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Machines gauging your potential automate HR hiring

(Bloomberg) They can drive cars, win Jeopardy and find your soon-to-be favorite song. Machines are also learning to decipher the most human qualities about you — and help businesses predict your potential to be their next star employee.

A handful of technology companies from Knack.it Corp. to Evolv Inc. are doing just that, developing video games and online questionnaires that measure personality attributes in a job applicant. Based on patterns of how a company’s best performers responded in these assessments, the software estimates a candidate’s suitability to be everything from a warehouse worker to an investment bank analyst.

“You have this enormous pool of people that’s being missed because of the way the entire industry goes after the same kinds of people, asking, did you go to Stanford, did you work at this company?” said Erik Juhl, head of talent at Vungle Inc. Photographer: Ron Antonelli/Bloomberg

“People are our biggest resource, and right now a lot of them are mismatched,” said Erik Brynjolfsson, director of Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Center for Digital Business and an advisor to Knack.it Corp. “If you put the right kind of person in the right task, it’s good for that person and it’s good for the company.” Photographer: Neilson Barnard/Getty Images for The New York Times

Welcome to hiring in the age of big data, an ambition marrying automation with analysis in the race to better allocate talent. Having people work at what they do best would make them more productive, bolstering the economy’s capacity to expand, according to Erik Brynjolfsson, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge.