Tag Archives: Assessment

DFS confirms renewal cooperation with BrainsFirst

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DFS Deutsche Flugsicherung GmbH, the German air navigation service provider, decided to continue including the support of BrainsFirst BV in their ATC candidate pre-selection process. The integration of the NeurOlympics testing, which has shown in the previous 12 months a positive contribution to the DFS pre-selection process, supports a very first efficient and digital contact with DFS ahead of any on-site experience.

Alexander Heintz, DFS: “As a part of our online pre-selection stage for ATCO trainees, NeurOlympics is accepted by the participants and contributes to an early online screening of suitable candidates.”

BrainsFirst is very happy to continue the support for DFS, working in the country with the highest traffic volume in Europe.

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Bias-free selection by a computer algorithm?

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In a series of 3 blog posts, we delve deeper into the phenomenon of bias in selection processes. Bias, and thus discrimination against applicants, is often unintentional but as a negative effect. Selecting completely without bias is very difficult, but you can take a number of measures.

Artificial intelligence wordt al jaren genoemd als oplossing om een goede efficiënte screening te maken uit grote aantallen CV’s. There is a bit confusion around what AI can and cannot do, since it is such a broad concept. But when it comes down to the war for talent AI plays a very specific role: to give more accurate and more efficient predictions of a candidate’s work-related behaviors and performance potential. In this way it can also help to remove bias from the first steps of the selection process. It is important to use a clear definition of AI in selection. AI is, “Finding patterns that people often don’t see by analyzing large amounts of data.” These patterns are converted into algorithms that are then used to make decisions that make the selection process more objective (read with less bias) and faster.
Unlike traditional recruitment methods, AI is able to find patterns unseen by the human eye without being distracted by irrelevant background information.

The benefits of AI in selection processes
The use of tools based on AI brings many advantages in recruitment:

  • Better hiring quality
  • Time-saving
  • Better candidate assessment
  • Reducing bias

But watch out, it now seems that there are only benefits while there is still something to be said about the last 2 points. AI and the algorithms can take the human (un)conscious assessment out of the selection process, which is positive. But you have to be alert here that AI models are usually a result of the data you put in (the training data set). We often see that these are data models of high performers or of other uniform groups of employees in the organisation who share certain characteristics.
Based on this, a ‘model candidate’ is made with which the job applicants are compared. This gives an probabilistic estimate of the match between the candidate and the job. Theoretically, this sounds very promising. But if there is bias in your data or your training data set and the algorithms are not corrected for this, AI will only exacerbate the problem of bias in selection.

Subtle and unintended bias from AI
If you are going to predict football performance among 15 year olds, you will see that the oldest boys in the selection – born in January, February or March – are often the best footballplayers. This is because boys of 15 years are still growing and the slightly older boys are physically superior and therefore seem to be better players. A beautiful book has been written about this phenomenon by Malcom Gladwell; “Outliers, the Story of Success”. Bias suddenly takes the form of a birth month effect. It is therefore important that you try to avoid that your dataset used for the algorithm is too pure. It is not always transparent how an algorithm has been developed with which social acceptance is discussed. Candidates (rightly) wonder whether the criteria against which they have been set are correct. Who can reassure them that the algorithm does not select by age, for example?

What can you do to use AI in your selection process as well and objectively as possible?

  1. Actively request personal data: ask candidates for permission to analyze their personal data in order to normalize the data in order to prevent bias.
  2. Map unconscious biases: only when you know there is bias you can actively counteract this bias.
  3. Keep tracking inclusion and diversity: keep track of whether the measures you take actually promote inclusivity and diversity. Do regular research and discuss the results with your (HR) team.
  4. Research the tool you use: what are the claims of the suppliers and how can they prove them. Has the tool been scientifically developed and substantiated or is it more of a flashy modern tool where more attention has been paid to the experience and less to the research?

