A Bat Signal for Super-Employees
Interview with Linda Frietman, CEO and Founder of IamProgrez
European Business: What can the gamification of an organization’s recruitment process achieve which traditional approaches cannot, and why should job seekers play along?
Linda Frietman: We use gamification techniques for levels, real-time feedback, changing avatars and backgrounds in our assessments to achieve two interrelated purposes: Since most of our clients send our assessments to candidates as part of their pre-selection process, we have to make sure to keep the candidates’ drop-out rate as low as possible. Hence, it is vital that our gamification techniques ensure that a candidate will stay in the program until the end of the assessment, because we need to obtain that data. This means that the process has to be fast, fun to complete, and it has to allow the participants to learn something about themselves.
We also need to get the candidates into a certain mindset. It is obvious that having fun while doing an assessment will lead to much better and more honest results than when the participant is stressed out while completing it. That is why we always strive to achieve the perfect flow, to get the tone right and to let a certain sense of humour shine through the evaluation process to make it a fun experience for the participant. We believe in building technology that can assess the intrinsic person, the real you, which is why we focus on assessing soft skills. We can tell if a candidate matches the culture of an organisation, which is relevant for retention as well as for onboarding and l&d. Additionally, a lot of candidates tell us that they indeed enjoy completing our assessments, which, in my view, is unique within the assessment world.
We believe in building technology that can assess the intrinsic person, the real you, which is why we focus on assessing soft skills. Linda FrietmanCEO and Founder
Our content and look & feel can be tailored to the client’s specific brand, which allows a candidate to get to know the company very quickly and thoroughly, to understand what it feels like to work there and to determine if they would be a good fit. The candidate also gets to keep the results of the soft skill assessment, which is an additional advantage in the current labor market, where a war on talent is raging.
European Business: And what’s the upshot for recruiters?
Linda Frietman: The combination of all of these techniques gives recruiters a lot of insight very early on, so that they can arrive at a more informed decision while needing to complete fewer interviews, as they can limit their interview slots to candidates of whom they already know that they will fit their corporate culture well. This means: fewer resumes to go through, fewer interviews to conduct and fewer candidates to send to more expensive assessments.
European Business: How precisely does IamProgrez’s approach in assessing an applicant’s suitability for a role in an organization differ from assessments used in more standard ways?
Linda Frietman: Most traditional assessments focus on intelligence and cognitive skills. These, however, are not the skills organizations are looking for today.
Most organizations are currently engaged in some form of digital transformation phase. Combined with the global change in economics, this has led to a shift away from production processes modeled on growth and production, and towards more creative think-and-design processes in order to solve problems. This is changing the landscape of employment. The definition of a productive employee has also considerably evolved over time. Not only is a new employee expected to hit the ground running, but all employees are expected to continuously grow and evolve and be proactively committed to lifelong learning.
Not only is a new employee expected to hit the ground running, but all employees are expected to continuously grow and evolve and be proactively committed to lifelong learning. Linda FrietmanCEO and Founder
Organizations need and demand employees who are not only successful on the job now, but who also have skills which will remain valuable in the future and throughout the digital transformation phase so that their organisations can continue to grow. As a consequence of this, organisations are looking for employees who have highly developed critical-thinking skills, are highly adaptable, creative and imaginative, who can solve problems and collaborate to form innovation-driven teams. We can measure all of these soft skills in our assessments to help organisations decide in which employee to invest.
We have developed an AI engine, Xavier, which measures psychometric results from open-ended questions. We then combine our AI with data analyses. Currently, our assessment is based equally on linear and open questions.
European Business: In your company’s blog, you have written extensively about a shocking global talent crisis, particularly in terms of soft skills. How can this talent crisis be combated effectively?
Linda Frietman: At the moment, we are doing a lot of things wrong in the way in which we perceive skills and training. Due to its slow change cycle, our current education system is unable to educate students with the right profile for the labor market, and it doesn’t sufficiently focus on soft skills. This means that there is a shortage of skilled people ready to tackle today’s challenges and those the future will hold.
Due to its slow change cycle, our current education system is unable to educate students with the right profile for the labor market. Linda FrietmanCEO and Founder
At the same time, organisations are still relying on their old ideas of human capital. But we all need to understand that change is the only constant and that we need an agile and flexible workforce. Adequately measuring the right skills is only the beginning. There is a need for a general awareness of this problem. The tools we make are only the means. If the willingness to change is lacking, we are fighting an uphill battle.
European Business: What do you believe are the main differences in the way in which companies in different regions of the world search for and assess applicants for their organisations?
Linda Frietman: In Europe, there is a lack of awareness of the impact which a growing skill gap, the war on talent and the inability for the eduaction system to change will have on our economic climate. Every time I am in Asia, I can see and feel the differences. They struggle with the same issues we have in Europe, but they have made the digitalization of education and the bridging of the (soft) skill gap a priority and a billion dollar business, because they truly understand that these skills are necessary in this ever changing economic climate. Thus, they are also frantically looking for tools and training methods to get where they need to be, which is one of the reasons why we received an innovation award in Asia before we were ever acknowledged in the EU.
We all need to understand that change is the only constant and that we need an agile and flexible workforce. Linda FrietmanCEO and Founder
European Business: At the core of your business is the “Hero Story” through which you encourage your corporate clients to think of their job applicants as potential superheroes. What superpower would you say is indispensable for landing a fulfilling job? And what do you believe is the most powerful Bat Signal a company can send out to find the greatest talent?
Linda Frietman: The ability to adapt and adjust – which is funny, because if you were to ask a biologist what made us humans such a dominant species, they would probably give you a similar answer. It has always been the most important skill, but somewhere in the process, we forgot this.
There is a lot to learn from the way people engage in (video) games. All of the most-played online games at the moment are multiplayer games in which people need to collaborate extensively and team up with random people from all over the world. The most important skills needed to succeed in these games have everything to do with communication, critical thinking and adjusting to your team and the game’s constantly changing scenarioes and environments. All of these online games are constantly updating the gaming experience with new features, moves and characters. That’s like deciding to add another row or piece to a chessboard. All those grandmasters will be forced to rethink everything they have ever done.
Adaptability, flexibility and agility are pivotal in every game – so consider these traits a very real Bat Signal when scouting for talent. Linda FrietmanCEO and Founder
This constant change is something gamers demand. Otherwise, the game will quickly become boring and the players will turn somewhere else. Adaptability, flexibility and agility are pivotal in every game – so consider these traits a very real Bat Signal when scouting for talent. You only have to bear in mind how you select the team you want to join in online games: Based on the skills and abilities the other players have in the game, so that you get to achieve that epic win together.
Interview: Julian Miller, Pictures IamProgrez