The Job Search Game: You May Have A Knack For It

posted in: job search, jobs | 0

by Jay Markunas

A new company called Knack is helping clients find candidates through a non-traditional way.  Sounding like something lifted right out of the 1984 film “The Last Starfighter” (where acing a video game identified and help recruit “Starfighters” for an alien race keeping the galaxy safe), is “gaming” the job process.

The creator of Knack, Guy Halftek, was not happy with the traditional interview methods.  Mr. Halftek hired Psychotherapists, Neuroscientists, and game developers to help create a way for companies to find talent through gaming.  Taking measured attributes from high performing sales person, teacher, doctors, lawyers, or any other measurable job, Knack analyzes that combination of traits, values, etc and puts those into a game to identify a person’s potential.


For example, “Wasabi Waiter” is a game where you are a waiter, and you have to read the emotions of the customers coming into your restaurant and serve them a dish that corresponds to their emotion based on facial expression.  The game measures what you serve, who do you serve, who do you ignore.  The game lasts for 12-15 minutes.  There are multiple decisions and datapoints that Knack collects.  With that data Knack is able to predict who has the behavioral makeup to match the “behavioral signature” of high performance.

Unlike interviews and assessments, games are engaging and pulls out the true self and potential of the person.  Additionally, many jobs have an educational requirement (“college degree or higher”) and following the traditional model of job search may not identify innovators like Steve Jobs or Michael Dell — who didn’t complete college.  The job search “game” may be able to identify the next innovator.

Will this catch on?  Knack partners with companies and universities.  Shell Oil has already started using Knack to help them.  Bain Management is beginning to use it to identify Management Consultants.   When you are playing that next video game, you may just be finding a new job.  Have fun!




Leave a Reply