Machines will soon do all the hiring

Job applicants may soon stop prepping interview answers and brush up on their gaming skills instead.

By Kristen Buter
A man plays a driving video game. (File/UPI Photo/David Silpa)
A man plays a driving video game. (File/UPI Photo/David Silpa) | License Photo

(UPI) -- The latest wave of jobs to be replaced by machines might just be human resources -- in an odd contradiction -- as more programs are developed to find the perfect employee.

Technology companies including Corp. and Evolv Inc. are developing online surveys and games that can tell whether a job applicant will make a star employee.


For online questionnaires, such as the ones developed by Evolv and used by companies inlcuding Xerox, the software uses the responses of a company's best employees to gauge job applicants. The software can assess applicants for anything from minimum wage jobs to investment banker.

According to the Labor Department, some 11 million Americans were looking for work in July, yet 3.7 million jobs went unfilled. In the age of Big Data, such hiring and recruitment software can do away with the traditional job interview.

“You have this enormous pool of people that’s being missed because of the way the entire industry goes after the same kinds of people, asking, did you go to Stanford, did you work at this company?” said Erik Juhl, head of talent at Vungle Inc., and formerly a recruiter at Google and LinkedIn. “You miss what you’re looking for, which is -- what is this person going to bring to the table?”


To help him find the right people, Juhl began using video game developed by Knack to assess job applicants. The game records and analyzes the player's behavior down to the millisecond.

The game, called Wasabi Waiter, is played as sushi server. The player must identify the mood of animated customers and bring them the menu item labeled with the matching emotion. As a timer ticks away, the applicant must also clear empty dishes while tending to new customers.

It may sound like a simple online game for kids, but Knack's game measures attributes including conscientiousness and the capacity to recognize emotions to predict an applicant's future at the company.

New York-based ConnectCubed has also developed software to determine the personality and cognitive abilities of job applicants based on questionnaires and video games completed by top employees at those companies.

While such automated assessments may seem like the way of the future, many have doubts.

"My concern is, with only a 9.5-minute sample of behavior, is that really enough?" said Frederick Morgeson, a professor of management specializing in personnel psychology at Michigan State University. "Are we sampling enough of those behaviors to be confident that we’re capturing what the person might do in the totality of their complex behavior?"


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