The Similarities Between Wordle and Talent Acquisition

February 23, 2022
Author: Rosie Greaves, Contributing Writer

Josh Wardle’s widely popular game, “Wordle,” quickly gained momentum at the start of this year. Released to the public in October 2021, it swiftly formed the daily routines of thousands of players and even joined the New York Times Games list.

The game's principle is simple. First, players have to guess the word hidden behind the tiles. You have six guesses, each of which must be a word found in the dictionary. When a guess is entered, the game uses color-coding to indicate whether the letters are correctly placed or appear elsewhere in the target word.

We're hooked - and that got us thinking. The principles of such a puzzle are similar to those in talent acquisition. Here's how...

Wordle and Talent Acquisition

What Do Talent Acquisition Pros Have in Common With Wordle Players?

At the time of this writing, the world of talent acquisition resembles a guessing game.

The target?

Finding the optimum value proposition to attract top talent.

In a disrupted labor market with nearly 11 million job openings with just 8.7 job seekers, filling vacancies with skilled candidates is tricky. Thanks to the pandemic, employees had a chance to reevaluate their work life and are now seeking better benefits, flexibility and most importantly:


Unlike Wordle, where the game arbitrarily allows for six guesses, talent acquisition pros only have one shot at setting the right starting salary to attract high-quality talent. Fail to get this right, and your competitors will likely snap up these applicants.

Similar to Wordle, a little strategy goes a long way. In the case of the word game, a smart player will first try words with as many vowels as possible to decipher the key components of the target word.

Likewise, recruiters base their best salary guesses on the core skills required for the job. In both instances, filling in the blanks with reasonable assumptions is much easier with the right foundation in place.

In the case of talent acquisition, recruiters can then refine their salary offer based on candidate experience, location and soft skills. Determining a fair and competitive salary is much more manageable with this information in-hand.

Once you’ve cracked it, it’s time to share your end result. This is one last similarity between Wordle and talent acquisition. Once Wordle players successfully figure it out, they’re encouraged to share their results on social media. You’ve probably seen a few of your Facebook friends share their results already. Likewise, with talent acquisition, once you’ve settled on an appropriate compensation package, make this clear in your job posting.

Trust us, this goes a long way toward attracting higher caliber talent. The stats bear this out: LinkedIn reports that 70% of professionals want to hear about salary from a recruiter, and a Glassdoor report found that money is the prime motivator for 67% of job seekers.

Talent Acquisition Doesn’t Need to Be a Guessing Game

As entertaining as puzzles and guessing games are, professional talent acquisition should not be a gamble. While you can make educated guesses regarding compensation, determining a hires precise expectations is difficult.

That’s where data-driven software like LaborIQ can give you the competitive edge. LaborIQ determines average salary rates by pulling insights from thousands of data points. The tool can inform you about median salaries for specific roles, recommended wages for attracting and retaining talent and how location affects compensation. You’ll also gain insights into how salaries are projected to rise over the next few years. These insights can keep you ahead of the curve to ensure top talent won’t find a better offer.