Episode #82

Hiring by Video Game

In the not-too-distant future, the way you play a video game might just matter more than your resume, cover letter or diploma when it comes to getting a job.

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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The traditional job interview is obsolete. That is, when compared to an all-knowing video game that peers into the psyche of every candidate.

Some companies are adding specially-designed video games to their hiring processes. When a job applicant plays one of the games — like the one we test out in this episode, Balloon Brigade — algorithms monitor the "micro-behaviors" within the gameplay to build a detailed, data-driven portrait of his or her strengths and weaknesses. 

"This phenomenon, if it does continue to take hold, will really significantly change the way people are hired, the way people are promoted, and to some extent, the way they see themselves," says the Atlantic's Don Peck, who wrote about these new-fangled hiring practices in the excellent article, "They're Watching You at Work." 

Good hiring is an art, but it's turning into a science replete with video games, intelligence tests and personality quizzes that can know you better than your boss, and maybe better than yourself. But... will this lead to a darker kind of professional determinism, or to a new breed of biased hiring?

On this week's New Tech City, we find out. We get inside these new data-driven hiring practices so you know what to expect. We test out the video games and assessments for ourselves — to some shock and indignation. We hear from the people who make the games. And we show you what it is going to be like when you apply for your next job (so you can start studying). 

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    Music Playlist
  1. Clap Down
    Artist: Jack Ventimiglia
  2. Keeper of the Soul Gem
    Artist: Daniel Paul Kramer
  3. Semblance
    Artist: Kenneth J Brahmstedt
  4. Little John
    Artist: Kenneth J Brahmstedt
  5. Operation Headband
    Artist: Justin Asher
  6. Interstellar Fruit
    Artist: Kenneth J Brahmstedt

Comments [4]

Ned Boyajian from New York City

It's hard to say how this trend will play out at such an early stage. Besides the potential risks you mentioned, what about the privacy implications? If the data these tests produce about applicants' personalities and aptitudes are as fine-grained as their advocates say, that is extremely sensitive information that I hope is strongly safeguarded.

On the bright side, you might look at what Netflix has done, analyzing customer data to predict what kinds of original shows its users would like - the result has been a run of interesting new programs that network executives probably wouldn't have touched. If a judicious use of predictive gaming could help level the field in a similar way for corporate hiring, that could be a good thing for many people who otherwise might not have gotten a foot in the door.

Apr. 24 2014 03:16 PM
Randall_J from Brooklyn

Does this episode really support your opening paragraph?
"The traditional job interview is obsolete. That is, when compared to an all-knowing video game that peers into the psyche of every candidate."

Pretty misleading if you ask me.

Apr. 23 2014 09:06 AM

Look at any uber-successful individual including nearly ALL the tech "geniuses", Gates, Jobs etc. None of them would have "passed" any of these RIDICULOUS "predictive" algorithms.

You can NOT "algorithm" or "tech" the human component.

I call King's New Cloths on this NONSENSE!!

Total B.S.

Apr. 23 2014 08:24 AM

Yet another fine example of cockamamy techno-nonsense!

Reject the digi-slave Kulture™.

Apr. 23 2014 08:15 AM

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