Not applying for a job with a letter and your resume, but getting the job through a computer game seems like something out of a science fiction movie.

But some Dutch companies and organizations do use games to find suitable candidates.

What are the benefits for employers?

And what are the consequences for applicants?

Suppose you want to become an air traffic controller, then you must first apply for the right training.

You can still do this the old-fashioned way with a cover letter.

But you'll make an extra impression if you get a high score in the smartphone game

Take Control of the Tower

.

In this game, developed by Air Traffic Control the Netherlands (LVNL), gamers have control over the airspace around Schiphol.

They decide for themselves when aircraft depart, where they can land and which route they should fly.

The most successful players can enroll in air traffic controller training.

"Of course there is a whole selection procedure," says Wendy Nordemann, spokesperson for Air Traffic Control the Netherlands.

"But we will definitely include the scores from the game in the conversations."

Screenshot of the game Take Control of the Tower

Screenshot of the game Take Control of the Tower

Photo: own archive

US military uses shooting game to recruit soldiers

LVNL is not the first organization to recruit people with a game.

The Unilever company and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs are also working on it.

Although the best-known example comes from the US, game researcher René Glas knows.

"About twenty years ago, the US military developed a shooting game to bring in people. The game was successful, but it sparked a lot of discussion. Is recruiting with a game ethically responsible?", says Glas, who is an assistant professor at the University of Groningen. Utrecht University is connected.

With the games, companies can appeal to young gamers - and thus a new target group.

And this is exactly why LVNL is breathing new life into its smartphone game.

Nordemann: "In this way, we hope that the profession of air traffic controller will become much more widely known, especially among young people."

“For example, often going game into a game and trying again can prove you have perseverance.”

Bas van de Haterd, recruitment and technology specialist

Unlike a resume or letter, a game can show not only whether someone is resistant to stress, but also how much risk he takes, how quickly he learns from his mistakes or how honest he is. Recruitment and technology specialist Bas van de Haterd says it is the ideal method for job applications. "A good game - with scientific support - says a lot more about your competences than any CV," he says. "A resume tells everything about what you've done, but says nothing about your qualities."

He outlines a scenario: "For example, I like to cycle long distances. As a result, I have probably already covered more kilometers than Tour de France winner Tadej Pogacar. So based on my CV I can win the Tour, because I don't have to put it on here that I've never climbed a mountain before. But with a game I immediately fall through the basket."

Want to know which job best suits your qualities?

Click here for the Vocational Test of the National Vacancy Bank

'Good remedy against discrimination'

Van de Haterd is also convinced that games can prevent discrimination in the application procedure. "It's purely about the performance, not about your name or what you have already achieved before. Whoever gets a top score is good enough." But what about cheaters? "Cheating is also usually tricky, because you're never sure what traits are being assessed. For example, often turning game into a game and trying again can prove you have perseverance."

According to Glas, there are still some snags to the use of games in job applications.

"Games are primarily a useful marketing tool. A game is exciting, challenging and a puzzle. The real work that you are going to do is not always like that. Sometimes that is just boring."

According to him, companies should be clear about this in the application procedure.

"If you recruit someone through a game and they got the wrong expectations because of it, it can still go wrong later."

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