BUSINESS
01/23/2014 11:58 am ET Updated Jan 23, 2014

Video Games Could One Day Replace Job Interviews

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Forget Google-style brain busters and followup interviews, the best way to vet potential employees may just be through a video game.

Some companies -- like Xerox and Shell, for instance -- are considering sorting potential job candidates using a video game to compile and analyze data about applicants, according to The New York Times. Allowing applicants to be tested remotely instead of coming in for interviews, such a game could help companies lower the cost of the hiring process, which can run higher than $3,000 per new employee.

The concept isn't that out of the box. Many large companies already use applicant tracking systems, or ATS, as a way to sort through the thousands of resumes they receive weekly. ATS software scans incoming resumes for titles and descriptions to sort those worthy of human eyes. Games simply take the concept one step further.

But don't expect your "Dead Rising 3" skills to land you your next job. These games aren't for your living room console, but are instead gaming-based assessment tech. For example, the Times reports that "Wasabi Waiter," a game from developer Knack, measures how easily applicants get distracted by putting them in the role of a sushi waiter recommending new dishes to customers. The Times also lists a number of startups trying to optimize the workplace by using big data to offer games that test the chemistry between office team members, among other assessments.

Guy Halfteck, CEO of Knack, said in an interview with TechTarget that the games provide an infinite amount of data in a smaller amount of time than most interviews. "It's such a complex system that every millisecond of gameplay translates into hundreds of data variables," he said. "What you chose to do, what you chose not to do, how quickly you did things, how you changed your game play over time -- all those behaviors help us tease out your abilities and personality characteristics."

Despite their adoption by some companies, these games haven't proved yet that they can top your company's recruiting manager. Some, like John Sumser, principal analyst at human resource analytics firm HRxAnalysts, are questioning the gaming method. In the same interview for TechTarget, Sumser questions how well Web-based behavior can correlate to real-life performance. Halfteck himself even acknowledges that older generations might not take to the games as quickly and could write them off as silly or unimportant.

"Generation Y people are very connected and Web-savvy, so playing games and using them to showcase who they are makes perfect sense," Halfteck said. "With older employees, the adoption curve is not going to be the same."

As technology continues to evolve and more sophisticated algorithms are written, however, it's not that far-fetched to think that your next interview won't involve a round or two of "Wasabi Waiter."

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