I have a secret: I play Boom Beach. It turns out I’m not alone. When you picture gamers, you probably think of teenage boys skipping school or hoards in Taiwan stampeding to find a Pokémon Go character. But gamers are everywhere with over 2.1 billion players worldwide. People spend 1.75 billion minutes a day playing Candy Crush alone. Mind boggling, right?
I started playing a couple of years ago upon request from my younger brother to join his “Reapers task force.” He knew his older type A sister well enough to know he couldn’t persuade me with, “Wanna play a game where you blow stuff up?” Instead, he posed his plea as, “We need smart people like you on the team to win” and, “Half the fighters are girls and there’s no blood.” How could I refuse? Through years of practice, my brother has learned to manipulate me quite well.
Little did I know, my brother was doing me a huge favor. As I recently learned from Jane McGonigal, Director of Game & Research Development, Institute for the Future, playing video games fires up three distinct areas of the brain.
Even though gamers spend 80% of the time failing, play can make you a “super-empowered, hopeful individual.” Gaming can fight depression and slow cognitive decline.
Finding Amazing Employees Who Have Game
So what can the gaming culture bring to the business world? One of the great takeaways of Jane’s talk was using probing questions about games in the job interview process. Ask, “Are there any games that you play (sports, online, chess, other?)” followed by, “What does it take to be good at that game?”
This is a genius question which reveals so much about a candidate: how they have fun, how they view their skills, how they process complex scenarios, etc.
Want to Learn More?
Here are a couple of articles exploring the benefits of gaming: