Using “Recruitainment” to Hire and Onboard Top Talent

Recruitainment is a portmanteau of recruitment and entertainment, and it can be an incredibly effective method for attracting and retaining top talent. By adding gamification in recruitment, you can test potential employees’ skills in a fun way that encourages creativity and innovation.

Recruitment and retention have long been a challenge for employers. Attracting top-level talent isn’t easy, and keeping them around in a competitive marketplace is a constant concern. Onboarding those employees quickly and successfully can also be a struggle.

However, recruitainment serves as a method to better attract, retain, and onboard talent while also getting applicants engaged from day one. In today’s blog, let’s take a deeper look at recruitainment and how it can help businesses hire and onboard top talent.

The Basics of Recruitainment

Let’s start with the basics—what is recruitainment? In simple terms, it is recruitment that is gamified. The result of blending recruitment with gamification is a recruitment and onboarding process that is more effective, efficient, and engaging than traditional recruitment methods.

For clarity, let’s look at a couple of real-world examples. These will help you get a better idea of what gamified recruitment is and how it works when implemented in a business setting.

Possibly the most well-known example comes from Microsoft. For over a decade, they hosted the Google Code Jam. People from all over the world competed in the programming competition for the opportunity to showcase their skills, win prizes, and potentially get a job at Google.

Another well-known example is the GCHQ—a British intelligence and security agency—setting up a website with a code to crack. Potential candidates had to crack the code and find the hidden message to continue to the next step of the hiring process.

GCHQ online code-cracking competition (via Daily Mail)

So, why is this one of the best ways to recruit and retain employees? Well, it offers numerous benefits over traditional recruitment methods.

To start, it offers a real look at a candidate’s skills. Instead of looking over a resume and making assumptions based on experience, you get to see what they’re capable of in real time. This can make it easier to identify the qualities of a good candidate for a job.

It also is a more engaging interview process for the candidate. Instead of sitting in an office and having a standard discussion, they get to prove themselves and apply their knowledge. This personalizes the process and gets them more invested, serving as an icebreaker too.

Lastly, competition is an incredible motivator. As with Google’s Code Jam, competition drives people to do their best and give it their all. This can result in more creativity and innovation from candidates, letting you see their true potential.

Recruitainment as a Recruitment Strategy

Recruitainment as a recruitment strategy is only going to get more popular as time goes on. The recruitment industry continues to get more crowded, and recruiters/employers will have to try harder to stand out from the rest.

The process of recruiting and retaining capable employees is something that will always be competitive, and gamified recruitment will continue to grow as that competition increases. Beyond that though, it comes with numerous benefits. Let’s review them.

Identifies Skills and Competencies

Gamified recruitment allows for better identification of skills and competencies. Instead of relying on what they wrote on their resume or the examples they provided, you get to see them work in real time.

At the end of the day, you get a better understanding of a candidate, who they are, and what they are capable of when you get the opportunity to see them work yourself. On top of that, gamification can help your current employees at the same time.

Assesses Cultural Fit

Just like you get to see their skills and competencies in real-time, you also get to see who they are as a person in real-time. This can help you more accurately assess if they are a good cultural fit for the company.

While an interview does let you see who they are as a person, seeing how they deal with stress, challenges, and more in the moment gives you a better view of what they’ll be like at work.

Enhances Brand Visibility

Another benefit is that it can help increase brand visibility and awareness. Google’s Code Jam for example made them even more well-known in the programming/coding space, making them known as a place for top-level talent.

That can also be passed along to customers. If your business is known for hiring the best of the best, that’s going to lead to a more positive reputation amongst customers in general.

Increases Candidate Retention

Lastly, recruitainment can increase candidate retention. It is a positive experience for the candidates, which will make them more likely to stay with the company after getting hired.

As those employees share their experience, it can also bring in candidates who are interested in seeing what all the fuss is about—making your company even more attractive to top talent.

Outside the Box Recruiting Ideas

Now, let’s look at some recruiting ideas outside the box. Here are a few different types of gamified recruitment to consider with associated benefits and examples.

