Subscribe to our daily newsletter
Your next job interview could involve playing a game against AI
To improve hiring efficiency and success, companies are starting to leverage neuroscience gaming and AI to identify and attract the best people.
A recent survey found that 31% of new hires quit within their first six months on the job. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, during the last half of the year from April 2017 to April 2018 over two million people left their jobs each month — for the first six months, it was over 3 million. All of this churning points to a major headache for businesses seeking to identify and hire the right people. The traditional paradigm of HR personnel digging through stacks of paper resumes clearly isn’t working that well — and there’s nothing to suggest that digital resumes are any better. And this is more than a mere annoyance for companies: Filling open positions costs money and time that’s lost when the wrong person is hired. This is why some companies are turning to hiring methods that leverage the latest in cognitive neuroscience, AI, and gaming.
Hiring with neuroscience games
Some large companies are taking part in this new trend, Tesla, Google and Unilever among them. All three work with a startup called Pymetrics.
Pymetrics uses neuroscience games “developed by the global neuroscience community based on decades worth of research,” according to their website. Aimed at getting to the “DNA of cognition + personality,” candidates perform a series of tasks designed to let the platform’s AI and machine learning assess each candidate’s job-critical characteristics.
To avoid the same kinds of prejudices that can hobble the hiring process when done by humans, the company has developed an algorithmic auditing technique that identifies and removes bias from its tests.
Since Pymetrics works with a range of companies, candidates wrong for one job may be just right for another in the company’s network and will be identified for further consideration.
Having an AI conversation
Of those three companies we mentioned above, Unilever is taking the tech one step further. After candidates have made it through their Pymetrics assessment, they’re scheduled for a video conference session with HireVue software. HireVue uses video and AI to track “the content of the verbal response, intonation, and nonverbal communication.” HireVue assesses how well each candidate fits the desired position. (No one from Unilever is present at this session.)
HireVue’s site says their product can fill open positions 90% faster, improve final candidate quality by 50%, and increase retention by 60%. by collecting as many as 25,000 data points in a session and then analyzing them with their own proprietary machine learning algorithms developed by their resident team of I-O (“Industrial-Organizational) Psychologists.
Only once HireVue’s AI has signed off does the candidate move on to the next step: A visit to Unilever's office for a live interview, and where he or she can see what it’s like to work there.
Making career advice fun
One of the metrics cited by Pymetrics is that only 17% of candidates consider the process of applying for a job acceptably painless. A company digging down into the lack of joy in job-hunting is Knack, a company that produces game apps for candidates that can provide them with valuable career guidance based on strengths gameplay reveals. The apps, currently available at Apple’s App Store and at Google Play, incorporate behavioral analytics to suss out a person’s positive characteristics.
When you’re done playing, the app lists your:
- knacks — individual skills
- Powerknacks — a group of skills that complement each other
- Superknacks — collections of skills that suggest a specific career path
Knack can also share candidates’ knacks when filling positions.
Just the Beginning
It seems obvious that companies will increasingly turn to AI, machine learning, and neuroscience to help them locate and hire new employees. It just makes sense. Our growing ability to crunch massive data sets — both in neuroscience and in business — should make these tools smarter and smarter. AI and machine learning, carefully programmed and vetted, promises also to make hiring fairer, more efficient, and may go a long way in helping each of us find our place in the working world.
The team caught a glimpse of a process that takes 18,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 years.
- In Italy, a team of scientists is using a highly sophisticated detector to hunt for dark matter.
- The team observed an ultra-rare particle interaction that reveals the half-life of a xenon-124 atom to be 18 sextillion years.
- The half-life of a process is how long it takes for half of the radioactive nuclei present in a sample to decay.
A study looks at the ingredients of a good scare.
Catching fear in a bottle<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNDYyNzg1Ny9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYyOTQwMTcyMn0.WtpJ1E_dhK2o09fBpKARynj4_p5NXeklgsXsbd7xr9w/img.jpg?width=980" id="8ff51" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="f10dd9188b173f4a36e85e9325507c6b" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
Credit: Photo Boards/Unsplash<p>Previous studies have tracked physiological signs of fear arousal, but none have established a one-to-one correlation between that arousal and specific, actual fear events.</p><p>Andersen says that much of the research has been conducted in lab settings with weak fear stimuli, observing subjects as they experience things like scary videos. Scares in these situations tend to be weak and difficult to measure. Even harder to track in these situations is the link between enjoyment and fear. </p>
Eyes everywhere<iframe src="https://player.vimeo.com/video/109695164" width="100%" height="480" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="267ba87cfb8591ed5830499574d2272a"></iframe><p>Andersen and his colleagues conducted their experiments at <a href="https://dystopia.dk" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Dystopia</a> Haunted House, a commercial attraction in Vejle, Denmark constructed in an old, run-down factory. The Recreational Fear Lab has a long-standing partnership with the spook shack.</p><p>They outfitted 100 volunteers with heart monitors and sent them on their terrifying way through the 50-room horror mansion. The facility incorporates a number of fright mechanisms including frequent jump scares in which a sudden threat takes a visitor by surprise.</p><p>Researchers surreptitiously observed their participants on closed-circuit video as they made their way through the attraction. They tracked each individual's scares, scoring them for intensity according to their visible reactions. After exiting the attraction, individuals self-reported their experiences in the haunted house.</p><p>Combining these self-reports with observer notes and each participant's heart-rate data gave the researchers subjective, behavioral, and physiological insights into the ways in which fear is experienced, and when it's a good thing or not.</p>
A pair of inverted U-shapes<p>In analyzing their data, the researchers saw two separate inverted u-shape curves. One depicted participants' enjoyment based on their self-reports and observed behavior. A similar u-curve was detected in their heart rates showing that just the right amount of heartbeat acceleration is associated with fun, but too much is too much. It's the terror Goldilocks zone.</p><p>Says Andersen, "If people are not very scared, they do not enjoy the attraction as much, and the same happens if they are too scared. Instead, it seems to be the case that a 'just-right' amount of fear is central for maximizing enjoyment."</p><p>The research suggests that being scared is enjoyable when it represents just a quick minor physiological deviation from one's normal state. When it goes on too long, however, or triggers too severe a physiological change, it becomes disturbing. Game over.</p><p>Andersen notes that this is not dissimilar to the factors known to make interpersonal play enjoyable: just the right amount of uncertainty and surprise. These are, maybe not coincidentally, also the ingredients of a successful joke.</p>
A meteorite that smashed into a frozen lake in Michigan may explain the origins of life on Earth, finds study.
- A new paper reveals a meteorite that crashed in Michigan in 2018 contained organic matter.
- The findings support the panspermia theory and could explain the origins of life on Earth.
- The organic compounds on the meteorite were well-preserved.
Meteor streaks through Michigan sky<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="80b7f30820153b35fc515592d7475f53"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/EPu2qnqMYBo?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span>
The meteorite that smashed into Strawberry Lake carried pristine extraterrestrial organic compounds.
Credit: Field Museum