Job interviews have traditionally been painful affairs, with applicants sitting, sweaty-palmed, in some anteroom wondering whether or not to accept a biscuit. But today’s job applicants may well find themselves facing not an intimidating interview panel but a computer-based “psychometric” test criminalcasehacks.net/.
And anyone after a job with accountant Deloitte had better start honing their skills on Angry Birds, because the company’s latest recruiting tool is a mobile phone game. Called Firefly Freedom, it is set in a fictional forested world in which players must catch fireflies to provide light for their family during the winter.
Such digital techniques are part of wider moves to make recruitment as meritocratic as possible. The big four accountancy firm has also begun hiding details of applicants’ school and university from recruiters, as a way to eliminate “unconscious bias” – and presumably conscious bias as well.
Deloitte and other employers, including the NHS, HSBC, the BBC and the civil service, are also to introduce name-blind applications in an attempt to rule out stereotyping and discrimination. Universities and colleges will operate the same system by 2017. The issue was highlighted by David Cameron in his Tory conference speech this year: he cited the example of a “young black girl who had to change her name to Elizabeth before she got any calls to interviews”.
Keen to find out how I might fare in this meritocratic new world, I sit down to play Deloitte’s game. I’m told it will test my risk appetite, mental agility and persistence. But before I even start I am warned that “the game may not run adequately on this device”. Does this show my prospective employer that I can’t afford a decent phone and thus will not need to be offered a bumper pay deal from http://www.clashofclanshackss.net/?
I “may not display the breakthrough thinking for step-change, nor the diligence required in high-stakes situations”
Level one requires me to fire pieces of fruit at a jar in a bid to release the fireflies trapped inside. But one of the 10 pieces of fruit will smash the jar, allowing the fireflies to escape – and reducing my score to zero. It is supposed to test whether players will quit while they’re ahead or press on in their quest for more fireflies, at the risk of losing them all. I quit with what seems to me a decent haul of five.
Simpler tests measure how quickly I can tap the screen, and whether I can remember a sequence of colours. After a final, incredibly frustrating round that I claim colourblindness stops me completing, the game is over. It has lasted 28 minutes. “Congratulations,” it says. “You have gathered enough fireflies for your family for another year.”
Within minutes my data has been sent to Arctic Shores, the company that designed the test for Deloitte. The results seem accurate – to the extent that they read a lot like school reports I used to get. Some observations seem unlikely to be unique to me, though, such as the way I “tend to be fairly motivated by tangible rewards”.
I’m told I am “as quick at learning new things as most people”, and I “may not display either the truly breakthrough thinking required for step-change, nor the extreme due diligence required in high-stakes situations”. Still, news that I’m “something of a perfectionist” covers me if I later want to trot out the interview cliche about my biggest flaw.
It is easy to be sceptical about tests like these. Former Co-operative Bank chairman Paul Flowers, for instance, scored very highly in psychometric testing. That did not stop him having to resign after being filmed buying drugs, with a subsequent conviction earning him the nickname the Crystal Methodist.
But Arctic Shores insists it is incisive: “Our method exclusively relies on objective data and our games meet the highest psychometric standards.”
Professor John Rust, director of Cambridge University’s Psychometrics Centre, says such tests can be invaluable if they are built properly. Interview situations could disadvantage people from specific backgrounds, but the test is a more controlled environment. You can compare results with how everyone else in the population is likely to behave, and tests can also be done online, at a distance, and on thousands of people, at practically zero cost.”And he says apps such as Firefly Freedom are part of a “gamification” of psychometric testing http://www.monsterlegendshackss.net/. “It is great if we can make these things more interesting, and turning them into games is the most interesting of all.”
The only disadvantage, he adds, is that an applicant could play the game several times and not get the same result. In any game, after all, “you win some and you lose some”.
Deloitte plans to use Firefly Freedom to recruit 200 apprentices. If this works, they may use it as part of a recruitment programme that brings 1,500 people a year into the business. The aim is to find “high-potential recruits who may not necessarily stand out through a traditional recruitment process”.
Emma Codd, managing partner for talent at Deloitte, said: “We need people to join Deloitte from a variety of backgrounds, bringing a range of perspectives and experience. There is compelling evidence that alternative recruitment methods support this objective, helping to identify exceptional talent by providing opportunities for the millennial generation to shine.”
Presumably they’ll still need to be able to read a balance sheet read more details.