Simulation-Based Assessments

These assessments simulate real work scenarios, allowing candidates to demonstrate their skills and decision-making. This provides a better view of what candidates are capable of, as well as giving candidates a better chance to showcase their abilities.

An example of this would be having a potential marketing candidate come up with a mock campaign for a fake product. They would have to use their skills to create a compelling campaign, giving the employer a real-time view of the candidate.

Skill Challenges

Skill challenges have candidates try to complete challenges that focus on specific skills, letting them display their abilities in a fun and interactive way.

Google’s Code Jam and the GCHQ challenge mentioned earlier are perfect examples of this. Candidates compete to overcome a challenge and put their skills to the test, providing a better experience for both candidates and employers.

Cultural Fit Games

These games focus on seeing how an employee fits into a culture, engaging in scenarios that reflect the company’s values, work environment, and team dynamics to assess their alignment with the organization.

This could come in the form of something simple like a game of charades or trivia with employees or something more complicated like a series of scenarios they have to respond to that reveal more about their cultural fit.

Gamifying the Onboarding Process

It’s important to note that gamification doesn’t have to stop after recruitment. It can also be a very effective tool for new employee orientation and onboarding.

Gen Z for example tends to learn better through games. This is something that Faraz Waheed touched on during a podcast episode, saying:

“We believe that gamifying onboarding makes it more memorable. Since many people entering the workforce are young, they connect better with stories and games.”

This isn’t exclusive to Gen Z however, and some benefits apply broadly to onboarding and orientation programs for all employees. Let’s list a few of those benefits:

  • Faster integration. Interactive onboarding experiences using recruitainment principles help new hires feel more connected to the company culture and values, leading to quicker integration into teams.
  • Increased engagement. Gamified onboarding modules keep employees engaged and motivated, reducing early turnover rates and enhancing job satisfaction.
  • Knowledge retention. Immersive onboarding experiences improve knowledge retention as employees learn through interactive simulations and practical scenarios.

With the how and why covered, it’s time to move on to implementing these concepts and look at some interactive onboarding ideas.

Interactive Onboarding Ideas

While interactive recruitment and onboarding are fairly simple, coming up with ideas is a struggle for many people. However, there are numerous pre-established games and programs you can use to implement recruitainment in onboarding.

Thumball Icebreaker Catch is a fun game that helps employees get to know each other. By using an interactive game that encourages employees to express themselves, you can speed up the process while building stronger, deeper bonds.

For those who are a bit more competitive, Quickfire Olympics is a great choice. This game encourages team building via healthy competition, having teams work together in a mental, physical, and creative trivia challenge.

quickfire olympics recruitment strategy

Learning more about yourself and your coworkers is a critical part of onboarding, and Strengths Finder is perfect for that. This event focuses on identifying strengths and building confidence while underlining the importance of collaboration.

The Global Innovation Game is another option, focusing on creativity, innovation, and collaboration. By working together to come up with and pitch product ideas, teams can build bonds while strengthening their creativity and teamwork capabilities.

Building Stronger Teams Through Recruitainment

Recruitainment isn’t just the latest buzzword; it is a powerful recruitment strategy that can help find and retain top talent. Even better, it comes with many long-term benefits such as increased brand visibility, improved retention, boosted creativity, and more that all lead to greater success.

Onboarding and recruitment are closely related to team building, and team building plays an important role in gamifying those processes. Team building events and activities are an effective tool that can help you gamify onboarding and recruitment for better results.

If you’re ready to stand out in the competitive marketplace by utilizing recruitainment, we are here to help. In our 25+ years doing corporate events, we have gained an understanding of how to effectively implement gamified elements into onboarding and recruitment processes.

With a range of events that cover everything from games and events to seminars and corporate retreats, we have all the tools you need. So get in touch with us today and start attracting and retaining top talent more efficiently with TeamBonding!

Camille VanBuskirk

Team Contributor


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