How to Use Games, Hacking Contests To Find Workers

While college recruitment and job fairs still have a place in the employment world, a little bit of creativity and social media know-how is worth its weight in talent if done the right way. 

Bringing new and creative people into a business is a difficult task, so some agencies are using social media and games to draw in exactly what they need.

What's the best way to attract creative interns? A advertising firm in the Netherlands used the game "Draw Something" to bring in artistic interns by getting them to… draw something. Potential interns got onto Muse Amsterdam's radar by downloading the game and logging on to play with "Drawsome intern." It played out like a regular game, but instead of earning points, players with the most interesting drawings got an opportunity to interview for an internship.

Lourens Keers, Strategist at Muse Amsterdam explained the choice to use the game in an e-mail saying, "The people who use DrawSomething are not per se the talented people that we would like to work with, yet it is used by people that are into mobile applications. We're looking for creatives with interest for innovative media, so that's a match." 

This brings to light different ways agencies are trying to find exactly the kind of talent they want in their business. And it's not just ad agencies that are doing this, Keers pointed out that the British intelligence agency, GCHQ has also used technology recently to bring in new applicants. GCHQ made news last year by running an anonymous campaign that offered computer hackers the opportunity to get an interview by breaking a code. Typically, agencies like this get applicants straight from college, but with the increase in self-taught hackers, there was new a pool of talent to choose from. They used social media, Twitter and blogs to redirect potential hackers to a site and crack their code. Doing so (legally and ethically) redirected the user to a site with information on cybersecurity career opportunities within the agency. 

Closer to home, Mountain View programming startup Interviewstreet hosted a coding challenge called CodeSprint earlier this year. Participants were given the chance to solve real-world coding challenges over a two-day period to earn points and a possible interview with one of the 65 participating tech companies. Companies ranged from Facebook to Dropbox. 

The technological age is changing how a business finds new employees. As long as it looks like they're thinking outside of the box and not like they are desperate for young blood, it could boost a company's image.  It also doesn't hurt if your method of finding new employees is different and interesting enough to get a couple of news outlets to cover it...

Photo by allibean.