The Role of Artificial Intelligence in Talent Assessment and Acquisition

Many businesses have yet to uncover the essential factor for successful recruitment in a crowded market for talent. Recruiting is a lengthy process, which includes locating suitable candidates, conducting interviews, assessing their skills and determining their suitability for the organization.

It is clear that many organizations around the world (over 40% of them) prefer to outsource their recruitment needs to specialist firms. Those who choose to manage recruitment internally must either employ a full-time team of recruiters or risk overburdening their Human Resources department.

The next step in the process, selecting the most suitable personnel, can be challenging. Unfortunately, some unscrupulous businesspeople attempt to take advantage of the situation by offering kits, methods and “tricks” that are either ineffective or absurd.

If extensive research is undertaken, one may find tarot readings to be an effective method of identifying talent, alongside voice-recognition software, lie detectors, body language analysis, and psychological testing.

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is a widely used psychological evaluation instrument which has faced criticism due to its questionable psychometric qualities and low predictive value when it comes to work performance. Despite this, it remains one of the most commonly used methods of assessing candidate character.

The science of assessing intangibles is called psychometrics.

In the early 20th century, British psychologist Charles Spearman noted a curious phenomenon regarding student grades; he observed that those who achieved success in one subject area tended to demonstrate a similar level of performance in other areas.

Contrary to the widely accepted belief that effort leads to a good grade, Spearman used component analysis – a statistical technique – to uncover an “underlying construct” behind his findings. This “underlying construct” is now referred to as “Intelligence”.

In brief, Spearman is credited with founding the fields of psychometrics (the study of psychological variable measurement) and differential psychology (the field of psychology dedicated to identifying differences between individuals and predicting the results of such differences).

In the past, differential psychology and psychometrics focused primarily on intelligence and personality. However, both disciplines have now expanded to encompass a wide array of other psychological factors.

Studying mental constructs can be challenging, as we can only infer their existence by observing people’s behavior. It is not possible to identify ‘intelligence’ directly, but we can analyze the outcomes of an individual’s choices and attribute part of the result to the concept of ‘intelligence’, as seen in Spearman’s analysis of students’ grade point averages.

It is possible to assess the value of a concept by analyzing people’s behaviors, but, as with any scientific endeavor, the tests used to make such an assessment must be properly calibrated. This process is referred to as psychological validation. The validation of psychological tests can take a significant amount of time, potentially years, and, due to cultural differences, must be redone when exporting a test to a new population.

Research shows that both Intelligence Quotient (IQ) and Emotional Quotient (EQ) are strong indicators of future success in academia and the workplace. Those who score highly on tests which measure these attributes are also likely to perform well in other aspects of life, such as in school and their careers. Would you say that this is worth investing your time in?

The Big Five model of personality testing has demonstrated that specific personality traits can be indicative of success in fields such as sales. While I am an advocate for psychometric testing, it should not be considered a definitive method for identifying and recruiting the best talent. Whilst there is some evidence to support this, the data is not definitive enough to draw any firm conclusions.

The inclusion of personality and intelligence tests, such as the Sternberg Triarchic Ability Examination (S-TAT), in combination with other forms of evaluation can provide an insightful view of a candidate’s analytical skills, flexibility and creativity prior to the interview stage. The S-TAT has been rigorously studied and has shown promising results.

What a perfect union of AI and psychometrics!

Businesses now face a distinct challenge compared to that of twenty or thirty years ago, due to factors such as the increased number of job candidates and the globalization of the industry. Locating the ideal person for the job was once a complicated task, but now there are numerous individuals showcasing their online profiles on various platforms.

Works‘ Staffing Hero, driven by Artificial Intelligence (AI) and employing a sophisticated algorithm to determine which skill sets are best suited to the client’s requirements, is aiding businesses to identify and recruit the most suitable engineering team from a database of over one million technology experts. Customers just need to select their desired parameters and the service will take care of the rest.

In recent times, AI-powered technology seemed like something straight out of a dystopian novel; however, we are now living in a world where AI is present, albeit needing further development. We cannot ignore the fact that AI is streamlining processes in ways that we never thought possible.

Psychometry has been an area of interest in empirical psychology for some time, yet there has been some reticence to incorporate artificial intelligence into the field. This is despite the fact that some of the most prevalent models of cognition are drawn from computer science.

The advancement of digital technology is ushering in a new era of psychometry. Psychologists have long struggled to gain access to a sufficient sample size in order to develop their models. However, this is now becoming more achievable due to increased access to people for test verification and integration with big data.

Psychometric measurements have the potential to have a significant impact on predictive AI. Differential analysis originated in the US military, where it was used to assess the suitability of job applicants for particular roles. Now, the discipline has evolved to provide a wide range of assessments, which aim to measure every aspect of human behavior.

Many companies have used psychometric tests to assess potential employees in the past, but very few have kept the necessary data to train Artificial Intelligence (AI) systems. Without this data, there is a significant amount of groundwork that needs to be done before we can feed psychological characteristics into algorithms.

Still, there is reason to be optimistic…

It is my opinion that the future of psychometrics lies in the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and gamification, and that software developers have a great deal to gain from utilizing the rigorous methodologies of psychology and psychometrics. Furthermore, an increasing number of psychologists are now considering the role of data scientist, whilst software developers have come to recognize the advantages of having psychologists as consultants on their teams.

A valid psychometric instrument is a business poison, but a valid psychometric is a litmus test, as put out by Dr. Knight Craig.

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