next level of gamification adds interactivity to visualization

The next level of gamification interacts with respondents, engaging them in actions with consequences as they move through the assessment.

Logi-Serve, a premier assessment of service and sales excellence, exemplifies interactive visual assessment focused around judgment scenarios.

Respondents use slider bars, not multiple choice buttons, to indicate their likelihood of choosing four behavioral options for each of 9 scenarios.

Then, depending on the option they chose, they are asked to rate the likelihood that the behavior they chose produced three different outcomes for the other party depicted in the scene.

This taps into both knowing which behavior works best in a given situation and also how that choice will impact others.

A large, recent, head-to-head field study that pitted Logi-Serve against a text-heavy, long, tricky questionnaire for call center staff found a 98% (vs. 50%) completion rate for Logi-Serve, with the key side benefit that over 80% of candidates responding that they “would recommend trying this assessment to their friends and colleagues at school”.

The Roofing Warehouse company referenced in Part 1 has contracted with Logi-Serve to create engaging, branded scenario assessments for their Inside Sales and Warehouse Specialists.

LS Call Center Solution

3] A 3rd level of gamification inserts valid assessment items into existing full motion, 3-dimensional video games

Gamification is using games and game dynamics to playfully induce behavior.

Here, the participant first selects the gender and dress of the avatar, and then enters the “Road Ahead” video game played by over 25 million people.

They run, they jump, they stoop to get under obstacles, they pick up coins and they move to the side to avoid the moving train.

But this time Persona-Labs has inserted psychometric test items as the game goes into slow motion mode as they answer the item within a preset time window.

Research is currently underway on the positive side benefits of keeping the respondent pre-occupied with collecting points and increasing their game play level.

We hypothesize there will be less time to embellish their responses to fit the job, while respondents are concentrating on the game.

Assessment scores more resistant to faking should be the result.

Stay tuned for more findings on this topic.

RAhead 2

Respondents do complete assessments situated in popular games with a similar high percentage (above 95%), as reported above for level 2.

Again, the roofing materials warehouse company mentioned previously has commissioned and Persona-Labs to insert items into a Roofer Game, created initially to train Home Depot staff on GAF roofing materials.

4] In the fourth and ultimate level, the game becomes the assessment.

At this ultimate level, the game becomes the assessment, with the choices and evaluations that participants make recorded and compared with those of successful performers, as well as all other candidates in the game’s database.

Working together with Persona-Labs, delivers tailored behavioral scenario assessments in high-resolution, three dimensional virtual environments, using an inventory of avatars and work scenarios.

OR we can build one specifically to suit any unique set of prototypical challenging work situations in virtually any work setting using digital images.

And once the initial screening phase collects predictive choices and ratings from prospective candidates or finalists, the follow-on phase collects deeper data to shape new hire orientation, probationary reviews, and performance development discussions.

Behavioral Simulation

Other professional assessment providers, such as HUMRRO (The Human Resources Research Organization) and also develop online, interactive assessments with game-like qualities, so this trend is gaining traction.

The US Army’s recruiting game, where players could blow things up to earn points, was one of the first in this category.

Achieving a high quality, interactive, full motion visual assessment experience makes candidates forget about the time, enjoy their assessment session, and complete it.

As a bonus, over 75% of the time, they recommend it to a friend or colleague.

While the benefits to candidates and employers alike should be obvious, the financial ROI is not. But that is the subject of my next blog.

Stay tuned!

Free Webinar:

The Gaming Imperative for Pre-Employment Screening

Join Dr. Tom Janz in his free webinar,
recorded on (Wed 4-Feb-2015)
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and to view his webinar!

Credits available towards IHR HRCI certification.
Credits for his webinar as well as the recording of his webinar will be available for a year following the broadcast.


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By 2015, more than 50% of organizations that manage innovation processes will gamify those processes, according to Gartner, Inc.

By 2014, a gamified service for consumer goods marketing and customer retention will become as important as Facebook, eBay or Amazon, and more than 70% of Global 2000 organizations will have at least one gamified application.

“Gamification describes the broad trend of employing game mechanics to non-game environments such as innovation, marketing, training, employee performance, health and social change,” said Brian Burke, an analyst at Gartner.

“Enterprise architects, CIOs and IT planners must be aware of, and lead, the business trend of gamification, educate their business counterparts and collaborate in the evaluation of opportunities within the organization.”

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