Conclusion; AI is no panacea
Avoiding bias in the selection process is difficult, even if you leave it to a computer, you have to stay alert. By mapping as many unconscious biases as possible in advance and continuing to correct them, you reduce the chance of excluding a candidate based on (un)conscious bias. It remains important to continuously refresh your knowledge of new technology and AI in order to make the best choices for the recruitment policy.

Want to know more?
Are you curious how you can reduce the bias in your selection process? Please contact Ivar Schot. He is happy to tell you more about it!

Selecting on CV or on potential?

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In a series of 3 blog posts, we delve deeper into the phenomenon of bias in selection processes. Bias, and thus discrimination against applicants, is often unintentional but as a negative effect. Selecting completely without bias is very difficult, but you can take a number of measures.

Everyone is biased. A harsh statement, but nothing could be more true. Our brain is constantly evaluating things around us and associating them with knowledge and experiences in order to make choices and to function as efficiently as possible. We unconsciously avoid a street where a dog scared us so much last week. When we eat nice fries in Antwerp, it seems like a good idea to us to have fries a year later in Ghent. This associating occurs both consciously and unconsciously and also has an impact on conscious and unconscious prejudices. It is a process that everyone is guilty of regardless of background, education or gender: we are programmed that way. The world around us is complex and there are so many sources of information that we are unable to let it all in. Our cognitive coping mechanisms help us to not be completely exhausted after a car ride or running errands in the supermarket. It would be too burdensome if we had to think deeply and consciously about all our decisions. Unfortunately, the cognitive mechanisms that help us survive in everyday life also have a negative impact; unconscious bias. Because we have to filter and cluster, we cannot avoid unconsciously putting some things in a box. This is very natural, but it can have major consequences; for example, if we have to make a decision about hiring new employees.

Bias in the selection process
(Unconcious) bias in the selection process is a major problem. Everyone is biased, thus so are a recruiter and a hiring manager. As soon as the information of a candidate, such as a CV, is read, the brain runs away and draws all kinds of premature conclusions, based only on a CV, a name or a photo. A clear case of stereotyping, and so there are many cognitive biases.

Unintentionally we can discriminate and exclude certain applicants without knowingly doing so

Preventing discrimination in the selection proces is receiving increasing attention (see Dutch article in ‘de Volkskrant’). Very good, but when are you really bias-free? And is this actually possible? The answer; you can try to avoid bias but selecting without bias is difficult as long as people have to make decisions.

The first step in the selection process is crucial
The biggest win on eliminating bias can be achieved at the beginning, at the start of the selection process. The legislative proposal of state secretary van Ark of Social Affairs has exactly that in mind. Employers must establish in writing in advance how to avoid a distinction in recruitment and selection based on background, age or gender.

By thinking about this in advance, you become more aware of the unconscious biases and you can act on them. Many hiring managers have, based on their experience or perception, an idea of what they consider important in a candidate. For example, an assumption is that a top athlete, such as a hockey player or rower, will perform better and give up less quickly. Or the recruiter mainly looks at work experience gained at certain renowned companies.
Therefore, try to remain as objective as possible and to start working from the tasks that the person has to do in the role and what it takes to be able to perform these tasks satisfactoy. Determine what you are actually looking for in a candidate, regardless of number of years of work experience or specific training. As a recruiter and hiring manager, try to get full agreement on what you expect from a candidate. Vague concepts such as “helicopter view” often have various definitions. Then you try as much as possible to make an initial estimate of the potential or match between candidate and position without having looked at the candidate’s background.
Once you have this clear, you can make the match between what you are looking for and what the candidate is capable of, regardless of background age or gender. Obviously, a lawyer must have studied law and a doctor medicine, but there are also professions where prior education is not so decisive. A pre-selection or screening assessment can give you valuable information about whether the candidate is potentially suitable. Based on the other information, you can then determine whether the candidate will continue in the selection process.

