‘Theme Park Hero’: the next step forward in candidate assessment?

by Chloe Taylor17 Feb 2015
A new game-based psychometric assessment has been launched by leading Australian people analytics company Revelian.

Revelian’s new applicant assessment tool is Australia’s first gamified recruitment assessment that combines gamification with analytics, data, predictive psychometric models and cloud technologies.

The game, ‘Theme Park Hero’, is designed to measure candidate ability and enhance brand reputation while streamlining the recruitment process and increasing efficiency for businesses.

“Gamification is a process of embedding game mechanics into non-gaming experiences to engage users,” Salih Mujcic, project manager at Revelian, told HC. “It's been highly successful in a myriad of different industries and environments – using gamification can have real world benefits and impacts on the bottom line.”

“Theme Park Hero is revolutionising psychometric testing,” he added. “It's a game based assessment. Every aspect of it includes game thinking and game design to help engage test-takers in a deep and immersive activity.”

The game’s features accurately measure candidate ability including mental agility, cognitive speed, attention span, spatial aptitude and numerical reasoning.

“The key difference here is we’ve actually been able to maintain the same psychometric rigour while enhancing the candidate’s experience,” said Cherie Curtis, head of psychology at Revelian. “This allows them to enjoy the experience rather than be intimidated by it, and when people are comfortable we get a better evaluation of their strengths and weaknesses. People tend to get lost in the gameplay, so we get a pure insight into the individual.”

She added that traditional assessments tend to rely on right and wrong or clear yes or no choices, whereas Theme Park Hero is different in the way it captures data.

“The system still has yes or no answers, but the playing experience gives us tens of thousands of pieces of data,” Curtis told HC. “There are additional angles and evaluations which extend beyond just the right or wrong answer. Theme Park Hero detects strategy and patterns in response, which is far more widely applicable and transferrable from a cultural perspective.”

“We're changing the way testing is done,” Mujcic added. “Typically it's an anxiety-provoking experience. The word ‘test’ can bring up a lot of negative emotions, whereas when you say ‘game’ it usually means a fun experience. We've used thinking and the scientific approach behind traditional tests and blended it with game design to offer something fresh and unique.”
Candidates have ten minutes to complete the game, and unlike traditional assessments, Theme Park Hero analyses more than the answers given, providing a deeper insight into users’ strengths and abilities.

Following the completion of the game – which consists of four sub-games – an overall ‘hero’ score is provided for each candidate. This is calculated by a weighted combination of metrics that encompass candidate responses and general game play across each of the four short activities.

The system was constructed through multiple scientific processes, from the development of the theme to the validation of the tool as a psychometric instrument, and was tested on  2500 candidates.

“Apart from its ability to find most suitable candidate, one of key benefits of the game is brand alignment,” Curtis told HC. “This helps companies to be perceived as an employer of choice. Companies spend a considerable amount on recruitment process as a whole, and tend to invest a lot in sophisticated technology with applicant tracking system. However, traditional assessments are generally not aligned with company brands. This gamification system provides an assessment which is no longer disconnected from the core brand that companies are trying to present.”

But is there anything that HR managers can use alongside the game to enhance it?

“Recruitment and selection is an exercise of arriving at confident decisions or outcomes,” Mujcic told HC. “We would never recommend that any HR manager relies on just a single piece of data or just an assessment to make a hiring decision. They should use their expertise, interviews, and resumés –everything they can find out about the candidate to make a much more confident decision. It's all about reducing error in judgement and the more information we have the more confident we can be that we've made the right decision. Game based assessments form only a part of the decision making process.”