Employer Branding, Screening, Assessment, Interviewing

Puzzle Solvers Wanted

Asking job seekers to solve complicated puzzles may not provide all the insight you need into skills and ability, but the exercise serves other purposes.

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It helps brand the company as, well, a puzzle solver, which speaks to innovation. It also piques the interest of job seekers who want an opportunity to show rather than tell what they can do for your organization.

Puzzle solving in connection with employee recruitment is not a new concept. Google and the U.S. Navy among others used similar strategies to attract job seekers more than 10 years ago.

Now, driven by a shortage of applicants, particularly for information technology positions, companies are once again putting forth challenges to job seekers.

Revved Up at Jaguar

Automaker Jaguar Land Rover plans to hire 1,000 electronics and software engineers this year. As part of the screening process, it wants job seekers to download an app that has a series of puzzles.

Applicants who don’t use the app will still be considered, the company says, but those who complete the puzzles in the app will have an advantage.

Jaguar has teamed up with the animated band Gorillaz, and is using the band’s mixed reality app that was released earlier this year. The app now features a Jaguar Land Rover recruitment area where job seekers participate in an alternate reality game featuring a series of code breaking puzzles. Job seekers are also asked to assemble a Jaguar sports car using the app.

To promote the app and the puzzle-solving application process, Jaguar has released a video, “Next Generation Recruitment with Gorillaz.” Its message? “Prove yourself, and you can become the software engineer that makes this roar. Prove yourself, and you can be the next in line for greatness.”

Seeking the Smart at Dyson

Home appliance manufacturer Dyson, best known for its vacuum cleaners, takes pride in innovation. The company’s website reads, “One third of all Dyson people are engineers and scientists. Dyson engineers are inventors. We start with a problem. Then we figure out how to make it work better.”

It stands to reason, then, that Dyson would seek puzzle solvers.

To find job candidates with problem-solving skills, the company held a competition in London earlier this year. In the environment, known as The Smart Rooms, contenders had to complete a series of software engineering challenges, which were projected onto the walls, as virtual environments. Successfully completing one challenge allowed for advancing to the next environment.

The winners received a Dyson 360 Eye Robot vacuum cleaner signed by inventor and company founder James Dyson, and no doubt caught the eye of recruiters.

Paula Paula Santonocito, Contributing Editor for Recruiting Daily Advisor, is a business journalist specializing in employment issues. She is the author of more than 1,000 articles on a wide range of human resource and career topics, with an emphasis on recruiting and hiring. Her articles have been featured in many global and domestic publications and information outlets, referenced in academic and legal publications as well as books, and translated into several languages.