The graduate job hunter's guide to game-based assessment

14 Jun 2023, 16:03

Game-based assessment, also called ‘gamified assessment’, involves playing interactive game-like exercises that assess your cognitive abilities and behavioural traits.

A Pac-Man game.

Games-based assessment is designed to be a more interactive and fun way of assessing a candidate’s potential than standard psychometric testing. In this guide, find out what to expect from a gamified assessment, how to prepare for one and how to succeed when taking an employer’s test.

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What are game-based assessments?

Game-based assessments are somewhat of a cross between computer games and psychometric tests. They typically have the look and feel of a ‘brain training’ game and require you to complete challenges under timed conditions. The interactive nature allows graduate recruiters to gather data on both candidates’ behavioural tendencies and cognitive abilities.

Challenges typically include numerical, shape, pattern, memory or word exercises. However, this will depend on what cognitive ability and/or behavioural trait the employer is assessing.

Game-based assessments are largely used in the early stages of the application process, usually instead of, but sometimes alongside traditional psychometric testing. Although an assessment incorporates game elements into tests, don't expect to Pac-Man yourself straight into a graduate job. You'll likely still be asked to complete other exercises later in the recruitment process, such as interviews and assessment centres.

Gamified assessment can also be used before you even decide whether to apply to an employer. Deutsche Bank developed an interactive game that is designed to give interested students a feel for the culture of the organisation and whether they'd be a good fit to work there. Prospective candidates make their way through different scenarios they might encounter as graduate hires. They are then given feedback and a ranking.

How do you prepare for a game-based assessment?

To prepare for a gamified assessment, understand the following pointers and take practice assessments.

Relax: you don't need to be a pro gamer

If you're not a keen gamer and you're worried that it might put you at a disadvantage, fear not. We spoke with Robert Newry, managing director and co-founder of games-based psychometric test provider Arctic Shores, to talk about some of the games they produce.

'The games don't require any skill to complete. We've tried to make them as easy to play as rock, paper, scissors in terms of the level of ability needed to complete the challenges. Usually when people think of video games they think of the sophisticated console games, such as Call of Duty , which require practice and dexterity, but we aim for the simplicity of Candy Crush and Angry Birds to make sure everyone has an equal chance of performing well and that we are measuring personality, not skill.'

Graduate recruiters want you to be yourself

Recruiters want to know how you handle certain situations to see whether you possess the qualities necessary to carry out the role they're trying to fill. If you're second-guessing yourself and trying to demonstrate what you think they want to see, and not what you're actually like, your results will show your hesitation.

You're not going to be told which traits are being assessed so be honest with yourself and tackle the scenarios as you would in any other situation.

No two games are the same

The games used by employers have either been designed specifically for that employer or have been adapted to assess particular traits important to them. So if a game looks similar to another you've played, perhaps for another job or just a game for entertainment purposes, treat it as a new experience and play it honestly, as what might have been assessed previously might not be assessed now.

Points don't always mean prizes

As with any game, there's usually a reward element to these assessments. This is a key component to gamification, whether it's being used in recruitment, brand awareness or task management; it's there to add to the enjoyment factor and make you feel more at ease with the tests being done. It is not the case that a high score equals a job.

For example, if you're applying for a job that values caution over risk and you're taking risks to obtain more points, you'll get a high score, but it won't demonstrate that you possess the traits the employer is looking for.

Take practice tests

As with any psychometric test, the best way to get a head start is to gain experience of what’s to come. Taking practice gamified assessments will allow you to do this. We’ve linked to an external free practice test below, but once you’ve completed this, have a search online for more.

Providers of gamified assessments often partner with universities. So also check with your careers services to see if you have free access to practice tests via your institution.

Top tips for passing a game-based assessment

Keep the following practical tips in mind to give yourself the best chance of success during your game-based assessment.

Play somewhere quiet

Game-based assessments generally take around 25–30 minutes to complete, so make sure to play somewhere quiet with no distractions. They're designed to gauge who you are as a person and can assess up to 50 personality traits, so it's important that you provide as accurate a set of data as possible. It's no good trying to demonstrate your decisiveness if you're too engrossed in your favourite TV show in the background.

Read the instructions

As with any stage of the recruitment process, be sure to read the instructions carefully. Employers want your instinctive reactions to the scenarios you're presented with in these games and, because of that, it is highly unlikely that you'll get a second chance to play. You might even be assessed on your ability to follow complex instructions, so make sure you understand the rules before you start playing.

Take it seriously

Gamification may be an enjoyable and more relaxing way to undergo psychometric testing, but it's important that you don't treat it like a casual game of Temple Run on the bus. It's part of the assessment process for a very real job, so focus on what you're doing.

Most importantly, these games are designed to assess you and only you. Don't let friends, siblings or anyone else play them in your place. They're as much about you ensuring that the employer you're applying to is a good fit for you as they are about the employer making sure you have the right skills for the job.

Which employers use game-based assessments?

Game-based assessment is used by employers in a number of industries. These include but are not limited to:

  • law firm Taylor Wessing
  • professional services firm PwC
  • engineering employers such as Shell , Siemens and Thales
  • consumer goods manufacturer Unilever
  • transport and logistics organisation Network Rail.

A twist on gamification: the virtual reality exercise

Virtual reality exercises at assessment centres have been explored by a select handful of employers, including Police Now . A virtual reality exercise is similar to a situational judgement test and uses virtual reality technology to create an immersive and interactive environment in which graduates experience simulated scenarios and attempt to solve problems or complete challenges.

More psychometric test help from targetjobs

Depending on the employer you’re applying to, you may be set other psychometric tests alongside a game-based assessment. On targetjobs, we have all the advice you need in our complete guide to psychometric tests for graduate job hunters . Be sure to check the guide out to get yourself completely set for any of the psychometric tests you may face.

And if you want to find the advice you need more easily, then go ahead and create your free targetjobs profile . This way, we can recommend you advice, events and career opportunities tailored to the career interests that you tell us about.

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