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What You Need to Know About Bias in Recruitment Games

Adhering to anti-discrimination policies when screening job applicants is critical. However, traditional pre-hire assessments, like cognitive ability and intelligence tests, have been shown to disproportionately impact certain groups of candidates.  These tests have reliable predictive validity, but they can disproportionately impact minority candidates, raising legal and moral concerns. This is referred to as the diversity-validity dilemma, which refers to cognitive ability tests’ high validity and high bias against EEOC-protected groups. 

To address these concerns, some recruiters are turning to alternative forms of pre-hire assessments like recruitment games (assessments that are developed as games) or gamified assessments (assessments that have game components added to them post-development).

While gamified assessments have the potential to improve the test-taking experience and minimize disparate impact, they are not without fault. Consider the following when evaluating recruitment games and gamified (or game-based) assessments to ensure your assessment process is bias-free:

The Pros of Recruitment Games:

  1. Enhanced data collection

Gamified pre-hire assessments typically collect more comprehensive and accurate data on candidates than cognitive ability and intelligence tests. This is because these assessments measure multiple aspects of a candidate’s cognitive and non-cognitive abilities, such as problem-solving, decision-making, adaptability, and interpersonal skills. This can help recruiters make more informed hiring decisions and identify candidates with the right skills and traits for the job. 

In addition, recruitment games often include interactive elements that allow candidates to demonstrate their abilities in real-world scenarios, providing a more realistic representation of their skills and abilities.

  1. Positive perceptions and increased engagement

Participants generally report positive perceptions of employers who administer alternative pre-hire measures like gamified assessments. These assessments are often more engaging and interactive for candidates than traditional assessments, which can enhance the candidate experience and help employers stand out as innovative and forward-thinking. This can also help to attract top talent and enhance the employer’s brand.

  1. Cost-effective (potentially)

Gamified assessments can be more cost-effective than traditional pre-hire assessments by reducing time to hire. This is because recruitment games can be administered remotely, allowing recruiters to reach a larger pool of candidates while reducing the cost and logistical challenges associated with in-person assessments. In addition, gamified assessments can help to streamline the hiring process by automating certain aspects of the assessment, such as scoring and feedback.

The Cons of Recruitment Games:

  1. Risk for adverse impact

Gamified assessments may still have the potential to create adverse impact, particularly if not designed and validated carefully. This can happen if the assessment is not job-related, fair, or inclusive or if it includes any built-in biases. 

In addition, game-based assessments may disadvantage candidates who are not familiar with the gaming format due to limited free time or access inequality (which has been associated with feelings of stress and/or anxiety). This may also manifest as restricted technology access (i.e., computers or minimum internet speeds) required to complete the recruitment game.

  1. Technical limitations

Gamified assessments may face technical limitations that can impact the accuracy and fairness of the assessment. For example, some gamified and game-based assessments may not be accessible on mobile or web-based platforms, which can create inconsistencies in the candidate experience. In addition, the quality of the assessment may be impacted by technical issues such as slow loading times, software glitches, or other technical difficulties.

  1. Lack of standardization

Game-based assessments may lack standardization, making it difficult to compare results across candidates or to benchmark performance against industry standards. This can create challenges when evaluating the effectiveness of the assessment or when comparing results across different departments or roles within an organization. In addition, a lack of standardization can make it difficult to assess the reliability and validity of the recruitment game, which can impact the credibility of the results.

In conclusion, recruitment games and gamified pre-hire assessments can be useful for recruiters who want to improve the candidate experience and reduce disparate impact in their hiring process. However, they should be used with caution and care, and recruiters should ensure that gamified assessments are fair, job-related, inclusive, and bias-free. By doing so, recruiters can ensure that the hiring process is fair and unbiased for all candidates while attracting top talent and enhancing their employer brand.

Learn how you can drive hiring equity hiring further with Cangrade’s bias-free Pre Hire Assessments