Game-Based Assessments: Answering the Important Questions

Game-based assessments are now used increasingly in the early stages of the hiring process, particularly within the finance, law, IT, retail and transport sectors. Just like psychometric tests, they help to assess a candidate’s competencies and personality traits. In this article, job assessment experts explain what to expect and how to prepare.
Man with headphones concentrating on laptop

Photo by Wes Hicks on Unsplash

Did you know that Game-Based Assessments (GBAs) are now used by 10% of employers? Larger companies in particular, are utilising novel game technology to improve the assessment experience.  To make sure that you’re ready when you face one, we answer the questions: what are game-based assessments, why are they used and how can you prepare for them?

What is a Game-Based Assessment and who uses them?

Game-based assessments, or GBAs, use gaming technology to help assist employer decisions during their recruitment processes.  They solve part of the puzzle as to how suitable you are for the role and company.

Some companies such as Coca Cola, will use long, scenario-based games, that place you in a ‘day-in-the-life’ experience to measure a set of skills. But more often, a ‘Game-Based Assessment’ refers to a standalone game assessing a specific skill (or skills), for example PriceWaterhouseCoopers’ (PwC) ‘Balloons’ Game, which is designed to assess if you are risk averse. You’re asked to pump the balloon and bank your money before it bursts. As well as being more enjoyable, this is useful for assessors. You’ll then be placed on a scale of emotionality based on how you perform; this ranges from those who pay attention to detail but can be more anxious, to those who are relaxed decision-makers but can be disorganised.

Part of the Procter & Gamble recruitment process includes a memory and spatial game, which tests logical reasoning. Another example is Tesco’s Emotional Intelligence (EQ) game that identifies a candidate’s competency in identifying facial expressions. Other gamified assessments may measure attributes such as your memory, attention, teamwork, and reaction time.

Why do employers use Game-Based Assessments?

There are two key reasons:

  1. They engage applicants. An engaging candidate experience helps to convey a positive picture of the organisation, which is important, because negative experiences when applying may adversely affect a company’s reputation and put people off.
  1. They help identify the right employees. Using these tests, employers get an overview of a candidate’s personality and/or their technical ability, as well as indicating how they may behave on the job.


How can you prepare?


Preparation (before the real assessment)

  • Find out what the application process involves: If it includes a game-based assessment, read up about the particular task to find out what it will look like, as well as the end goal e.g. see these step-by-step employer guides for detailed descriptions of assessment processes.
  • Practise. And more practise: Ensure that you’re familiar with how the particular game-based assessment works.


During the actual assessment

  • Check your internet connection: Often, you only get one chance to complete an assessment. Checking will eliminate risk of the game running slowly, or connection being lost mid-way.
  • Read the instructions carefully: This may sound obvious, but surprisingly many people overlook these, either through over-confidence or forgetfulness. Be clear on the controls for the assessment and understand the objective.
  • Identify the aim of the game: Practice will help you to recognise what is being measured and how, so you understand what skill you must focus on and how to score well. For example, a game that wants you to remember certain items, is clearly assessing your memory.
  • Stay positive throughout: Game-based assessments measure both your actual behaviour and your interactions with the game. It is best practice to react positively even if you think that you have performed poorly on the previous task. This is because, as well as your actual ‘score’, assessors will see if you were able to maintain performance despite any previous slips in concentration.
  • Use a computer or laptop: While some game-based assessments can be taken via mobile; it is advisable to use your computer or laptop for the real thing. This will likely be clearer, easier to use, and better for eliminating distractions such as notifications or calls during the assessment.

Best of Luck!


Find out more:

Grad Bites: Psychometric Tests & Personality Questionnaires
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Psychometric Tests
What they measure & tips to improve performance


Contributor Peter Thornton

About the authors:

This article was written by Graduates First Job Assessment Experts: Peter Thornton MA, Consultant and Abdul Wahaab MSc MBPsS, Organisational Psychologist.
Peter studied Bachelor’s and Master’s Philosophy Degree at the University of Nottingham. He is passionate about helping graduates and professionals grow fearless of employer assessments.