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The Gamification of Hiring 203

First time accepted submitter funge writes "The Economist has an article on Work and play: The gamification of hiring about a start-up that lets you play games to show off your talents to prospective employers. From the article: 'The rules of Happy Hour are deceptively simple. You are a bartender. Your challenge is to tell what sort of drink each of a swelling mob of customers wants by the expressions on their faces. Then you must make and serve each drink and wash each used glass, all within a short period of time. Play this video game well and you might win a tantalizing prize: a job in the real world.'"
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The Gamification of Hiring

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 27, 2012 @11:57AM (#40128685)

    Seriously, WTF is wrong with employers these days??

    Isn't it enough that I went to college and built a solid base of good work I can point to that shows I can do the job?

    If you just want someone reliable who is quick to learn and gets things done, don't put me through the wringer like you're a Bachelorette holding out for Prince Charming!

  • by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Sunday May 27, 2012 @12:05PM (#40128727) Homepage Journal

    We've been asking for a meritocracy for a long time, now. How do you expect to prove your merit without some kind of testing?

    On the plus side, if you try to go to work for a beer bar you can always just play tapper. Or the minigame in Fable.

  • Was TFA ... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by PPH ( 736903 ) on Sunday May 27, 2012 @12:08PM (#40128745)

    ... referring to a job interview for a job as a bartender? Otherwise, what's the point?

  • And how (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Janek Kozicki ( 722688 ) on Sunday May 27, 2012 @12:10PM (#40128757) Journal

    is that related to any skills you might need at work?

  • by Shoten ( 260439 ) on Sunday May 27, 2012 @12:15PM (#40128781)

    A meritocracy is about the merits of what you do...this manifests itself in the hiring process as a 'resume'. Obviously, if you haven't been hired yet, you can't stand on the merits of what you have done for the prospective employer yet, so instead it's all about the merits of what you have done for past employers. But this has nothing to do with playing a video game, especially one that uses a fairly arbitrary skill to determine success. I agree that it'd be useful to have fair, objective and broadly applicable metrics for hiring decisions. But at the end of the day, jobs differ enormously, and so do the required skills, suitable temperaments, and even desirable personality traits. And often those factors differ for the same job, when different companies are compared, due to cultural or organizational differences.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 27, 2012 @12:18PM (#40128817)

    For years my quiz bowl teacher tested membership based on an untimed written test. I made the quiz bowl team each time, and was captain during the one time when I can recall spending a lot of time after everyone else had finished putting down my answers. Our team only performed remarkably well during its first existence, when it was a different teacher and the team had been composed of a different set of people (I can't recall the evaluation process). I was on that team, but contributed no answers to a 2nd place tournament finish. Whereas the best we ever did after that was 4th. In fact, during one of those days with the new teacher, I can recall that we had a fun match between quiz bowl players and other kids in the gifted program and we got beaten. So in this case, the untimed written test served as a poor evaluation for who would be actually good at playing quiz bowl.

    Hence, I would imagine this game would serve as a great way for someone to recognize faces and memorize drinks, but would be a poor way to evaluate whether a clumsy person could actually tend the bar.

  • by The Mighty Buzzard ( 878441 ) on Sunday May 27, 2012 @12:31PM (#40128887)
    Those who can, do. Those who can't, manage.
  • by dbIII ( 701233 ) on Sunday May 27, 2012 @12:39PM (#40128915)
    It looks like the answer here is to keep HR away from the bartender and cut off the cocaine supply to those that let them run with this idea.
  • by blackraven14250 ( 902843 ) on Sunday May 27, 2012 @12:46PM (#40128945)
    The thing is that the example in the summary has a clear application to a specific job (bar tending), not general applicability to all jobs. I could see lots of games like this being created for different professions, and used as a skills check before letting someone work. For this one in particular, it answers a couple of the most important questions for a bartender. Can you manage a bunch of people's needs at once effectively? Do you know the mixed drinks? Those two are the sorts of skills that are hard to quantify via an interview alone, and someone can exhibit them for the employer to see while playing the game.
  • by phantomfive ( 622387 ) on Sunday May 27, 2012 @02:05PM (#40129377) Journal
    I think you're missing the point. The job market for programmers is changing, in Silicon Valley there are now far more positions than programmers. These guys aren't trying to rule out bad programmers, they are trying to attract good ones. (note: if you're going to reply to me saying you still can't find a job, the problem is you not the market).

