There is a narrative that says that the dawn of the 21st century has brought significant changes to our structures of work and economics. I won’t dispute that, but I’ll also say, the old way of doing things is still firmly entrenched and pushing against the status quo requires considerable effort and savvy. Even then, swimming upstream is hard.
Social media regularly serves as the 21st century’s equivalent of snake oil. Broad claims about the “new frontier” often reveal, when you look beneath the veneer that The Who were right; “meet the new boss, same as the old boss.” Not always, but often enough to know that things still are oriented to a certain way of conducting business.
LinkedIn runs articles and blog posts each day from various “thought leaders.” Like this article.
It’s the story of Knack, a hot startup that’s been garnering a boatload of attention. It’s founder and CEO, Guy Halfteck, believes that HR and employee selection has been flawed. You think?
What his new company does is build app-based video games that allow a better read on who you are and consequently, a possible better fit for a job. Designed by a team of neuroscientists, psychologists, and data scientists, Knack claims their tools better assess human potential.
According to Halfteck, play one of them for just 20 minutes, and you’ll generate several megabytes of data, exponentially more than what’s collected by the SAT or a personality test. This should be met with excitement, I guess.
This is the intersection of Big Data and HR; of course, you’ll have to sell one half of the equation, an industry staffed by dinosaurs and risk-averse administrators, on a new concept. Based on my experience, I’m not holding my breath. Then again, if a CEO suddenly got excited and told the HR director to move in this direction, then it could happen.
Still, there’s a lot invested in our antiquated higher education system and its high-priced bonanza of selling degrees and four-year college options to students willing to take on greater and greater amounts of debt for a piece of paper that may, or may not lead to a job offering a worthy return on the investment. The matrix that sorts this and the host of players selling consulting services and the national SHRM culture, all have a vested interest in things staying just the way they are.
Pushing back against that Leviathan is one Herculean task.