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Games help connect the right staff

Published on Friday, 12 Jul 2013
Michael Tanenbaum
Photo: ConnectCubed
Different games can be used depending on job nature.
Photo: ConnectCubed

Software company ConnectCubed, which started its business by serving the financial services sector, considers itself part of a broader movement of HR technology companies that emphasise the need for businesses to treat candidates like customers. One way of doing that is exploiting a shared human interest - a passion for playing games.

Games have been found to be very useful as a predictive tool for work performance. For this reason, ConnectCubed designs digital, interactive, psychometric games that companies can use to assess job candidates.

"You can gather data from people while giving them a fun experience," says Michael Tanenbaum, CEO and co-founder of ConnectCubed. "Games are an excellent way to get people to show a little bit about themselves in a very relaxed, easy atmosphere."

Operating in San Francisco, New York and Hong Kong, ConnectCubed was founded with the belief that the way people find jobs and the way that companies are finding great talent are fundamentally broken. "In an ideal world, what you want is a more scientific way of selecting your career as a worker, and for hiring people if you're an employer. We have the technology to make the hiring process seamless," Tanenbaum says.

Many companies take great interest in collecting data on people who visit their website, like their Facebook page or engage with them in other ways. They want to figure out whether those people that connect with them could be potential colleagues - and whether they would be a good organisational fit.

ConnectCubed's initial games catered to the financial services sector. One of its first games was a trading simulator, UltraTradr. The company now provides gaming tools for almost all types of firms and roles.

Contrary to popular belief, psychometric assessment games do not measure skills. ConnectCubed's games do not, for example, test whether a candidate is good at using Microsoft Excel, programming or driving a tractor. Its games focus instead on two areas: personality and aptitude.

Within personality, a range of different factors are measured, such as self-discipline, focus and extroversion. On the aptitude side, abstract mental abilities that are most critical for determining success in a given role are quantified. "We have games that focus on concentration, spatial reasoning, verbal reasoning, numerical reasoning and more," Tanenbaum says.

He believes these games help employers find the best candidates for a position in a more objective way and within a shorter period of time than traditional recruiting. The company also offers to brand games for organisations keen to use them as employer-branding and marketing tools to entice people to their career sites.

A different sequence of games is crafted depending on the requirements for every position. Candidates need to play for only a few minutes to yield valuable recruitment data. However, companies still have to carry out their end of the recruiting process and it is up to them to choose where in the application pipeline they use the games.

The games are also suitable for introducing new careers. "In the case of finance graduates who might not know about compliance rules, using a game is a fantastic way to recruit a new generation of compliance staff," Tanenbaum says.

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