Recruitment Gamification with Hiring Managers

Lately, I have had much free time as I am a corporate recruiter between jobs in December. So I have been focusing on my development and taking many LinkedIn Learning courses. This week I took the course called “Sales Gamification” and it got me thinking about how I could take its principles and apply them to recruiting. I don’t mean the usual recruitment gamification that we may read about with gamifying the application process or gamifying training. I had a truly original idea come to mind.

We could gamify the submitted candidate feedback process with hiring managers. I know getting feedback from hiring managers can be difficult at times, but how about starting a game among hiring managers against each other? We already know the date of submission to the hiring managers and so we would only need to track the date of feedback from the hiring managers. Of course, the minimally accepted feedback is defined as:

  • Yes – schedule the next interview – and why
  • No – reject candidate – and why
  • Hold – do nothing for now – and why

Same-day feedback would count as zero days passed. Next-day feedback would count as one day and so forth. If this was kept in a spreadsheet, we could have formulas automatically calculate the average days passed per candidate for each requisition. I would make each requisition a game played to score. If a hiring manager only hired one person then he or she had one opportunity to play and one score. If another hiring manager had ten hires, then he or she has ten plays and ten scores. This way we are comparing apples with apples…average days per candidate for a requisition/hire.

On the company intranet site or elsewhere published for hiring managers (and hopefully others) to see is the leaderboard of personal best times for each manager. I might even only keep the top 5 or 10 hiring managers and their “scores” on the board and keep the lowest results hidden. Depending on the size of the company, you could even have different leaderboards for each department. For example, having all the IT hiring managers compete with each other. Depending on the volume of requisitions and if it is partitioned by department, you may want to have leaderboards for the quarter, six months, or annual…or some combination or all three.

I would make a big deal of the top hiring managers and their scores and bestow upon them the “Hiring Manager Feedback Award“. It could even be a physical award that is passed around for the annual winner. I would celebrate the achievements of the top hiring managers (i.e. top third, top quarter, or top three) with their managers and company-wide if possible (i.e. in the newsletter or mentioned in a company-wide meeting by the CEO). I would send celebratory thank you messages to the hiring managers and copy your and their managers. Say what great partners they are and how they are examples for the rest of the company. Make it prestigious.

I would offer badges as well. Say for the hiring managers whose scores were under two days, I would give them (either physically or electronically) a “Two-Day” badge with the quarter and year listed or maybe just the year. If you have hiring managers that only hire one role a year, you would want to let them keep the badge for the year. So choose the time frame wisely. Make it prestigious and something coveted to have a “Two-Day badge”. I would also have a “One-Day badge”, which is more prestigious. If HR or recruiting has its own site on the intranet, publish the names of hiring managers who have each badge. Perhaps even create a sub-game for the managers of the hiring managers and have an award for the manager with the most badges in their teams.

Now if you didn’t like the idea of just showing the top 5 or 10 hiring managers and hiding the lowest scores, here is an idea. Publicize the lowest personal score and hiring manager’s name in a “Hall of Shame“. If there is a lot of hiring managers, you could even publicize the lowest three personal scores. While some hiring managers may not care about winning the award and being on the leaderboard, they will very likely not what to be listed here. While perhaps not caring to strive to be the best, no one wants to be known as the worst. If upper management has bought into the idea of gamifying hiring manager feedback, the “Hall of Shame” might be sent as feedback from recruiting to the hiring managers’ managers during performance reviews.

The whole point of all of this exercise is to lower the time passing between resume submissions to the hiring manager and when they give us feedback. This is one of the points of delay that slows the interviewing and hiring process. Candidates move quickly these days. We don’t want to lose great candidates while trying to get them through the process. We need to shorten and quicken the process to stay competitive. Also, the faster we get feedback from the hiring manager, the faster we can disposition candidates and give the candidates feedback. What is one of the biggest complaints from candidates? Timely feedback and communications. This game could help solve this issue as well. The hiring managers may really get into competition with each other too. During intake calls, you could even plug some of the best times other managers in the department have to fuel the competition. You could perhaps coach the hiring managers on the importance of reducing this time and inspire them to play as well. This is one of the ways I have thought about bringing gamification to recruiting.


Eric Putkonen is a public speaker / presenter and he is passionate about recruiting / talent acquisition & retention, culture & employment brand, engagement, and leadership (which affects all of the prior). He is currently looking for a lead or senior recruiting role, so if you want to bring such ideas and innovation into your company, please reach out to him.

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