Hiring without Humans

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This topic contains 12 replies, has 9 voices, and was last updated by  Debbie Hopkins 6 years, 8 months ago.

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  • #152951

    Henry Brown

    INTERESTING Food for a discussion….

    From the Atlantic:

    The Future of Hiring: Human Resources, Without the Humans

    Imagine a scenario where your next job interview isn’t face-to-face, but face-to-screen. There are no questions about your former work experience and office habits. There’s simply a computer game. If you win, you get the job. If you lose, game over.

    They’re called “employment simulations,” and they’re gaining popularity among high-tech firms that are seeking data from prospective employees that you can’t get from sit-down interviews.

    Today’s hiring technologies go way beyond basic online personality assessments or the use of business intelligence solutions to mine information from a resume database. In a typical employment simulation, candidates participate in online “video games” that leverage simulation software to determine how well candidates perform in actual job situations. In some cases, these simulations take the form of virtual contests featuring open enrollments and winner-take-all access to vocational opportunities.

  • #152975

    Debbie Hopkins

    Sounds acceptable if the job duties will be 100% individual telework, computer-facing, with no human interaction. Otherwise, it could be a very bad move to hire someone with no concept of how that person handles F2F communication. Call me old-school, but I still think interpersonal communication is a necessity.

  • #152973

    Mark Hammer

    There is certainly a rapidly growing interest in the extent to which electronic assessment paradigms can improve upon traditional paper and pencil tests, and provide assessment that is more “ecologically valid” and has greater face validity for candidates. I’ve seen interesting presentations on streamed media embedded in things like situational judgment tests 14 years ago, and there are all sorts of options for more immersive assessment environments these days, I’m sure. But unless one is hiring by the hundreds or thousands for jobs where the selected individuals won’t be reporting to you directly, such simulations will likely be restricted to first-tier screening tool by most hiring managers, and not used to make a selection, merely to assist in doing so.


    Well, a bunch of reasons. First, I doubt whether such approaches will be able to completely wrestle the adverse impact thing to the ground, so something else with known adverse-impact specs will have to supplement, and maybe overshadow, simply to make selection legally defensible. Doesn’t mean that such simulations necessarily have adverse impact; merely that one doesn’t know what degree of impact it does or doesn’t have. Being “cool” or efficient doesn’t hold up in court when you’re being accused of discrimination in hiring.

    But a second, and I think more important, reason is that managers feel the need to see the evidence first-hand when it comes to selection. You could have the most validated paper and pencil test on earth, but no manager would accept a selection based on that alone. They would insist on interviewing because if they’re going to have to work with that person, or have other people who report to them working with that person, they’re going to want direct first-hand evidence that the person is not going to blow up in their face. In a sense, interviews are a sort of simulation, except that rather than simulating for the candidate what tasks they would be regularly encountering on the job, it’s me – as manager – simulating for myself what it’s like to work with you. And of course, there could never be any e-tool tailored to every single position that could do that for reasonable cost, and negligible development overhead.

    That’s why so many managers stil have to have their arms twisted to use professionally-developed and validated employment tests, but trust their gut when it comes to interviews as the final common pathway when it comes to selection decisions. It’s also why most managers would probably place more creedence in a referral from a trusted source than in a test score.

    I’m not saying the interview necessarily does a better job at making a pick than a paper-and-pencil or electronic tool would. What I’m saying is that if a manager is going to be accountable to someone else for low productivity, or poor morale, or high turnover, they’re not going to leave selection up to anything automated. They will look at the test scores, but they are still going to want to see evidence with their own eyes that this is a good hire.

  • #152971

    Terrence Hill

    I can’t think of one government job that doesn’t require at least some interaciton with others, whether they are co-workers or customers of the service provided. I’m sure that these simulations are just part of an integrated selection process that involves a review of the resumes, interviews, and other screenings required to hire new employees.

    Any technology that can be used to provide a realistic preview of job expectations, as well as realistic, behavior-based analysis fo the applicant’s competencies can only help to ensure that a more approriate selection is made. Simulations have been used for years to train employees in essential job skills. Why not use them to evaluate the potential skills of applicants?

  • #152969

    Mark Hammer

    Part of effective selection involves balancing off that which brings in a sufficient pool of talent to sift through, against the demands of how much it will cost, how much time it will take, and sometimes how much disruption it will create, to process and assess all those candidates. One of the devices a person can use to achieve that balance is certainly automated mechanically-scored selection tools that can whittle a mountain of applicants down to a smaller pile of candidates, but there can be a price to pay in relying too heavily on that.

    As Terry notes, a more “authentic” RJP can be provided by simulations of the sort described in this thread, and referred to by Henry. While you can’t depend too heavily on self-screening either, RJPs provide another means for whittling down the number of candidates to a more manageable quantity where one can now afford to invest the time in more labour-intensive assessment so as to make a better pick.

    I look at selection as being like match-making. One is trying to find a good fit not only from the vantage point of the employer, but also from the vantage point of the individual. People have a right to be happy in their work, and if identifiable aspects of the job are not going to have you strolling in to work with a smile on your face every day, then it is only fair to let people know about them so they can focus their efforts elsewhere. I’m all for anything that avoids luring people into jobs that end up making them unhappy.

