A Quick Guide to Game Related Assessments

gamification of assessments
Tom Stroud
Reading time:
4 mins
May 10, 2023


The world of talent assessment is evolving rapidly, and one area of significant growth is the use of games-related assessments. These innovative methods incorporate game elements and design principles into the evaluation process, creating engaging and immersive experiences for job candidates while maintaining the rigorous psychometric standards necessary for effective talent management. In this article, we will explore the various types of games-related assessments, their benefits and challenges, and how HR and talent acquisition professionals can effectively implement and evaluate these cutting-edge tools.

Understanding the types of games-related assessments

Games-related assessments can be broadly categorised into three types: 

  • Game-Based Assessments (GBAs)
  • Gamefully Designed Assessments
  • Gamified Assessments. 

Each approach has unique characteristics and advantages, but they all share a common goal: to create a more engaging and effective assessment experience by incorporating game elements and design principles.

Game-based assessments (GBAs)

GBAs are assessments designed from the outset as games, with the evaluation process embedded within the gameplay itself. Candidates play the game, and their performance within the game is used to assess their skills, abilities, and other relevant traits. GBAs can be data-driven, where the game collects data on the player's behaviour to make inferences about their traits, or theory-driven, where the game is designed to measure a particular trait or set of traits specifically.

Gamefully designed assessments

Gamefully designed assessments are traditional assessments that have been redesigned using game design principles to create a more engaging and immersive experience for the candidate. While the assessment remains unchanged, adding game elements can enhance motivation, engagement, and enjoyment for the participant.

Gamified assessments

Gamified assessments involve adding game elements to existing assessment methods, such as points, levels, or leaderboards. These game elements are intended to increase motivation and engagement while the underlying assessment method remains unchanged.

Benefits and challenges of games-related assessments

Games-related assessments offer several potential advantages compared to traditional assessment methods. Some of the most notable benefits include:

Enhanced engagement and motivation

By incorporating game elements and design principles, games-related assessments can create a more engaging and enjoyable experience for job candidates. Increased engagement and motivation can lead to higher-quality data and more accurate assessments of candidates' skills, abilities, and traits.

Reduced test anxiety

Traditional assessments can be stressful and anxiety-provoking for many candidates, negatively impacting their performance. Games-related assessments, with their more engaging and enjoyable nature, can help alleviate test anxiety and create a more positive assessment experience.

Richer data collection

GBAs, particularly data-driven ones, can collect a wealth of data on candidate behaviour and performance, allowing for more nuanced insights into their skills and abilities.

However, games-related assessments also come with their own set of challenges, including:

Development complexity

Designing and developing games-related assessments can be more complex and time-consuming than traditional assessments, requiring expertise in game design, subject matter expertise in the assessment domain, and psychometrics.

Balancing enjoyment and rigor

Striking the right balance between creating an engaging and enjoyable experience for candidates and maintaining the psychometric rigour necessary for accurate and reliable assessments can be challenging.

gamification of assessments

Implementing gamification in HR and talent acquisition

Before implementing gamification of assessments, HR and talent acquisition professionals should consider several factors to ensure the success of these innovative tools:

Alignment with organisational needs

Selecting the appropriate type of games-related assessment that best aligns with the organisation's needs and objectives is essential. This involves considering the specific traits, skills, or abilities the organisation wants to assess and how these can be effectively measured using a games-related approach.

Collaboration with subject matter experts and game designers

Successful implementation of games-related assessments requires collaboration between subject matter experts in the assessment domain, game designers, and psychometricians. This interdisciplinary team should work together to create assessments that balance engaging game elements with rigorous psychometric standards.

Piloting and iterative design

Before fully implementing a games-related assessment, piloting the assessment with a small sample of candidates is essential. This pilot phase allows the development team to gather feedback, identify potential issues, and make necessary adjustments to the assessment before rolling it out on a larger scale.

Evaluating the effectiveness of games-related assessments

As with any assessment method, evaluating the effectiveness of games-related assessments regarding their reliability, validity, fairness, and candidate reactions is crucial. Traditional psychometric standards and guidelines still apply to gamified assessments, although some adaptations may be necessary depending on the specific assessment type.


Reliability refers to the consistency of an assessment in measuring a stable trait. In evaluating the reliability of games-related assessments, it is essential to consider the most appropriate type of reliability estimate, which may differ from traditional methods depending on the nature of the assessment.


Validity is the extent to which an assessment measures what it claims to measure. Evaluating the validity of games-related assessments can be complex, as it involves examining multiple types of evidence, including test content, response processes, internal structure, and relationships with other variables. The specific evaluation methods will depend on the nature of the assessment and the claims made by its developers.

Fairness and bias

Evaluating fairness and bias in games-related assessments involves examining outcomes and decision-making processes related to the final scores created by the assessment. This process may be more complex for data-driven GBAs incorporating machine learning or artificial intelligence in their gameplay or scoring models.

Candidate reactions

It is vital to assess candidate reactions to games-related assessments, as these reactions can impact the overall effectiveness of the assessment process. This may involve collecting data on candidate perceptions of the assessment content, game elements, and the overall assessment experience.


Gamification of assessments represents an exciting and promising development in the field of talent assessment. By combining engaging game elements with rigorous psychometric standards, these innovative tools have the potential to revolutionise the way organisations assess and select talent. HR and talent acquisition professionals must be prepared to navigate the unique challenges and complexities associated with games-related assessments, collaborating with interdisciplinary teams to develop, implement, and evaluate these cutting-edge methods. By doing so, organisations can create more engaging and effective assessment experiences for job candidates while maintaining the high level of accuracy and reliability necessary for successful talent management.

Tom Stroud

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