What Uber's New Mobile Game Gets Right About Recruiting


Over the past five years, the popular (and recently notorious) ride-sharing app Uber has grown from an idea to a juggernaut valued at an estimated $50 billion with drivers in 300 cities across 57 countries.

And along with its somewhat polarizing public image of acting more like a frat house than a company, Uber has one universal dilemma: drivers don’t always know how to get where you want to go.

Last week, Uber took a step toward remedying this problem by launching a mobile iOS game called UberDRIVE. The purpose of the game is for players to navigate a real city map (currently San Francisco only) earning more points to unlock new cars and new parts of the city by taking more efficient routes.

This game is a great way to get an inside experience to what it’s like to be an Uber driver and help current drivers navigate a new city, but I also believe recruiters can look at this game as a platform to up their recruiting in the future.

Be creative and think outside the box

If a company like Uber can think differently when it comes to recruiting, you can too.

For years, Uber used a number of traditional methods to recruit drivers—ad campaigns, social media and word of mouth—but traditional methods were just too…traditional.


Think about the online presence of your ideal candidate. How can you think differently and reach him or her like never before? What are enticing parts of the job that potential candidates find most valuable?

UberDRIVE’s virtual currency feature shows players how much money they could earn actually working as an Uber driver. And while salary isn’t always the most enticing part of a job, in Uber’s case, it could convince players to sign up in the long run if they can associate a real number with their good driving.

Senior product manager and game designer Mike Truong worked hard and found a way to recruit drivers who are not only interested in being an Uber driver, but drivers who can also act as ambassadors for their brand across the world.

Turn traditional job postings on their head

We’ve all seen a traditional job posting on a job board or company’s website. They’re tedious. They’re tiresome. They’re…boring.

Convincing candidates to work for your company starts long before meeting them face-to-face. In fact, the job posting is a cornerstone of your company brand and your company’s candidate experience.


When planning and eventually crafting your job posting, think about the candidate experience. Take a little extra time to create something candidates want to read and apply to. And above all, make the application instructions clear and easily accessible.

Uber meets its potential future candidates where they are. Not only can you sign up in the game to start the process of becoming a driver, but players can also upload applications and screening materials directly from inside the game.

Additionally, as players advance in the game they are met with a prompt asking them if they want to sign up to become a driver. It is more than just a game; it’s a first round interview.

Decrease turnover and dropout rate

Here’s a less than ideal scenario: you spend hours and hours sourcing candidates, going through resumes, forwarding resumes to clients for approval, scheduling interviews, conducting interviews, filling the position, and in two months, the candidate you found leaves the company. 

And while there’s no cure-all solution for eliminating turnover rate or predicting if a candidate is serious about a position, something like UberDRIVE could be a great way to see if a candidate is serious about a position or a company before spending valuable time and effort chasing a ghost.

Making a candidate complete a series of tasks before calling him or her or scheduling an interview could: 

  1. Save money on employee turnover and training

  2. Manage candidates’ expectations about the true nature of the job

  3. Ensure only passionate and dedicated people apply to job openings

Another example of this recruiting technique is with the French postal service company Formaposte. It uses a similar game called Jeu Facteur Academy that allows players to experience the daily routine of a rookie postal carrier. Since implementing the game, Formaposte has decreased the dropout rate for the company from 25 percent to 8 percent.

Now I know not every company—and especially small business—has the time or resources to create a mobile game for recruiting. And this is far from an endorsement for Uber as a company. 

But, by taking time to look at this example and think outside the box when it comes to recruiting, you can be proactive in reaching talented and dedicated people that can add instant value to your business and brand.


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