Quizzes - engagement vs selection

We have a look at online tools to engage candidates on career sites. The post also features the latest quiz from the BBC that allows you to compare yourself with a world leader and we take a look at MI5's recruitment game.

BBC Quiz : Which world leaders are you most like?

We had a fun quiz this week from the BBC. In this one, you were posed a few questions raound your age, qualifications, job tenure etc and then the BBC's Quiz widget categorised you as to which of the 195 current World Leaders it thought you had the closed matched to.

You can find a copy at this link: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-37833792

We had some good fun with it ourselves, with comparisons mapping to John Key of New Zealand, Justin Trudeau of Canada and Angela Merkel. Just as well the American election has not been held as that would have raised the possible ignominy of one (or more of us) being compared to Donald Trump... Have a go yourself - its good fun - lets hope you don't get compared to Kim Jong Un. However there is a broader point about using online tools to make comparisons between candidates which the reason behind this post.


We are seeing a greater use of online gaming and engagement tools in general across all sorts of websites. We are also seeing an increasing demand from employers who are asking about including online interactive tools that either; help candidates determine their own fit for positions, or which provides a report to the employer which they can then use within their selection procedures. As the example BBC quiz shows, many of these online tools can be quite engaging. Such tools can and do create an interest and a buzz to a careers site. We have done some work on this ourselves ourselves integrating such tools within our career sites and can confirm they can drive more interest and activity.

However, and this is the point of this post, we suggest some caution when using them. As an example; in many countries you need to take good care round how you manage your selection process and on the selection tools you use. You can, after-all, be challenged on the appropriateness of your selection tools and processes and whether this can result in defacto illegal discrimination. We would go further though, and suggest you also ensure you don't end up using tools that have little validity in terms of predictors of on job performance. As we said above they almost always drive increased interest and activity. But perhaps it's not necessarily all the right interest and activity. This is especially so, we believe, if you plan at all to consider them as part of the (self)selection process. After all, you don't want to end up discouraging otherwise promising applicants from applying just because they may not think your job/company is right for them after using an online tool on your website. Even worse, if you plan to use an online tool as part of your own selection you don't want it to end up automatically rejecting what your managers might regard as, otherwise good candidates.

We suggest you look carefully at the online tools you are using on your careers site, remembering everything thats there will contribute to creating an impression for the candidate - good or bad. So if your marketing people come up with some interesting and engaging widgets for your careers site. We suggest you be very careful of any that you think may influence candidates. Especially if it may influence a candidate to apply (or not) for a position. And expecially if the tool allows you to use it to actively select candidates in or out based on how they respond.

Due to client confidentiality we can't display an example of gaming from one of our own partner clients. We also don't create such tools ourselves - although we can and do integrate them within career sites. But the post would not be complete without another example. So enclosed below is a screenshot example from that well known British organisation - MI5. Here, prospective recruits were asked to participate in an online game to see if spying was really their thing. Observation, memory skills and attention to detail were all measured to give an indication of whether the candidate has what it takes to be the next James (or Jane) Bond.

MI5 Recruitment Game


Disclaimer - we don't provide systems for MI5's recruitment (however as the saying goes: even if we were, if we told you, we would have to shoot you...). However it's not dissimilar to other applications we have been involved with. From what we understand, like other implementations, the game directly measures attributes that MI5 have determined that they are looking for in their employees. We would thus regard this tool as a good example of where an online tool/game can be used to both aid selection and provide greater candidate engagement and interest. Indeed it has recently been featured in the UK Press so it has certainly succeeded in creating more interest round potential opportunities in what is a very unique organisation. However as to whether MI5 is recruiting better spies - that we cannot say.

The BBC example at the top is a different type of quiz tool in that it is clearly very tongue in cheek. However it certainly got interest as well. But it's clearly not being used for any selection purpose. However even tools like this can have their uses - if carefully applied. An online quiz can greatly encourage recommendations and engagement. They can be very effective without having them overly (or covertly) involved in direct candidate selection. We suggest however, that you take care in the application as they will send a message to your candidates about your organisation and may well set expectation levels - good or bad. In overall terms we think it's good to see more creative approaches to advertising and promoting careers and employment brands. Online tools, quizzes, games can all help with that. From what we see we also think there will be much more use of them in the near future. They can be great for engagement and from an overall design and aesthetic point of view can really add interest to your careers site - just please be aware that they also contribute to the overall message you are sending your candidates.