In 2016, Unilever embarked on a transformative journey to revolutionize its traditional hiring process, yielding remarkable outcomes. Following a year-long implementation of a completely new methodology, Unilever, North America, published its study results –

  • Achieving greater socioeconomic representation, Unilever experienced a notable diversification in its workforce.
  • The number of applications doubled, while the universities represented skyrocketed from 840 to an impressive 2600.
  • The average time for candidate selection was shortened from four months to an efficient four weeks, accompanied by a 75% reduction in recruiters’ application review time.
  • The rate of offers to candidates who made it to the final round increased from 63% to 80% and the acceptance rate of these offers increased to 82%.

What Was the Transformative Hiring Methodology Behind Unilever’s Remarkable Results?

This is what the game-changer in Unilever’s hiring process was –

The company decided to use games based on neuroscience to understand its job applicants better!

Instead of using the traditional methods of hiring based on resumes and interviews, Unilever started using Artificial Intelligence to screen their entry-level applications. Once an applicant submits their LinkedIn profile, they are required to play 20 minutes of games that are based on psychometric tests.

Unilever, being one of the oldest and largest FMCG companies, processes around 1.8 million applications every year. This change in methodology meant a huge change in mindsets and core processes.

So, why did Unilever decide to give the traditional hiring playbook a makeover? Is incorporating ‘game-based assessments’ really a ‘necessity’ today in the world of recruitment? Let’s dive deeper.

Unveiling the Power Play: 5 Reasons Why Games Outshine Traditional Hiring Methods

1. Resume vs. Games

A Harvard Business Review article titled Spotting the Great but Imperfect Resume succinctly sums up the problem of spotting talent based on resumes:

Recruiters and senior executives are pouring tremendous energy into finding the right resumes – but we’re losing the ability to find the right people.

Traditional Hiring - Resume vs Games
Drafting a resume. Source: Shutterstock.

The problem of assessing skills for technical or leadership roles becomes more challenging with millennials. Unlike previous generations, millennials and Gen-Z prioritize experiences over building a perfect resume. This means that someone who dropped out of college but has excellent coding skills or an entrepreneur who sold their business and wants to re-enter the corporate world may not have the perfect resume, but they might possess the right skills for the job. But how can we evaluate these acquired skills that cannot be demonstrated through a resume?

This is where game-based assessments step in.

These assessments gamify ‘on-the-job abilities’, making them a much better predictor of talent than a resume might ever be!

In recruitment, it’s not just about what’s written on paper; it’s about showcasing skills in action, and game-based assessments provide a captivating and insightful glimpse into a candidate’s true capabilities.

2. Interviews vs. Games

Navigating an interview is a bit like being on stage without a script – you know your lines (mostly), but the spotlight can turn even the most composed individuals into a symphony of nervous laughter and awkward gestures. We’ve all had those moments of trying to be the best version of ourselves while secretly wishing we could teleport to the comfort of our own couch.

We’ve all shared those funny and weird interview moments – from strange questions about imaginary scenarios to the classic “sell me this pen” challenge. But while some conversations flow smoothly, others veer into the realm of the unexpected, leaving us bewildered and questioning the very fabric of professionalism.

When Traditional Hiring Interviews Lost Their Grip

Take Olivia Bland, a 22-year old, whose interview with a UK tech firm took a turn for the…personal. The CEO, a self-proclaimed music aficionado, decided to analyze Olivia’s Spotify playlist mid-conversation. While this might seem like an attempt at quirky rapport, it highlights the importance of maintaining boundaries during interviews. Both interviewer and candidate deserve a space focused on skills and qualifications, not impromptu music reviews.

Across the globe, similar stories emerge. From culturally insensitive interviews to gaslighting tactics, some interviews resemble unfortunate social experiments rather than professional assessments. Earlier this year, r/india sparked a wave of countless peculiar tales when users were invited to recount their worst and most challenging interview experiences.

Traditional Hiring - Job interview vs Games
Giving a job interview. Source: Shutterstock

The interview process grapples with inherent challenges such as biases, inconsistencies, and interview fatigue, proving to be persistent hurdles that can be mitigated but never entirely eradicated. Despite efforts to refine the process, these elements remain integral aspects demanding continuous attention and improvement.

