Gamification: Taylor Wessing using video game to assess trainee aptitude

cosmiccadetsThe rise of gamification within the legal sector is again in evidence (five years after Deloitte predicted gamification as a top 10 tech trend) as Taylor Wessing becomes the first law firm to trial a new video game to assess its trainees’ personality and aptitude.
Cosmic Cadet from psychometric game developer Arctic Shores is being used by Taylor Wessing alongside its traditional assessment methods, after Clifford Chance used the game to test its interns in the summer of 2016. Law firms including Slaughter and May, Withers and Charles Russell Speechlys have also shown interest in the game, with others expected to follow.
Taylor Wessing ran an internal trial of Cosmic Cadet in May of 2016, testing its existing trainees in order to begin validating the results.
With law firms often inundated with applications for training contracts, Cosmic Cadet is used at the very beginning of the application process to help firms decide which candidates should be put forward for interview. The game, which is designed to run alongside rather than be a substitute for more traditional aptitude tests, assesses areas such as candidates’ approach to risk and ability to innovate, social skills and performance under pressure.
The results are ultimately weighted towards a firm’s preferences and, speaking to Legal IT Insider, Arctic Shores founder and managing director Robert Newry, said: “A firm will measure the data we collect against existing people to validate the data and how that matches against what ‘good’ looks like. What you want is to know how the different traits are weighted – we create a bespoke algorithm for each firm and measure it against existing staff. For some firms, learning agility may be more important, or the potential to innovate.”
Candidates are given six challenges and Newry says: “As long as you have a working digit on your hand you can perform the tasks.” The games requires participants to move from planet to planet, with the challenges becoming harder as they move through the planets.
Feedback at Taylor Wessing, where the initiative is being run by graduate recruitment manager Sarah Harte and graduate recruitment partner Amar Ali, has been very positive so far. The UK top 30 firm is using Cosmic Cadet alongside its current recruitment process but not yet relying on the results, with plans to roll out the game more fully in October 2017 if it complements its existing process. Harte said: “One of the biggest attractions for us is the feedback from candidates, who are really positive about it and say it was an enjoyable part of the process.”
For firms that use numerical reasoning tests (Taylor Wessing does not), such tests can be biased towards higher socio-economic groups and men. Newry says: “Firms are trying to deal with the social impact problem in other ways but what else is out there before we came along and said ‘you can measure cognitive ability in an engaging way that doesn’t put people through a stressful aptitude test?’
“If someone is on the threshold, this is another data source so that rather than rejecting the candidate outright, they may be shown to be a really good fit in terms of personality traits.”
Arctic Shores also sends each candidate a report about the assessment and Newry adds: “The biggest complaint among candidates is that they put in hours and hours of effort applying for a job and at best get an email back saying they haven’t been accepted. We send them a really nice report, which gives them a better understanding of their strengths and personality traits and can help steer them towards firms that are looking for those qualities.”
Dentons is currently running a trial of Cosmic Cadet in Dubai while outside of legal, the game is used by the likes of Deloitte and RBS on the graduate recruitment side and by Vodafone in its call centres and retail outlets.
Next year the company plans to launch ‘Skyrise City’, a game designed to assess senior management hires through simulation.
Arctic Shores was founded in 2013 and in April 2014 it received a grant from Innovate UK to trial and develop the software. In 2015 it won an award for innovation from the Department for International Trade, Innovate 2015.