  • #152967

    Corey McCarren

    I think it’s great as an element of the hiring process, but not as the hiring process. Possessing the ability to properly perform your job duties is of utmost importance, but its also important to be able to fit in with the corporate culture, get along with co-workers, ect. I think it could be very useful to determine which applicants actually get interviews, but not as a bypass for interviews.

  • #152965

    My wife did one of these for a class. A real person in a pre-recorded video asked her questions. Then she hit “record” and gave her response by video. After completing the 10 questions (she could hit playback to review and do as many “takes” as she needed to get it right), she hit submit. Voila! On to the “recruiter” (this ended up being her teacher, who coached her in advance of the real, face-to-face interviews).

    I’m not opposed to using this approach for a first round…but feel like there should be some direct interaction in the process before hiring.

  • #152963

    Mark Hammer

    My basic point is that whatever such methods yield in the way of predicting subsequent job performance, retention, or whatever other outcome one is interested in, for the majority of both candidates and hiring managers, if there is no human-to-human interaction at any point in the process, you can pretty much scratch face validity.

    There is a phenomenological aspect to both competitions and selection that I think we too often overlook. I would be among the first to acknowledge that if you have been unemployed for a while, whatever gets you a paycheck is fine by you. But, barring those sorts of circumstances, candidates generally wish to be selected for who they are and what other humans can clearly see they are capable of. If there is no human witness involved, then they have not been “picked”; they have only been processed.

  • #152961

    I’m with a lot of people here. I think this could be an interesting way to assess certain skills in a candidate, but I’m not sure I would want all of my employees selected by a machine. Conversely, as someone who has NO SKILL when it comes to video games, I certainly wouldn’t want this to be the only way I could get a job!

  • #152959

    Dennis Snyder

    Suppose HR finds this suite of tools to be an effective method of managing the hiring process. Stats get reported as they always do to support or modulate decisions made for software and applicant acquisition. Since HR has this cool tool at the front end of the hiring process it could be adapted to post-hiring, i.e. counseling and dispute resolution and other unpleasant HR functions that make an autmoated solution more attractive. You know how hard it is to get an IT position filled because HR doesn’t understand it, so all the other business units get their positions filled first. How far will this go? Yes, I read the other posts that state this is intended only as a tool in a suite, but we all have been there when something that smells successful gets morphed into something that blots out the landscape. My question is not only the limits of the application, but also the ethics of those tempted to use it as the sole hiring tool and additional application in pshychmetric measurement and selective response to other HR issues that HR would rather not deal with because its “too hard” like dispute resolution, negative counseling, and difficult issues like retirement and Guard/Reserve problems that are complex, lengthy and detailed with little daily interaction that keeps HR fluent in policy and procedure. Just having the software is a temptation to reduce HR staffing levels. So, this isn’t just “Hiring without Humans”, its also “Retention, Moderation and Termination without Humans”. I wouldn’t work for that company, and have walked out of interviews (EDS, IBM) where it was clear the company wasn’t fully behind its front-line staff with all the hiring game-playing and showmanship.

  • #152957

    Jana Opperman

    On a slightly different aspect of applying for a job electronically-I have tried to apply to work part time at Kohl’s and after doing it several times and the wanted sign was still up I spoke with the manager to ask why I wasn’t called in since I applied. They told me to keep reapplying, they couldn’t hire me until the electronic application got to them! My 18 yo son keeps applying to Petsmart and they still have the help wanted sign up too, the manager there said apply and keep calling until they get to know him on the phone, they will try to get the application moving for him.

    It seems like a waste of a good persons time-one has to “find” the correct triggers to get your application through the electronic process. My Kohls electronic application may be programmed to screen for my age or sex for all I know and not allowing me to be interviewed because I am over 50 years old, or maybe I entered a “expected” hourly pay that is too high-which would have been explained to me in a face to face meeting and therefore I could willingly be able to go for a lower amount. I want to know how a citizen can check on this process to verify if descrimination is taking place? Do I ask the FCC to look into it or civil rights?

    My older son had problems getting accepted into nursing school because the college pays too outsource application reviews in a different state, the company refused to get the application reviewed in a timely manner even when the college asked for it. What good is that? The college extended the “due date” to apply because of this. I’m curious if anyone has gone through an electronic application process and would rate it a positive experience?

  • #152955

    Programs fail to take into account that there is more than one way to arrive at an answer. Programs are limited to the scope and knowledge of the programmer. It completely ignores the more creative or innovative approach that is needed to help streamline processes which improves workplace effeciencies. Many truly qualified candidates, and maybe the best and brightest, may not make it through an automated screening process.

    I did electronic testing for a job. The program for the test failed me because I did not follow the process, which used only mousing, to achieve the goal. My final products were perfect. After a protest and talking to the testing firm, they agreed that if the product looked like it was supposed to, and I achieved the desired result, the ‘failed’ test should be noted as a pass. I use keystrokes for entry whenever possible because it is more effecient than mousing.

    Certainly agree with Mark’s comment about not being picked, but processed. And Dennis’ , “I wouldn’t work for that company.”

    A lot of young people out there who are great at video games may not have good interpersonal skills. Though these days many games require ‘teams’ and interaction with other virtual players, they do foster collaboration to blow each other up.

  • #152953

    Mark Hammer

    I guess we need to distinguish between “hiring without humans” and “hiring without humanity”, eh?

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