    When kids from college hear that sort of thing, they think, "cool my job interview is a game!" Then they tell their friends, who are immediately jealous. Remember these are kids who've grown up most of their life playing games, have spent much more time playing games than working. It appeals to them. They want to dance.

    Note, when I say they are trying to attract talent, I mean they are trying to attract cheap college students, not actual experienced programmers. This kind of thing drives me crazy.

    Someday I want to start a company with a bunch of old, experienced, very very good programmers. We will all write solid, readable code, and get things done in an eighth of the time it takes everyone else. It will be wonderful.
  • by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) on Sunday May 27, 2012 @02:59PM (#40129703) Journal

    Because corporations are gathering power over our lives that used to belong only to the government, we need a bill of rights that covers interactions between corporations and individuals,

    Corporations are gathering power over our lives that never belonged to the government.

    There was actually a time when there was something of a balance between the aggregate of labor and the aggregate of capital. People like my grandfather got their heads bashed in so that future workers could have this balance, but an organized, systematic attack on workers' rights by an unholy alliance of the biggest corporations and the corporate royalist politicians like Ronald Reagan and Mitt Romney has created the arena-like atmosphere of today's workplace, where the question is not how small will my annual raise be, but how much of my compensation will I be required to give back to the employer. And those give-backs are certainly not because the corporations aren't profitable, in fact they are profitable at all-time historical levels. Rather those give-backs are meant to create greater separation between a self-appointed elite and the people who actually make the machines go. It wasn't the result of market forces that created this situation, it was the belief that money accumulated is morally superior to money earned. And that sociopathic worldview has destroyed families, communities and sickened society to the point of near collapse. The reason workers are making less, we are told by the likes of Mitt Romney, is because workers are not willing to make less. And tribalism is engaged in the most cynical ways to get people to stand up and demand to not get a pension, to demand to not have the right to collectively bargain, to demand not to be treated with respect. Meanwhile, the "capital management" elite are laughing up their shirtcuffs while voting each other obscene rewards.

    And that balance between the power of capital and the power of labor was not only good for the union workers, but it was good for the entire economy, the entire culture. We had an unprecedented period of growth, where workers at all levels of society could have a small measure of dignity, and expectation of a little better life for their kids.

    "Class warfare" they accuse, when any mention of their ugly willingness to break the social contract. "Class warfare!". They should only get a taste of real class warfare. Maybe that's the only thing that would make them re-think their destructive ways: actual class warfare. Because it makes one reconsider the errors of one's ways when the head of a colleague ends up on a pike.

  • by subreality ( 157447 ) on Sunday May 27, 2012 @03:10PM (#40129777)

    Your challenge is to tell what sort of drink each of a swelling mob of customers wants by the expressions on their faces

    That sounds to me like they want to filter out Aspergers / autism spectrum applicants, but they can't actually say that since it'd violate the ADA, so this test lets them accomplish that in a legally deniable way.

  • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Sunday May 27, 2012 @03:59PM (#40130057)

    Well put.

    The gag is that they learn just that at those management seminars. I kid you not, I was forced to sit through a few of this. It reminded me a lot of kindergarden. Essentially, what you do is sit around and play silly group games. A bunch of people getting to stand on a tiny carpet and have to turn the carpet around without getting off it. I get it, we can only do it if we work together and if some lead and some follow, can I now get out of the armpit of that fat bozo next to me?

  • by dougisfunny ( 1200171 ) on Sunday May 27, 2012 @04:58PM (#40130351)

    Unless they're hiring for the CEO position.

  • by sinij ( 911942 ) on Sunday May 27, 2012 @11:27PM (#40132173)
    Really? Are you hiring for entertainment industry? If not, hobbies (or any other part of personal life) has nothing to do with it and you might as well go with a "unlucky 50% approach" someone suggested above. Most people don't list any hobbies because it has nothing to do with your ability to do the job, and unless you are fresh graduate your resume space is better used for something else.

"If you lived today as if it were your last, you'd buy up a box of rockets and fire them all off, wouldn't you?" -- Garrison Keillor