making the right hire is more than a game of chance.

gamification is helping employers eliminate bias and choose the best candidate.

Hiring the best candidates for your job vacancies in today’s competitive labor market is undoubtedly challenging. Great talent have many options when job hunting, and even workers are “ghosting” their employers by walking off a job never to be heard from again. These trends point to increasing pressure on companies to make the right hiring decisions more quickly so they don’t lose valuable candidates.

For some organizations, making these decisions in a shortened cycle may be difficult as sourcing and assessing qualified workers require considerable time and effort. Even when presented with a prescreened slate, a number of hiring managers and stakeholders may be involved in reaching the final decision. Each step in the recruitment process can be drawn out and time-consuming, leading to candidates to abandon the application in favor of companies that make offers more quickly. 

Fortunately, advances in technology are helping many employers shave precious time off the recruitment cycle. Tasks such as sourcing and assessment are becoming automated so talent acquisition professionals can find and present the right talent to hiring managers more expeditiously. By ensuring these candidates are a good fit before they are even presented for consideration, offer acceptance rates and time to hire typically improve.

One company helping employers to accelerate the outcomes of this part of the recruitment process is pymetrics, which was founded in 2013 by Frida Polli, a former academic neuroscientist at Harvard and MIT. She observed that recruitment very often failed to match talent to the right roles, resulting in poor engagement and premature termination of employment. This can be a frustrating experience for both employers and new hires. Polli sought to develop a better approach for companies to more accurately assess candidates. 

According to pymetrics, the average job receives 250 applications but 30% to 50% of the hires fail to perform as expected. Furthermore, 83% of candidates rate their experience as poor. And at a time when unconscious bias is preventing many employers from accessing all available talent, the company says resume review leads to women and minorities being at a 50-67% disadvantage.

“Humans have biases. Unfortunately it’s not possible to eliminate all bias from their decision-making process. With technology, however,  you can leverage algorithms to minimize the bias and make the best hires,” Polli said. 

She explained hiring managers often make selection based not with data but a gut feeling that is very subjective. What she wants to see is more data-driven decisions. “A majority of the time, they don’t have any ability to articulate why they made a decision. With technology, an algorithm will provide a way to overcome a lack of diversity in the hiring process,” she added. 

To do this pymetrics has developed a series of computer exercises to objectively measure behavioral attributes as it relates to job performance. The technology uses these behavioral signals and AI to match candidates to jobs where they are most likely to succeed. Through machine learning, algorithm auditing, and science-based gamified assessments, pymetrics can identify unique behavioral attributes that lead to success in a role while removing biases based on pedigree, gender, socioeconomic status, or racial identity. More importantly, the company’s algorithm-auditing technique has been open-sourced, so anyone can use their method to audit their algorithms for potential bias.

The company’s technology has been recognized by organizations such as the World Economic Forum and received media coverage in publications such as the New York Times, Forbes, Inc. and others. 

Gamification of talent assessment isn’t new, but it is attracting the attention of more employers. Companies such as JP Morgan Chase, L’Oreal, KPMG, Unilever and others in recent years have deployed this form of assessment as part of their recruitment process.

Researchers from MIT and University of Sydney have segmented gamification into three parts:

  • Diagnostic – used in attraction and enrollment of talent
  • Formative – used to demonstrate candidates capabilities and learning
  • Summative – used to sort and rank talent

They argue that this comprehensive approach can have a significant impact on the value assessment and keeps candidates engaged and informed. A persistent criticism of the recruitment process is that applications enter a black box and never see the light of day again. Gamification can help provide more transparency and feedback so applicants aren’t left wondering about their assessment performance and enjoy a better candidate experience.

Another way in which pymetrics is hoping to improve the candidate experience is through a new solution, Candidate Redirection, which takes the candidate’s pymetrics’ results – a sort of “talent passport” – and compares those results against the requirements of not only the role to which they applied but also other job openings at the company. So even if they don’t qualify for the original role, they can be considered elsewhere within the organization without further action. 

In addition to intra-company redirection, candidates can use their results to be compared against other roles at other pymetrics clients. This continues to open doors for candidates to find their best-fit job at around 100 other pymetrics clients around the world. This means not only do candidates have access to multiple employers but employers also have access to a pool of qualified applicants, reducing the time to source. pymetrics is currently piloting the program and expects to roll this out across its entire customer base in the near future.