LONDON — Want to work for Jaguar Land Rover? You could improve your chances by solving puzzles.
The carmaker announced on Monday that it would be recruiting 5,000 people this year, including 1,000 electronics and software engineers. The catch? It wants potential employees to download an app with a series of puzzles that it says will test for the engineering skills it hopes to bring in.
While traditional applicants will still be considered, people who successfully complete the app’s puzzles will “fast-track their way into employment,” said Jaguar Land Rover, which is owned by Tata Motors of India.
The carmaker’s recruitment effort is unusual but far from unique: Increasing numbers of employers are using alternative methods to hire workers.
Companies once relied on job fairs and advertising to court applicants, but they are having to be ever more inventive to attract candidates with the technical savvy and skills they need.
“The nature of jobs is changing, and what we should be looking for is changing,” said Barbara Marder, senior partner at Mercer, a consultancy that specializes in human resources and has a stake in Pymetrics, a company that makes games for recruitment purposes.
Ms. Marder said such games had not been in use long enough to provide ample data on their effectiveness. Still, she said, they could be more useful than traditional tests and interviews.
Games offer additional benefits, she said, explaining: “They’re very attractive in attracting candidates and keeping the short attention span of millennials. That’s not an insignificant challenge.”
In the case of Jaguar Land Rover, applicants are invited to explore a garage belonging to the band Gorillaz and assemble a Jaguar sports car. Once they complete that stage, they are confronted with a series of code-breaking puzzles.
Other organizations have used games that similarly offered candidates an opportunity to experiment with skills they would actually use on the job and to show off their abilities in a way they perhaps could not in a traditional test-and-interview recruitment process.
• In 2011, Marriott Hotels asked applicants to manage a virtual hotel, serving guests, managing a budget and training employees, all to see if they had what it took to run one of the company’s hotels. Marriott said it hoped the game would help people see how rewarding a career in hospitality could be.
• The same year, the Government Communications Headquarters, Britain’s main signals intelligence agency, tested potential recruits with a public challenge that required they crack a digital code.
Some companies have started using other kinds of tools in their searches for specific traits and attributes.
• Axa Group and Daimler Trucks have teamed up with Knack, which says its games measure traits and abilities like social intelligence and spatial reasoning. One of its games, Dashi Dash, involves playing as a restaurant waiter and serving patrons based on their happy, sad or angry facial expressions.
• Arctic Shores, a games-based assessment company, boasts Deloitte, Xerox and the BBC among its clients. Its games include Yellow Hook Reef, in which participants have to deal with issues like storing fresh food on a ship, which the company says test an individual’s ability to communicate clearly and learn skills.