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Gamification in the Workplace: Is the Traditional Hiring Process for Developers Dead?

How companies like Google and Facebook having been using gamification to locate top talent across the world.

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Struggling to get noticed to land a job? Are you a programmer with a competitive nature and want to showcase your skills to be seen by your dream company? If you answered "yes" to these questions, then you are a good candidate to compete for a job.  These competitions are not based on your resume, cover letter, or interview skills, but rather focus on your ability to solve complex algorithmic puzzles. As companies are inundated with endless resumes and cover letters depicting similar career paths and interests, they are forced to come up with a new way to recruit and locate the true outstanding talent amid the resume abyss. In today’s tech world, many companies boast of finding their talent through gamification.

Hiring at Google and Facebook

Since 2003, Google has held an annual Code Jam competition to seek out the world’s best engineers for employment. Since then, it has grown to a competition of the world’s best coders and programmers. Competitors come from all over the globe and from many different levels of experience. Each participant attempts to solve various algorithmic problems in a fixed amount of time. Those who make it through the online round of puzzles then compete in a final round at an onsite location. The winner takes home a monetary prize, and is often able to interview with some of the most advanced and innovative companies in the industry. Those who do not win, but make it to some of the later rounds also tend to catch the eye of many tech giants. With 2016’s Code Jam just around the corner, beginning in March, and thousands of coders waiting in the wings ready to compete, we can’t help but wonder what other companies, if any, are using gamification in their recruitment process.

In 2011, Facebook created the Hacker Cup. In similar fashion to Code Jam, this worldwide programming competition attracts contestants from all experience levels. Each participant works to solve algorithmic-based problem statements and is judged by accuracy and speed. Winners also take home a monetary prize and bragging rights as the world’s most skilled hacker. Although Facebook claims that the Hacker Cup is not used as a recruitment tool, the top participants often garner major corporate focus which ultimately leads to new career opportunities.

Code Jam and the Hacker Cup are just two successful examples of the use of gamification in job recruitment and the hiring of skilled coders and developers. Those who succeed in these competitions have created for themselves the ultimate job application that is viewed on the global level. There are numerous other online outlets in which freelancers can compete for various tech jobs as well. These outlets include Top Coder, CodeChef, Sphere Online Judge, and HackerRank just to name a few. Competition can be known to thrust those with high skillsets to the forefront of their fields.

The Trend is Clear

The HR Trend Institute predicted that gamification in job recruitment would be one of the top 10 HR trends of 2016. Forbes also emphasized that gamification is a trend to not only recruit employees, but to also help with their learning and development. With this theory of gamification in the job recruitment of coders and programmers in mind, is the traditional hiring process of sending in a resume and cover letter obsolete? Should all companies beyond the tech industry follow suit?

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