Computer Based Hiring — Creepy But Here to Stay

There was in interesting article in the Wall Street Journal last week called “Meet the New Boss: Big Data, Companies trade In Hunch-Based Hiring for Computer Modeling.” In part it said…

“For more and more companies the hiring boss is an algorithm. Jobs that were once filled on the basis of work history and interviews are left to personality tests and data analysis. 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 a disability claim or steal…Powerful computers and more sophisticated software have made it possible to evaluate more candidates, amass more data and peer more deeply into applicants’ personal lives.”

This sounds creepy to me, especially the part about peering more deeply into applicants’ personal lives.

But things are moving in this direction. The Journal article reports that global spending on talent-management software was $3.8 billion in 2011. If this trend continues, I bet you’ll be seeing internet ads for how to game the software pretty soon.

Don’t fall for those ads. If you have to figure out how to game the system, the job probably isn’t right for you anyway. You’ll be unhappy in it if you do get hired and will end up looking again. The Journal article had a mini four item paired choice test. I took it and answered as honestly as I could. The results showed that I would be a good fit for an “employee trainer job” which is exactly the type of position in which I began my career in business.  So the software worked.  It nailed the type of job in which I was likely to flourish.

The common sense point here is related to the career advice I provide in Tweet 7 in my career success book Success Tweets. “Figure out what you really want to do. Work you love will make it easier for you to create the life and career success you want and deserve.”

Being desperate enough to try to game some software just to get a job – any job – flies in the face of this advice. If the software excludes you, so be it. Chances are you wouldn’t have liked the job – or more important – done well in it anyway.

But if you figure out what you really want to do with your life, no matter how many algorithms they throw at you, you’ll be fine.

So if you find yourself in a situation where you are asked to complete an online questionnaire, answer honestly. If you get excluded, chances are the job isn’t a good fit for you anyway.  If it is a good fit for you, you’ll get invited to an interview where you’ll be able to strut your stuff and nail an offer.

My best career success advice as we enter this brave new world of computer based hiring is simple common sense. Stay true to yourself and you’ll be fine. Answer those questions honestly. Don’t worry if the computer excludes you from a job.

That’s the career advice I found in the Wall street Journal article on algorithm based hiring. What do you think? Please take a minute to share your thoughts with us in a comment. As always, thanks for taking the time to read my daily musings on life and career success. I value you and I appreciate you.

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