Automating Behavioral Interviews

Kevin Xu
2 min readAug 14, 2020

If you’ve ever played League of Legends, this type of interaction is abnormally common:

usernameponey123: you **fk** suck**

teammate1: no you’re trashlk. Uninsta**@!!!!!

usernameponey123 has left the game

I used to play, and used to think

I wonder what usernameponeuy123 and teammate1 are like in real life? Are their actions in this game a reflection of their personalities outside of the game?

Can we use games to reveal hidden personality traits?

What’s the Idea?

Let’s build an online, competitive game that can be used to automatically assess behavioral attributes that are traditionally difficult to measure: like communication skills in difficult situations, group dynamics, and creative thinking.

Let’s streamline the behavioral interview process. Just as Hackerrank and CodeSignal transformed technical assessments, this could transform behavioral assessments.

The Rules of the Game

The game should be simple and easy to understand. So why not base the game off the board game ‘Codenames’. The rules are as follows: two teams compete by each having a ‘spymaster’ give one-word clues that can point to multiple words on the board. The other players on the team attempt to guess their team’s words while avoiding the words of the other team.” The team who uncovers the most words in the time slot wins.

The Metrics

So how can you assess behavior from a game of code names? What types of metrics could you create? What would be relevant sources of data? Consider the following:

  • Chat Logs
  • User Demographics and Team Demographics
  • Transcripts of Video Chat Communication
  • Game Progress Throughout the Course of the Game
  • Changes in All the Above in response to more difficult game scenarios

What type of metrics could one measure?

  • Diversity Scores (Demographic data gathered for your team)
  • Tone and Attitude (Chat log and video chat communications text analysis)
  • Adaptation (Improvements in game outcomes over time)
  • Responses to Stress (Responses to curveball game scenarios)

How is this Different from Existing Alternatives?

Simplicity

The game is easy to learn. Within minutes, one can get the hang of it.

Variation

Most games (and recruiting assessments) are easily game-able. This game isn’t. Taken from the English dictionary, there are billions of permutations of game outcomes.

Multi-player, Live Dynamic Environments

This game is dynamic, and changes based off each interaction. There’s no anticipating what comes next. You can only play off your team.

Why is it needed?

It does no good to hire a software engineer who is only adept in coding. A successful software engineer will need equally strong qualitative skills as technical skills. Behavioral interviews and reference checking are arguably the only way to gauge qualitative skills currently.

There are two problems I see with existing behavioral interviews:

1. Behavioral interviews ask mainly anecdotal questions that one can easily prepare for.

2. Behavioral interviews require significant manpower that firms often do not have.

Why a game?

Competitive, multiplayer games reveal characteristics that interviews cannot. It is no surprise that gaming companies like Riot Games run analytics from past chat logs and match histories as part of their behavioral screens.

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