Play for your job

Going for a job interview these days is very much the same thing over and over again – and boring in my opinion. So what if companies looking to hire potential employees shake things up a bit in the process and start using video games to see what you’re made of? One games company in the US called Knack has done just that.

feature image play Play for your job

Imagine you’re going for interview and you wake up in the morning extra early, all nervous and excited while ironing your smartest clothes and trying to look the best you can. You get to the appointment thirty minutes early (because let’s face it, you really want this job and to make a good impression) then the interviewer asks if you could follow them to their office; you’re quaking in your boots but never fear – you have all potential answers stored in your head ready to fire off at the drop of a hat. But out of the blue the interviewer pulls out a tablet and tells you to play a couple of games. You’re confused but you go along with it, and after half an hour they come back in to the room and tell you you’re hired.

Sounds weird, right? But this is how Knack, a games company in Silicon Valley, has decided to assess all of its job candidates. If you’re wondering what games the interviewees are playing: one is where you play as a waiter in a restaurant and the other is where you have to try and launch balloons at little daemon creatures before they get you. Why these specific ones though? Well Knack feels they give an insight into the potential behaviour, values and qualities a person might have because these types of games help match the right person to the right job. They let you know if someone is reckless or plays it safe, agile or slow, a leader or a follower, and this is the type of info a company must find out before they hire you.

Will this ever catch on?

Will this ever catch on?

We still have a long way to go before games become commonly used by organisations but it gives us a sneak-peak of the direction we might be headed. A lot of companies are already experimenting with this way of interviewing and although we may be years away before this becomes commonplace, I do wonder how this it will affect the human contact element of the process. Let’s face it: just because you get a high score on all the areas that are tested doesn’t mean you’re a nice person or will fit in.

Will playing games ever replace the normal interview process? I doubt it. I believe you can get more of a feeling of how someone’s personality is by talking to them and this could never be replaced. Besides, if you’re going to make people play games at least give them a challenge – like trying to play a Kinect title without freaking out and throwing it across the room after ten minutes. If they can achieve that then hire them on the spot because they have the patience of a saint.

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6 responses to “Play for your job

  1. As someone who works in HR I deal with interviews all the time, and the majority of them are mind-numbingly boring. So, so samey. Adding a portion of the process that includes having the interviewee play a few games would certainly spice things up and give you more of an insight into the person. It would have to be coupled with the more tried and tested methods though, but I love the idea.

    • That’s exactly how I feel. By all means introduce new ways of doing it but keep some of the basic things like actually talking to people face to face.

  2. I think it depends on the employer as well as the (potential) employee. I’d expect a modern TMT or forward thinking firm to use this as I, to some extent, agree with the concept and what it can reveal. But like V, I think it needs to be included as part of a larger assessment rather than taken as the only method and/or in isolation.

    Then, at the other end of the spectrum, are the professional firms. Lawyers, accountants, bankers etc are just as concerned about their reputation and image as employers in order to attract the right employees. I can’t imagine that a law firm would adopt something like this in an interview.



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