BrainsFirst’s gamified solutions for pre-selectie
Preventing bias in the early stages of the selection process is what BrainsFirst helps organisations with. Together with experts, we determine which skills and behavior are really important for the position for which they are recruiting for. With this input a brain profile is created, a model based on cognitive skills. These cognitive skills can very well predict potential in a bias-free way. Candidates are invited early in the selection process to play the NeurOlympics, a so-called brain-based assessment game. Each candidate’s data is individually corrected for bias. Each candidate is then carefully, fairly and unbiased matched with the pre-defined goal profile. In this way, we help organisations to take an important step in combating bias and to get the right person in the right place.

Want to know more?
Are you curious how you can reduce the bias in your selection process?  Please contact Ivar Schot. He is happy to tell you more about it!

The NeurOlympics as a bias-free assessment tool

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Bias-Free is one of the most used unique selling points (Usps) today in the HR tech world. When are you really bias-free? Can you really be bias-free? Research commissioned by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment shows that discrimination in the HR world still occurs in the Netherlands. Bias or prejudices are mostly unconscious processes where everyone continues to be guilty of regardless of background, education and gender. A good example is the so-called Confirmation bias in an interview. An interviewer has the idea that a female candidate is more ready for motherhood than a function and will direct the conversation in such a way that confirmation is obtained. Because this often happens unconsciously, it is a terribly complicated subject. Can it be solved?

Minimizing bias in your recruitment process is easier than you think. Start with what it’s all about, namely by defining as concretely as possible the behaviour of an ideal employee in a particular job, and then determining whether the candidate actually has the qualities that are essential for performance on the job. If you try to do this only during the interview you are already too late.

What is a bias-free assessment?
To be able to give a good estimate whether an assessment is really bias-free, it is important to know what bias-free actually means. Bias-free is defined in the recruitment as the exclusion of noise and prejudices regarding the selection process. In addition, there may be no advantages or disadvantages for certain people based on, for example, ethnicity, gender or educational level. Scientist Tony Lam defines a fair assessment as equality and justice. Equalityin this context means that people are judged in the same setting. Justice refers to whether the assessment is tailored to the individual instruction context, so that differences in knowledge, culture, language and interests do not affect the results of the assessment. BrainsFirst offers an equal and equitable assessment in various ways with brain-based online assessment games.

Equality: taking part when it suits you best
You probably know it, you are obliged to adapt to another’s agenda. This when it just isn’t the right timing. For the BriansFirst test games, the NeurOlympics, that is not necessary. Because the NeurOlympics games are played online, everyone can decide when and where he or she participates. All candidates are advised to do the games when they are equipped and sit in a quiet environment without distractions. Thus, candidates can choose a time and a location and time of day that best suits them to achieve optimal performance. Assuming that all candidates follow this advice, the context of the assessment is the same for everyone, namely the best!

Justice: No differences between groups of people
Different aspects contribute to justice. Gender, age, ethnicity and educational level are the greatest causes of bias, but not for the NeurOlympics. The result of the NeurOlympics is generated with nothing but the abilities of your brain. Candidates of the same age and gender are only compared to each other based on their brain skills. The brain skills that are essential for the job are matched with the candidate’s brain qualities. This leaves no room for a subjective impression.

In addition, cultural differences also do not play a significant role. The games themselves have no linguistic or other culture-related elements and are therefore free from such “prejudices”. Moreover, there are simple instructions in both Dutch and English, thereby guarantee the practice rounds that the candidates fully understand the games, prior to the assessment. The scores represent brain functions at a level as basic as possible, the building blocks of the brain, which are not related to culture or verbal skills.

Experience is not everything, but being young isn’t either.
One of the most common prejudices in the labor market is experience. By Experiential bias unfortunately, a huge amount of potential is lost. Conversely, agism is also a big problem: undervaluing older applicants based on age. Graduates and starters can perform as well or even better than candidates who have been in the profession for years. Starters bring a lot of new knowledge with them which can be essential for the development of the organization and older applicants are also capable of learning new skills. The NeurOlympics measure response times and performance levels on basal brain functions. Knowledge and experience are therefore not required. Everyone can play the games and everyone is challenged to reach their own maximum level.

