Culture Trips

Don’t feel guilty about playing video games, it might land you a job | Games

You’ve all been playing more computer games in lockdown. Don’t deny it – consoles aren’t sold out for no reason.

There’s nothing to be embarrassed about; we need all the help we can get to survive now that we are living 99% of our lives between our own four walls. And, realistically, the alternative is binge-watching old series of Pointless.

Maybe time staring at the screen is far from wasted. Young people have always claimed to be developing real skills while blasting random acquaintances on Fortnite. My seven-year-old seems to think Mario Kart has equipped her for an F1 career. Hefty parental scepticism about these claims is challenged by a recent study that makes the case for employers to check out applicants’ gaming skills, not just their CVs. More specifically, it shows that success at one particular video game – Civilization, a complex strategy game – is correlated with higher scores in traditional recruitment tests for attributes important for managers: problem-solving and organisational skills.

The authors are keen on the “gamification” of recruitment processes, arguing for game-like tests as part of selection decisions because nervous candidates are more likely to be at ease in an immersive form of assessment.

Perhaps we shouldn’t feel too guilty about video-game indulgences – they might just be the route to post-pandemic career success. Or they might just be some harmless fun.

• Torsten Bell is chief executive of the Resolution Foundation. Read more at resolutionfoundation.org

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