Innovating Game-Based Assessment

deloitte-uk-profileAn interview with Deloitte Graduate Recruiter, Gemma Hudson

Deloitte recently introduced a new game-based assessment into their grad recruiting process to many positive reviews, and they chose Talegent Gamify to help them do it. We spoke with Gemma Hudson, National Graduate Talent Acquisition Manager for Deloitte and one of the principal architects of this new assessment for insights into the process and the results.

How did you get interested in gamified assessment in the first place?

“Innovation is a core value for Deloitte. After all, companies come to us to help them innovate and so we are always looking for ways that we can innovate ourselves. That’s especially true in Grad Recruitment. To attract and connect with young people, we need to stay on the cutting edge. And it was back in 2012 when gamified assessment first appeared on our radar as a potentially great new innovation for us  and we’d been looking for ways to employ it in our recruiting ever since. But at the same time, we didn’t want to bring out a gamified assessment just for the sake of doing it. It had to make sense for our business needs, our brand and our company values. The reason it took us until now to do it was largely a matter of finding a provider who had the same vision that we did and could deliver on it.”

What are the business reasons that led you to pursue a gamified assessment?

Again, we’re always on the lookout for uniquely new and better ways to connect and engage with students. With gamified assessment, we saw a potential to make the recruitment process not only less boring and more engaging for candidates, but also fun. Given that the people we are addressing grew up with the Internet and video gaming, that’s important. But creating a really engaging and fun experience is also important because it attracts more people to take the assessment—and having a larger pool of applicants creates more opportunities on both sides. Because even if someone is not right for the job they applied for, based on their assessment we might find they’d be perfect for a different role.

How was the collaboration process with the vendor you worked with to build the assessment?

Incredible. We chose Talegent to develop our gamified assessment and they performed beyond our expectations. We set what some considered an impossibly tight deadline in order to be ready for grad season. Talegent delivered in just three months start to finish. During that whole time they consistently pushed to make the product better and never took no for an answer. They even added functionality that we did not even think to ask for that definitely enhance the end result. Truly, we were blown away.

Can you briefly describe the gamified assessment that you created?

Sure. It opens up with a short intro video where a young Deloitte employee who herself came in through our grad program welcomes the candidate, shares our company values, and the invites the candidate to start. The experience from then on is designed to give the candidate a taste of working at Deloitte. They get emails and IM messages outlining specific challenges drawn from real life which are the kinds of things they could actually work on. We present them using a graphic interface that allows for experimentation towards finding logic-based solutions.

Bottom line is that we created a game-based assessment that is integrally related to what we actually do as a company and that makes it totally unique. No other game-based assessment even comes close to integrating in that way.

What were your expectations and how does the reality compare?

We hoped people would find what we did to be fun, cool and different. And they did. There was lots of online discussion among students about how cool our test was and it went viral. We also got a lot of interest and coverage from external media, both business trade and general media, plus nominations for some important innovation awards. So our gamified assessment definitely created the noise we hoped it would and it was overwhelmingly positive. Really the only negatives came from a relative few students who criticized it for being a memory test, which it is not, or too hard a test, which it could be for some. Beyond all this, we expected the gamified assessment would be able to function as valid measure of cognitive ability and it has been very effective for that.

Were there any learnings or results from your gamified assessment that you did not expect or found surprising?

Yes! We designed the test to assess certain logic-based cognitive competencies. But it actually assesses more than that. Because we allow people the chance to experiment and learn, we are able to assess their Learning Agility. That’s huge because we need people who are able to learn fast. Right now we are in the process of validating learning agility’s predictive accuracy, but expect that by next year we will be factoring it into our decisions.

What evidence do you have that gamified assessment is making a positive contribution to the candidate experience or your hiring process?

First off let me say, we did not launch gamified assessment all that long ago so we are still in the process of validating assessment scores against actual performance. However what we do definitely know is that our gamified assessment gets a much higher completion rate than traditional assessments. The dropout rate is only a percentage point or two. Second we’ve received overwhelmingly glowing reviews from the grad candidates who took the assessment. So we can confidently claim success on improving the candidate experience. Finally, from anecdotal evidence we’ve gotten back from managers, the gamified assessment is delivering high quality talent.

If an HR peer from another company was considering creating a gamified assessment, what advice would you give them?

In the end it has to be the right solution – Don’t just do it for the sake of doing it. It has to be the right solution for you given your brand and business needs. We innovate because it is core to our employer brand. We are lucky that way.

Leave a Comment