All Work and Some Play

All Work and Some Play: A Guide To Gamification In Workplace Training, was published by Skilledup in March 2015. The article talks about the use of gamification in the workplace. In context of gamification for recruitment they featured HackerTrail, below is the extract. If you wish to read full article click here:

Gamification & recruitment

Gamification has also been used in hiring, although results appear to be mixed. L’Oreal’s game Reveal and Marriott’s 2012 Farmville-style game My Marriott Hotel are attempts at this. While My Marriott Hotel was reported by Forbes to have not produced results and is no longer available on Marriott’s Facebook page, there are other gamified apps that are alive and well.

Case in point: HackerTrail, a business that pits developers against one another in a variety of online challenges. The winners of the challenges receive prizes — points, gift cards and the opportunity to interview with other companies for a job.

The company grew out of founder Tushar Tejuja’s experiences in corporate America.

“Having interviewed and hired over a hundred people in different countries, I experienced an absence of adequate and appropriate tools to tap the millennial mindset,” he says.

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HackerTrail is still quite new. Tejuja launched the site in July of this year, and since then about 15 companies of all sizes and a department of the Singapore government have used the site to find workers.

The site allows employers to host their own challenges. They can invite specific candidates or open the challenge to the public. The intent is to sort through job applicants to find the best coders.

Why gamify recruitment? “This goes back to the need of tapping and engaging the Gen Y workforce,” Tejuja explains. “Even personally, thinking back on experiences of recruiting or being recruited, almost always there seemed to be a lack of consistency in the hiring process and a subjective method to filtering candidates. Gamification is a great way to spark interest and engage wider pool of candidates.”


Related Reading: From Zero to Hire in 10 days


Code your way to a new career

This article was originally published on IDA (Infocomm Development Authority) blog in March 2015.

“Technology will positively disrupt the way the recruitment industry operates, for recruiters, employers and candidates.”

Participants at IDA’s HackerTrail

Winners of the IDA HackerTrail challenge have the opportunity to play a more active role in the public sector’s digital transformation.

Winning a recent coding competition helped three young software engineers embark on a new career with the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) to develop apps for various public agencies as part of the government’s digital transformation.

At the IDA HackerTrail challenge organised by the Government Digital Services division, contestants had to submit their problem-solving codes online timed against the clock. These were evaluated in real time by IDA’s coding engine which assigned a score and rank to each entry. Participants also had to respond to various scenario-based questions and case studies with their answers reviewed by an IDA panel.

Said Mr Mark Lim, Deputy Director of IDA’s Government Digital Services: “Software developers like to be challenged so we made this competition tough. Selecting candidates through a competition may not be new – Google does this – but what we have done is to tailor ours specifically to the requirements of the job, testing not just their technical skills but also their problem-solving abilities.”

Noting that the competition created quite a buzz within the industry, he added, “In a sense it’s a new way to brand IDA. With more than 200 people taking part, it allowed us to select the very best.”

Overall winner Mr Leow Wei Jie (left in picture above, with Mr Mark Lim), 29, said, “When I first heard of the online competition, I thought that I would just give it a try for fun. The competition was tough, quite tricky. Some of the codes I came up with worked in some situations but not others so I had to do quite a bit of thinking and tinkering around with my coding solutions.”

“I didn’t think I would win much less that it would be a stepping stone to a new job but it has all worked out well,” said Mr Leow, a former infocomm officer with another public agency who is now with IDA’s Government Digital Services.

The competition’s runner up, Mr Chong Yun Long, 25, said some time after the contest ended, a few of the participants were called up for interviews. “They showed us around IDA and the development work that it was doing. This was all very interesting and exciting. Everyone here is so professional with a high degree of technical skills. I couldn’t wait to get started.”

Taking third spot in the competition was Mr Goh Yew Tee. He, like the other two winners, joined IDA in February, working with Government Digital Services to provide solutions to various public agencies.

The Government Digital Services division helps spearhead the digital transformation of government by making use of emerging digital technologies and methodologies to develop solutions for citizen engagement and outreach.

Two of its recent innovations which received wide public acclaim for their user-friendly interfaces and appealing designs are the SingStat and OneService mobile apps.

The SingStat app provides convenient access to over 200 frequently requested statistics spanning across 25 data categories, including Population, Prices, Labour, Manufacturing, Services and International Trade. The data is presented in various chart formats and can be drilled down to provide more details.

There’s also the OneService app, which was launched by the Municipal Services Office, makes it more convenient for members of the public to send their feedback on municipal issues in Singapore. The app automatically routes each feedback to the relevant agency so that more timely service and response can be provided.

With the winners of the IDA Hackertrail now onboard, the general public can look forward to even more useful killer apps in future from the Government Digital Services division.

Read the original blog here.

From Zero to Hire in 10 days with HackerTrail

This Article was originally published on TECHINASIA, in Sept 2014.

