Over the last few years, few departments have changed as much as HR. From the rise of business-oriented social networks like LinkedIn to advances in automated resume parsing and sorting technology to breakthroughs in how we think about the role of human resources as a concept. All of these changes have dramatically shifted the way HR is handled. The way employees are found, screened, interviewed, and hired has become less of a gut reaction and more of an exact science.

That’s not to say that HR has become easier. Quite the contrary, many industries are facing a dramatic shortage of employees for key positions, and recruiters are having to work smarter AND harder to find the best talent for any given role. In fields like technology and marketing, the battles for top talent have pushed salaries and benefits through the roof, and have made it incredibly difficult to both identify and attract these workers. Meanwhile a strong re-focus on efficiency following a rough period in global economics has meant that companies also have to find workers that will give them the most performance per dollar spent. These two factors have forced HR departments to create innovative new strategies and recruitment tools for finding the diamonds in the rough: employees who will excel at their jobs without costing the company an arm and a leg.

Enter the following three recruitment tools: gamification, EQ testing, and remote hiring applications. Each one, in its own way, allows HR departments and recruiters to do their jobs in a smarter way, and find better talent.


If you’ve been paying attention to the technology space at all, you’ll know that gamification is all the rage in consumer products. In an app or device, it can help consumers lose weight or make smarter spending decisions. In the HR world, it can engage prospective employees early in the process while providing valuable feedback to recruiters.

The concept of gamification is simple: people like games. Turn a chore like doing sit ups or cleaning your home into a game, and suddenly people are excited about something they used to dread. The underlying principle works by turning extrinsic motivation (being motivated by things outside of yourself, like money or prestige) into intrinsic motivation – the natural urge to compete and win, even if winning doesn’t necessarily mean some big flashy prize.

As an HR recruitment tool, it can be a great way to transform the pre-interview screening process into something that potential employees actually want to go through. Innovative HR departments are turning what used to be boring slogs through a long questionnaire into competitive and engaging challenges, and using sophisticated software to track candidates as they work their way through. Not only do the applicants have more fun with the process, which in turn gets them more excited about the job, but HR gets a wealth of insight into how that candidate is likely to perform in their actual job roles.

EQ Testing

As with every science, psychology grows and changes over time, developing newer and ever more useful concepts. Our next HR recruitment tool is a byproduct of advances in the field from the last couple of decades: emotional intelligence, often abbreviated as EQ (for Emotional Quotient).

EQ was developed to supplement, and eventually supplant, IQ as a way to measure employee potential. IQ, or intelligence quotient, was used for many years as a way to try to screen out the most promising employees out of a candidate pool. Unfortunately, multiple studies have confirmed that IQ is a terrible predictor of success. Whether personally or in a company setting, IQ was no better at predicting if someone would be successful than a flip of the coin. Obviously, that made it less than ideal for placing high-level employees.

EQ changed all that. Instead of looking at whether an employee had raw intelligence, it was created as a way to measure the skills and abilities that would actually help an employee work better within a company. These skills included social skills, communication ability, and internal factors like drive and motivation. Unsurprisingly, it created a much more accurate way of predicting whether an employee would work out. Tools, such as the EQ-i 2.0, can help hiring managers and leaders assess and quantify these skills to offer a better idea of a candidate’s emotional intelligence.

Remote Hiring Tools

One of the biggest challenges facing industries where talent is highly competitive is their geographical clustering. Take tech and software firms as an example – there are many advantages to being in Silicon Valley, but it comes at the price of constantly fighting your neighbors to recruit expert employees. That’s why remote hiring deserves a spot on this list of critical HR recruiting tools – it allows HR departments to greatly expand the boundaries of their talent search to find critical employees far from home.

While remote working has taken the lion’s share of the spotlight, much more important are the tools that allow companies to find and hire workers that may be far away from them geographically. At their most basic, these tools involve little more than the ability to post job ads nationally, globally, or targeted to specific remote areas, and the ability to then interview the candidates that respond. In the past, this may have required looking for local newspapers and then conducting phone interviews that left out a lot of the visual cues that are critical to watch in an interview.

Modern alternatives go so much further: some can identify areas rich in the skills you’re looking for and specifically place job ads targeting those areas. Others allow for seamless video interviews that combine video calls with interactive skills challenges. Some even allow the interviewee to record answers to interview questions at a time of their choosing and send the resulting videos along with their resumes. Many now offer all of these options and then some in an integrated suite, giving HR departments and recruiters a powerful tool to find top candidates in areas that haven’t already been bled dry by their competition.