April 15, 2024

Your Next Job Interview Will Be With A Computer

Forget about all the old metrics the next time you are searching for a job.  Time tested hiring practices that used to evaluate candidates based on prior job history, expertise and personal interviews are being thrown out the window.  Believe it or not, the new approach for hiring an employee is to let powerful computer software make the decision.


According to the Wall Street Journal, many of the previous assumptions made about how to hire the “right person” have been thrown out the window in favor of software programs developed from analyzing large amounts of data.

When looking for workers to staff its call centers, Xerox Corp. used to pay lots of attention to applicants who had done the job before. Then, a computer program told the printer and outsourcing company that experience doesn’t matter.

The software said that what does matter in a good call-center worker—one who won’t quit before the company recoups its $5,000 investment in training—is personality. Data show that creative types tend to stick around for the necessary six months. Inquisitive people often don’t.

“Some of the assumptions we had weren’t valid,” said Connie Harvey, Xerox’s chief operating officer of commercial services.

After a half-year trial that cut attrition by a fifth, Xerox now leaves all hiring for its 48,700 call-center jobs to software that asks applicants to choose between statements like: “I ask more questions than most people do” and “People tend to trust what I say.”

For more and more companies, the hiring boss is an algorithm. The factors they consider are different than what applicants have come to expect. Jobs that were once filled on the basis of work history and interviews are left to personality tests and data analysis, as employers aim for more than just a hunch that a person will do the job well. Under pressure to cut costs and boost productivity, employers are trying to predict specific outcomes, such as whether a prospective hire will quit too soon, file disability claims or steal.

At a time when getting a job is very difficult, a prospective job applicant now has to worry about how to outsmart a computer.  Maybe somebody can write a program for that.

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