Hiring is often a sign that good things are happening in a startup, whether it be that they just received funding, or have just gotten the go-ahead to expand their operations. On the other hand, it is also a very tiresome and excruciating process to undergo. An index created by University of Chicago economist Steven Davis revealed that US employers spend 25 working days on average to fill a position. That is essentially a month of under-productivity, and can cause a startup’s progress to sag in the meantime.

That’s not all. According to Tushar Tejuja, who has hired over a hundred people across several multinational corporations in different countries throughout his career, the recruitment landscape is chock full of problems:

“Firstly, candidate resumés look so similar, which makes it tough to distinguish actual skills, leading to false positives and false negatives. Secondly, it can be a very expensive process for employers who end up hiring a recruitment agency and paying them a fee of 15 to 25 percent of the hired employee’s annual salary. Thirdly, the entire recruitment process lacks transparency and engagement for the candidate and the employer, making it a ‘hit or miss’ for both.”

Having faced this problem for years, Tejuja eventually decided that enough was enough. Like many before him, he turned to technology to solve the problem of effectively sourcing and assessing talent – and so HackerTrail was born.

“We believe that one of the most critical challenges in the recruitment process today is the ability to match the right candidates to the right job,” he emphasizes. “At present, there is a fair bit of ‘noise’ in this area that ultimately impacts business productivity. In order to alleviate this noise, our focus has been on sourcing and selection of the right candidates.”

Putting the fun in hiring

HackerTrail is by no means the only recruitment-based startup out there. Locally, startups such as Glints and Ideatory are working hard to solve this issue as well. However, Tejuja says that they have set themselves apart from the rest with an emphasis on gamification in their recruitment process.

Here’s how it works. The HackerTrail team works with clients to translate the typical dry job descriptions into custom, gamified challenges, and candidates are then invited via social media to complete them. By reviewing the challenge outcomes, Tejuja claims that employers will be able to narrow down the right candidates and eventually find that perfect one.

Tejuja calls it a “win-win situation for both employers and candidates”, largely because gamification attracts more candidates to take up the challenges, as opposed to legacy job descriptions. “We focus a lot on the ‘Gen Y’ mindset. If you want more millennials to join your company, you need to get into their heads and see what excites them,” he emphasizes. “You need to find a way to get them interested.”

Here’s a peek at a recent campaign that HackerTrail created for the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA), in which they gave away a MacBook Air to the winner:

From zero to hire in 10 days, here’s how this startup is radically improving recruitment

“The 15 to 20 percent fee that our clients save on recruitment usually goes into prizes that further entice candidates to give the challenges a shot,” Tejuja reveals with a smile.

At the moment, candidates can be assessed via objective coding challenges and/or subjective scenarios. “We work with our clients to translate a job description into challenges that make sense for that role,” Tejuja says.

From zero to hire in 10 days

Since launching in June, their client list has been growing steadily, including both early-stage startups and established MNCs alike. Their most recent client was the IDA – their biggest catch so far.

Things had initially started off slowly for them, though. Without proof of their prowess, their first clients had to take them on by faith. One of them was Singapore-based travel startup Flocations, which was looking to hire a web developer in Indonesia with a very specific set of skills – Python, Django, and AngularJS. “They had previously tried conventional methods of hiring, such as posting on job boards, to no avail – they had zero leads,” Tejuja explains.

Flocations managed to land a hire in just 10 days using HackerTrail. “Within a week, we had reached out to about 2,200 potential candidates, of whom 181 engaged with the social media campaign we had launched,” he recalls. “Of those, six took up the challenge, and we picked the best one.”

Tejuja adds that the team was able to set up the recruitment challenge in HackerTrail’s Job Campaign platform within just 10 minutes, and he claims that this is the norm for all the clients that they service. “We estimate that it takes about 15 to 20 minutes for recruiters to fill out a typical job description. We want to take even less time than that,” he says.

Creating a self-serve platform

In the near future, Tejuja wants to make this model scalable by creating a self-serve platform for HackerTrail’s clients where they will be able to create and control their own campaigns. For more complicated hires who would need to possess a variety of skills, the team will still have to work closely with the client to create a custom campaign.

Customization necessarily requires a certain amount of labor, and that’s typically hard to scale. However, Tejuja says that the team is structuring their current campaigns very carefully with the aim of creating templates for future clients.

As it is, the solution is tailored to sift out the best technical talent for the respective roles. How about other soft skills, such as communication and leadership, that are becoming increasingly more important in startups where most employees have to ‘double-up’? Tejuja assures Tech in Asia that challenges factoring in a soft skill component are currently in the works, and will indeed be included in campaigns very soon.

HackerTrail currently earns revenue by charging a flat-fee per campaign, or a ‘spec’ fee, which comprises of a lower initial fee with the rest coming in when the campaign is successful.

While the team has picked up some seed funding earlier this year, the startup is looking to raise another round to expand to the rest of Southeast Asia. Tejuja reveals that he wants to expand to Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines first as he sees a lot of opportunity there.

Read the original article here.