Games, on the other hand, stand as a unique solution. A meticulously crafted, validated, and standardized game has the potential to eradicate human biases linked to gender, race, socioeconomic class, and more. This not only fosters greater workplace diversity but also ensures a more comprehensive and diverse skillset among candidates.

By providing an equal playing field, games introduce a meritocratic dimension to hiring, emphasizing skills and capabilities over subjective biases.

3. Questionnaires vs. Games

When inundated with a surplus of job applications, companies often resort to the traditional approach of ‘written tests’ as a primary screening method. These assessments typically manifest as –

  • Numerical reasoning tests for specific job roles,
  • Verbal reasoning MCQs, or
  • Diagram-based logical reasoning tests for operations.
Traditional Hiring - Questionnaires vs Games
Traditional Hiring Questionnaire. Source: Shutterstock

This might be a great way of testing ‘aptitude’ but is it a good way of testing a person’s real-life problem-solving ability or social skills? Can critical thinking or leadership skills be assessed based on a ‘bucketed answer list’?

The limitations of such assessments underscore the need for more dynamic and contextually rich methods in gauging the multifaceted dimensions of a candidate’s capabilities.

Games excel in crafting scenarios that go beyond mere aptitude. Drawing on neuroscience and real experiments, they dive deep into our brainwaves, measuring skills like logic, critical thinking, and even how we see things in space. These games adapt in real-time to performance, just like real life. This dynamic approach reveals a wider range of abilities, painting a complete picture of potential. It’s a holistic assessment that’s like playing your way to success!

4. ‘True Self’ vs. ‘Ideal Self’

Traditional methods demand that we put our ‘ideal self’ forward – glossing over that career gap, proclaiming to be a team player while one wants autonomy – all to get a job. But once we are on the job, can we really maintain that ‘ideal self’ day by day? Probably not – this can lead to dissatisfaction, performance issues and even attrition.

Games, on the other hand, demand that we put our ‘true self’ forward. Am I OK with taking risks to gain more points or do I strategically lose a point now to gain two points later? How I play the game gives an insight into how I tend to approach challenges.

Games aren’t just fun, they’re deeply insightful. Why? Because they tap into how we think. Forget the stiff formats of traditional hiring. Games reveal a candidate’s true self, the one hidden beneath resumes and interviews. It’s genuine, it’s dynamic, it’s the real picture.

It’s no surprise that an age-old wisdom, echoing Plato’s insights from 2500 years ago, finds resonance in the modern corporate landscape:

You Can Discover More About a Person in an Hour of Play than in a Year of Conversation!

How PerspectAI is Transforming Traditional Hiring with Gameplay

PerspectAI stands as a robust game-based assessment tool, driving data-informed talent decisions. Engaging in serious games deliberately crafted to challenge candidates, the platform delves deep into measuring their authentic potential.

Here’s how PerspectAI is transforming hiring –

  • Holistic Evaluation: Moving beyond one-dimensional metrics, game-based assessments offer a holistic evaluation of candidates, tapping into cognitive abilities, behavioural traits and work motives within a dynamic and immersive setting.
  • Authentic Representation: Candidates are prompted to showcase their true abilities and prowess, providing employers with an authentic representation of an individual’s potential, free from the constraints of a rehearsed interview script.
  • Engagement and Adaptability: These assessments engage candidates dynamically, adapting in real-time based on their responses. This not only ensures a more engaging experience for candidates but also enables a personalized and nuanced evaluation of their capabilities.

PerspectAI empowers organizations to pinpoint the “right candidate,” fostering a more insightful hiring process.

More than fun, our games unlock hidden potential. Rooted in proven science, they reveal intrinsic capabilities often missed by traditional hiring assessments

To delve deeper into our process and explore how it aligns with your organization’s goals, reach out to us by clicking here!

Games at Work is a 6-article series written by Dr. Meghna Varma, Principal Research Consultant, at PerspectAI. The series takes a deep dive at how games can transform our workplaces, if deployed for hiring, understanding human potential, training, assessments and problem-solving.

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