What Are Game-Based Assessments?

September 6th, 2018

Clemens Aichholzer, SVP of Game-Based Assessments


Game-based assessments are gathering significant momentum as next generation psychometric measures.

What Are Game-Based Assessments?

Despite widespread use of psychometric assessments , a majority of organizations say they’re underwhelmed by existing solutions. Many of the available tools just seem a bit outdated and stale. Game-based assessments offer a powerful, candidate-friendly alternative to traditional assessment testing.

Game-based assessments are pre-hire assessments built as games to assess candidates’ skills in a quick and engaging experience.

Advantages of game-based assessments include:

  • Mobile interaction: candidates get invited by their prospective employer to complete a tailored set of fast-paced and secure games on their phone.
  • Engaging experience : The video game format creates a less intimidating experience for candidates.
  • Constructive candidate feedback: at the end of a typical game-based assessment, candidates get automated, constructive performance feedback - further contributing to a candidate-centric hiring process.

Test-takers typically complete a game-based assessment via an app or internet browser. With digitally native Millennials and Gen Z together forecast to represent around 60% of the global workforce by 2020, recruiters ignore mobile technology at their own peril.

Game-based assessments are flexible and can be administered on a standalone basis (through an enterprise portal) or via an ATS / HRIS (through API integration). In both cases the experience is fast to complete and easy to use for candidate and highly scalable for talent acquisition teams.

Why Do Companies Use Game-Based Assessments?

Accurately and reliably predicting a job candidate’s potential is critical for an effective recruitment and selection process. In fact, the cognitive capacity of an organization’s workforce is a core contributor to its competitiveness and innovation potential.

Consistently delivering high performance and productivity in modern, knowledge-based jobs is about finding effective solutions to novel problems, dealing with changing, complex and/or ambiguous situations, and thinking clearly under pressure. In fact, intelligent candidates can often compensate for lack of relevant work experience; this is particularly true in today’s fast-evolving, tech-enabled environments .

Game-based assessments are perfectly suited for measuring these critical cognitive skills.

Gamers typically expend a high degree of cognitive resources whilst playing video and smartphone games, research has revealed. Thus, it is not surprising that games can be adapted to accurately and reliably measure cognitive abilities, as well as job-relevant personality traits. Also, their accuracy is similar (and increasingly higher!) when compared to longer and more repetitive text-based psychometrics.

Game-based assessments can accurately evaluate:

  • Fluid intelligence. Fluid intelligence is the ability to solve new problems and adapt to unfamiliar situations. In short, fluid intelligence predicts job performance better than any other ability, personality trait, or skill.
  • Working memory. Learning processes are underpinned by a specific component of fluid intelligence, which is working memory, or the ability to assimilate and manipulate new information. Learning and professional development potential is dependent upon the integration of new information and so-called crystallized (previously acquired) knowledge. Quickly forming these connections results in an increased ability to apply newly acquired methods or processes to different contexts or situations.
  • Problem-solving. Successful businesses require problem-solvers — people who are able to independently identify and systematically apply the most appropriate solutions to new and complex problems. Sticking with established ways of doing things is no longer sufficient in today’s increasingly competitive and dynamic landscape. Companies need to constantly adapt and produce innovation to stay in the game.
  • Creativity. Intelligence and creativity are intricately linked — intelligent individuals are able to come up with multiple distinct, yet effective solutions to an unfamiliar problem. By hiring employees who are able to apply creativity and divergent thinking to organizational challenges, companies can gain and retain an important competitive advantage as these employees relish and thrive in uncertain and unpredictable environments.

Essentially, game-based assessments provide all the benefits of traditional cognitive testing (validity, identifying top talent), with none of the downsides (stale for candidates, not optimized for mobile). It is a faster, fairer, and more engaging way to prioritize candidates than traditional long-form assessments.

What are the Common Game-Based Assessments?

The most common game-based assessments are used to assess cognitive ability, emotional intelligence, and personality. There are multiple types of game-based assessments that may evaluate the same trait or competencies, and the assessment may adapt in real-time based on performance to dynamically learn about the candidate.

A common example of a game to assess your work style and personality would show two photos and you select which is more like you. Is your desk busy or minimal? Do you prefer being surrounded by people or in your own space? By answering these types of questions, you can inform the assessment of your personality and work style.

Simulating real-life work examples is also common in game-based assessments. For a customer service role, there may be a game simulating a customer complaint, and presenting differing responses to achieve a resolution.

How to Prepare for Game-Based Assessments?

There is no way to cheat or trick a game-based assessment, but you can prepare.

  1. Familiarize yourself with the technology. While you won’t have the opportunity to try out the game beforehand, taking your time to read the directions and get familiar with the game interface beforehand will help ensure you are focused on demonstrating the core competency you are being evaluated on, not understanding the game.
  2. Control your surroundings. Just like any other type of job assessment, it’s important you find a place you are able to focus, free from distractions. Ensure you have a strong internet connection and set aside at least 20 minutes so you don’t feel rushed.
  3. Answer honestly and keep going. You may be tempted to analyze what the game is assessing, but don’t overthink it. High tolerance for risk may be desirable for one job but not another. And if you keep failing a game, keep going. You may be given easier questions next or be positively assessed for your willingness to keep trying.

Are game-based assessments right for your hiring process? Read more about what sets game-based assessments apart.