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And you thought it was just an interview…

Zelda Zinger says here’s a new craze emerging in the digital gaming scene.

No, it does not involve the hurling of birds, angry or otherwise. In this game, you are a sushi waiter deciding who needs to get served and what they want. And while it sounds a bit dull - if you are like me you wonder quite why people find online entertainments so diverting - it is not just a game.

Instead it the latest in “workforce technology” which allows employers to suss out who will make the best employee. The game tests a variety of skills and users - some big employers in the US, according to reports - seem to think it can winnow out which prospective new start is going to be a star. Or at least it can do so better than a pile of CVs. 

The game, Wasabi Waiter, is being developed by a Silicon Valley company called The use of gaming technology and software  seems to be the tip of an iceberg in which “big data” is used as a way to manage and develop “talent”. 

It used to be that being able to adequately cover up CV gaps created by that stint in prison and having the right school tie was enough to get your foot in the door of an employer. But now, monitoring the reams of data produced by key strokes, social media use, even little electronic badges that track how you interact with others is set to be the future of your career development. The new field of predictive analytics, based on human behaviour measured through digital processes, is the combination of the long held desire of employers to choose and develop the right staff with, finally, the tools to do so.

So far, so chilling. 

But a major report by Don Peck, deputy editor of the US online magazine, The Atlantic, argues that use of algorithmic assessment tools isn’t as creepy as it sounds. Instead, the reams of data created through tests or other psychometric software actually acts as a leveller. 

No matter how much they try to avoid bias - racial, sexual or otherwise - recruiters unfailingly tend to choose candidates who are more like themselves. The new software not only does not care what school the candidate went to or what their religion is, but it also seems to be good at predicting who will be great at sales or computer coding even if they haven’t proven themselves in the field yet.

That said, the positives of the growing trend for people analytics are handed off for an increasing acceptance employees will be under constant monitoring. 

If you are not quite a star performer, the technology might give you examples of how to alter your behaviour to come across more like a winner. Or it could be an electronic noose when it comes to redundancy time. A further downside is your electronic report card could be something you carry around with you forever, a permanent record of that off day you entertained thoughts of strangling your colleague. 

But it looks like the smart employers are going to be using this brave new world of data to get the best employees. You have been warned.