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Wall Street May Use Computer Games to Find Talent

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Some banks will be looking at more than just applicants’ resumes this recruitment season. They will also be checking out candidates’ gaming skills.

No, we’re not talking about anyone’s Xbox technique. But at least six major banking firms will be using online video games grounded in neuroscience and big data to help match candidates with jobs.

Pymetrics, a New York City start-up, is behind the movement to reinvent the way companies think about how they choose candidates, and it’s starting with the finance sector.

“The recruiting process is a little bit broken,” said Frida Polli, CEO and cofounder, of Pymetrics.

“I have yet to meet anybody who thinks the resume is an incredibly great piece of information about anybody, especially when you are 22. What kind of 22-year-old’s resume says anything about them, really?”

Polli, who has a PhD in neuroscience from MIT, along with her team of six created a game-based recruiting tool that companies and universities are using to determine which students fit better at certain jobs in specific firms. So far they are in the pilot stage or negotiations with four major U.S. financial institutions and have proof of concepts underway with two of the top five U.S. banks, Polli said.

The platform is currently in beta, but is launching for the banks to use this recruiting season.

Basically, Pymetrics works with companies to assess their top 50 or more employees in specific divisions using its neuroscience games online. The games are simple and measure things like a person’s attentiveness and impulsiveness. (Test your own skills on Pymetrics website)

The prospective employees’ gaming results creates a profile of his or her strengths. Likewise, student applicants who have completed Pymetrics gaming system also have a profile created. Pymetrics compares the students’ profiles to the company profiles to determine which firm would likely be a better fit for the candidate.

It’s not designed to be a competition, because different jobs require different characteristics. For example, if a game reveals that a person is impulsive, it’s not necessarily a bad quality because that can be a strength in positions like business development and sales, Polli said.

“It’s only an upside to students because it’s a sourcing tool. We are going to recommend you to a bank where we see you will be a good fit. But if you want to apply to another bank independently, they will never know that you weren’t a match,” Polli said. “It will always feel like a win situation for them.”

But the use-cases for Pymetrics platform go beyond just recruiting students straight out of school. It can also be used to better place employees already within an organization and could be used as a way for recruiters to better search for new employees, Polli said.

While Pymetrics, which is backed by Khosla Ventures, touts itself as “the next generation job marketplace” it’s not aiming to completely replace services like LinkedIn, at least not yet.

“The resume, which really is what LinkedIn is, it’s a searchable place of online resumes cannot provide the level of information about a candidate that a game-based assessment can where you are uncovering their social and cognitive profile,” Polli said. “So we are different than what they do and I think it adds that third layer of recommendation engine tools that is sort of missing.”

Reprinted with permission.

Image credit: CC by Michael Daddino

About the author: Cadie Thompson

Cadie Thompson is a technology editor at CNBC.  She is always plugged in and yet also wireless.

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