New tech taps into human resource needs

Jan 24, 2014

Knack’s Wasabi Waiter digital game.; Credit: Courtesy Knack

Human resources is expensive. The process of hiring new employees, or replacing old ones, is costly and frequently inefficient.

According to MIT economist Erik Brynjolfsson, there’s currently a trillion dollar market for moving human capital into new work positions. That may be easier said than done. The length of the hiring process has doubled since 2009, and now includes a slew of new factors — phone and Skype interviews, face-to-face meetings, tests, puzzles and more.

Some new tech companies have started to address the effectiveness and cost of human resources. Video games have become a larger part of job interviews. Companies like Knack, which makes a game called Wasabi Waiter, partner with companies who are looking to hire employees.

Knack works with Shell, Stacked restaurants, and several medical groups to optimize the search for high-potential employees who will fit in well.

But are these games really effective? Is it possible to measure interpersonal qualities as well as you might during a face-to-face interview? Who benefits from new hiring methods?


 Guy Halfteck, founder and CEO of Knack, whose games are being used by Shell, UC Irvine, and others

John Boudreau, Ph.D., Professor and Research Director at the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business and Center for Effective Organizations; co-author of ‘Beyond HR: The New Science of Human Capital’

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