game pieceFinding the right candidates for your organization can be tricky. No matter what method you use, from job boards to career fairs, you may never receive the kinds of hires you’re looking for. Frustrating, right?

However, don’t get discouraged just yet! Methods like crowdsourcing — recently written about by Kevin Wheeler — typically bring in better results. But when you incorporate rewards and gamification into your crowdsourcing efforts, you can take your hiring process to a whole new level.

First, let’s go over what crowdsourcing is — and then how you can incorporate rewards and gamification into this strategy.

What is crowdsourcing in the hiring process?

According to Mike Davis, editor for The KickStarter Standard, crowdsourcing is a method to reduce demand on internal resources and enhance the reach of a hiring program. Melissa Hooven, Senior Director of Talent Acquisition for Cornerstone OnDemand, agrees.

“Crowdsourcing is targeting large groups, whether college campuses, employee bases, industry or skill set-related groups, and opening up a forum for them to provide referrals or apply directly.  Most companies will see the ‘large group’ as their employee population,” Hooven said.

Here’s the thing: Crowdsourcing comes in a variety of shapes and sizes. It just may be dependent on what your organization is looking for, the resources you have, or how much reach you desire. Hooven believes methods like referrals are a good way to crowdsource hires.

“Since most large companies can easily say referrals make up more than 30 percent of their recruitment pipeline, an employee referral program is one of the best ways to crowdsource. Additionally, create a community forum on social networks, or host an event like a hackathon to draw general interests that align with your hiring goals,” said Hooven.

Can methods like gamification or employee rewards be used to crowdsource hires?

However, there are other effective ways to crowdsource hires you may not have thought of, namely gamification and employee rewards. The best part is these two concepts can go hand-in-hand or be performed separately.

So, for example, gamification allows small rewards or recognition for good referral efforts that bring in qualified candidates and result in interviews. By using game mechanics to encourage engagement, you can instantly recognize the efforts of employees who proactively participate in the recruiting process. You can do so through leaderboards, which show the progress of each individual, or through extended rewards, which provide incentives to every party involved.

Why does this work though? It’s all about motivation. Your employees and external members of your network are busy people. Although they are probably happy to help in the crowdsourcing efforts, they do have other priorities. So, if they are given something in return — such as rewards —  or, if the process is fun — like adding gamification — your network can then actually feel connected to the strategy because they are engaged in the process.

What are some things to note before you use methods like rewards and gamification?

Although using rewards and gamification in your crowdsourcing efforts have great benefits, you should never assume your internal and external network are schooled on the strategies. A good tactic to keep in mind is teaching them why these methods are effective and how to use them.

“Clearly define how this type of recruiting fits into your overall hiring goals and create a strategy around how you’ll communicate or involve your internal team. Make sure your talent team is ready to handle the influx of candidates associated with crowdsourcing,” said Hooven.

Think about how you’re going to incentivize your network too, especially external members. If you use a referral platform, handing out rewards is automated. However, if you handle rewards yourself, you may have to abide to factors such as tax laws and go through an outside vendor, which can be an administrative hassle and something that makes crowdsourcing less attractive.

In addition, try not to force these methods on your network.

“Keep it optional — not everyone will want to tap their personal and professional networks for this purpose, and that’s OK,” said Leslie Campisi, Managing Director, U.S., at Hotwire PR.

Are these crowdsourcing methods useful in order to find talent?

If you haven’t used these methods, crowdsourcing, gamification, and rewards may seem intimidating. However, when used correctly, you’ll notice they create a better hiring strategy — and even better results.

“Crowdsourcing is absolutely a useful way to find talent. Crowdsourcing hiring gives your team an opportunity to make a contribution to the business outside of their day-to-day job description. And if you’ve made good hiring decisions to date, the people inside your organization will want to keep that high level of talent and culture fit alive by bringing their preferred candidates into the company,” said Campisi.

When it comes down to it, crowdsourcing is a highly effective way to source and then gain the best talent for your organization. And, when you incorporate strategies like gamification and rewards, you’ll understand the power of these methods and why they are necessary in your organization.

What do you think? Do you use crowdsourcing? What about gamification and rewards?

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