What could you eat forever?

4 Things HR Can Learn from BuzzFeed Quizzes

Melanie Chapman News & Press

If your Facebook News Feed is anything like mine, the breakdown of updates looks something like this:

pie chart showing 66% of a facebook news feed as buzzfeed quiz results

BuzzFeed quizzes are everywhere right now. You’ve probably taken a few, and have learned what city you should live in, what career you should actually have, and even which Al Roker you are. (I am Al Roker lifted by Ryan Gosling, in case you’re wondering.)

ryan gosling lifting al roker in the air

Yes, these quizzes are pretty silly. But they also are Damn Good Communication that we professional communication people can take a few pointers from. In fact, here are four things HR pros can learn from BuzzFeed quizzes:

1. People want to hear about themselves.

BuzzFeed quizzes are irresistible because they’re all about you. What job should I have? What dinosaur am I? The quizzes tap into our innate self-centeredness.

What does this tell us as HR professionals? Always address the individual. Even in communications aimed at the masses, you can make your messages feel more personal by always addressing “you” rather than “employees” or “clients.”


When employees enroll in our HSA, we match contributions up to 5%.

Instantly more personal with “you”:

When you enroll in our HSA, we’ll match your contributions up to 5%.

2. People like choices…but not too many choices.

In the “what city should you live in?” quiz, you’re asked which food you could eat forever. Here are the choices:

graphic of a quiz with 9 different food choices

This obviously doesn’t represent the full delicious universe of food options. However, when we’re presented with too many choices, we get overwhelmed and are less likely to act. So BuzzFeed gives us limited options, knowing that we’ll be less frustrated by picking a food that doesn’t 100% match our favoritest food ever than by a never-ending list of food choices.

We can use this knowledge in benefits communications to make sure we’re not overwhelming people with options. Sending an email? Give one, clear call-to-action. Displaying a range of benefit plan options on your intranet? Allow people to filter their options down to the ones that fit their needs-or better yet, provide them with a personalized recommendation.

3. People want to be surprised.

The whole quiz concept is chock full of surprise. Which decade should I live in? Which Spice Girl am I? I cannot wait, I am bouncing in my desk chaaaair!

But surprise doesn’t stop there. The BuzzFeed quizzes are like a trail of mini, happy surprises, designed to keep you entertained and engaged.

Another question in the city quiz:

pick a hashtag

On the surface, this doesn’t appear to have anything to do with which city you’re destined to live in. Scratch that-hashtags have nothing to do with what city you should live in. But it’s fun! And unexpected!

Humor and unexpected elements grab attention and keep it. Don’t be afraid to put a little personality into your benefits communications. People will appreciate that you’re not hitting them over the head with soulless talking points.

4. When people are delighted, they’re happy to share.

The “Which city should you actually live in?” quiz spawned a pretty epic chain of emails here at Jellyvision. And I bet we’re not alone. People couldn’t wait to share what their city was, or why the quiz was totally right or totally wrong.

The lesson here? Create content that people can’t resist sharing, whether that’s because it’s so useful. Or so right. (I knew I was the next Bill Gates!) Or so wrong. (Ugh, I am the farthest thing from a Do-si-do!) Or so anything. Make something that sparks a conversation, and you won’t have to agonize over whether you used the exact right keywords.

All images courtesy: buzzfeed.com except my super scientific Facebook chart.