Imagine playing a series of games as a part of your job application. Instead of your resume, recruiters would see your game results: your cognitive and behavioral traits that make you well-suited for the position.
Tech startup Pymetrics has already made this a reality. Founded in 2011 by two neuroscientists, Pymetrics set out to remove bias in hiring and make the process more efficient. With data from the games, the company claims to evaluate traits such as impulsivity and attention span. It then uses an A.I.-based algorithm to see how the candidates match up with the hiring department’s top performers.
The process enables blind hiring, according to Frida Polli, CEO and co-founder of Pymetrics. The platform doesn’t collect any demographic information such as gender or ethnicity.
Companies such as Unilever, Accenture, and McDonald’s have already implemented Pymetrics as a part of their job application process.
However, critics argue it is hard to say whether A.I. tools like Pymetrics are accurately assessing traits and avoiding bias.
“The research literature is not comprehensive enough to tell us that every game is going to work in every situation,” said Manish Raghavan, a Ph.D candidate at Cornell University studying bias in machine learning. “[AI tools] are only as good as the data we give them. Ultimately, if we are feeding them data that we’ve created through our historically biased hiring processes, they are going to struggle to be significantly better than that without intervention and painstaking testing to make sure they’re not incorporating our human biases.”
According to Pymetrics’ website, Unilever used its platform to assess more than 280,000 applications in 68 countries and reduced the hiring time by 75%.
“We have to build algorithms and technology in a way that mitigates those [algorithmic] biases,” Polli said. “But I think if we just throw out A.I., or we throw out technology as a solution altogether, we’re really throwing away the baby with the bathwater.
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