Normalised test: Give
everyone equal Opportunities
Finally, a bias-free assessment is only truly fair Normalised. Standard groups are required to calculate (brain) assessment scores. A standard group must contain a representative sample of candidates with common characteristics. For example, we have separate norm groups for men and women within certain ages. (men and women of all ages). The norm groups are continuously updated with the new players that come into our system. . So the more candidates play the NeurOlympics, the more broadly varied the norm group will be and that at the moment there is already a huge amount of players (7 years to candidates of all ages). This results in each candidate getting an equal chance during the selection process. Male, female, young, old it doesn’t matter where you come from or what you have done before. As long as your brain qualities match with the qualities that are essential to the job, we know how to find you.

Brains first, then the rest!
If you know which candidates have the cognitive qualities that are essential for the job, it is wise to look further at things like training, company match and whether you can have a beer with them. So start with the crucial biological basics. In this area too: a good start is half the work.
The biggest gain on eliminating bias is to be achieved at the beginning: Why do you invite one person to a conversation and not the other? Wouldn’t it be better to look at whether the person is naturally predisposed to work and then continue? What talent could you possibly miss by doing so? This is exactly what BrainsFirst offers organizations. Together with our experts, you determine the behavior that you are looking for in the employee who is going to help your organisation achieve the goals. BrainsFirst creates a brain profile with this input. Each candidate is then carefully, genuinely and unbiased matched with this profile. In this way we help organizations to bias-free invite candidates for a conversation that could develop in dream employees. Want to know how? Please contact Annemarein Braakman

Insights in the brain key to success on the work floor

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Cool! A brain scan of one of our employees. However, a brain scan gives no insights in performance on the work floor. Nevertheless, the brain is key in becoming successful on the work floor. In 45 minutes you can already find out what your work-related brain skills are.

Our human performance finds its origin in the brain. However, there are about 7.5 billion different brains running around in this world. How can you make sure that you find that one brain that meets all your performance requirements?

Online Brain-based assessment games like the NeurOlympics offer the solution. With the NeurOlympics, it is possible to map the most essential brain qualities in 45 minutes and give insights in the brain in relation to the job. By matching the scores of your candidates with a carefully created target ‘brain’ profile, you assure yourself that at least the brain of your new employees fits perfectly with what is expected of the brain within the function.

Do you know what brain skills are required for your available jobs? Improve your recruitment approach and start matching brain and job today.

Capacities test: What does it (not) measure ?

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Employers obviously want the best candidates for their vacancies. Different ways can be used to determine whether a candidate is the right person for a particular job. This is why assessments now are becoming a standard part of the application process. The capacitiy test is in many cases an important part of such an assessment. But what is a capacity test exactly and how is it different from a cognitive test?

What is a capacity test?

A capacitiy test is a way of testing general intellectual thinking. It comes close to what is in practice is called an intelligence test , but capacity tests are often specifically focused on one aspect of intelligence. As the name capacity test suggests, this test is used to measure specific capacities of a candidate. The test gives insight to the extent to which candidates have the skills to quickly solve particular issues. Because each question has a time limit, it looks at how candidates perform under pressure. A capacity test therefore appeals to certain cognitive skills.

The capacity test measures whether you possess the relevant skills and competences to function properly at a certain position. Which parts are more emphasized therefore also depends on the position that is being applied for. For example, language skills will be more valuable for a journalist, whereas in a technical function proper spatial insight plays a greater role.

What capacities or skills are measured with an online capacity test?

A capacitiy test often consists of different aspects. These aspects can be divided into the following test categories:

  • Verbal tests
  • Numerical tests
  • Abstract tests
  • Simulation Tests

Verbal tests measure the verbal abilities of a candidate. These include aspects such as verbal reasoning, vocabulary, language use, analogies, and antonyms. These capacities are important for functions in which the candidate must be able to speak well, listen and process verbal information quickly and efficiently.

Numerical tests measure the extent to which a candidate can process numerical information. Here the numerical and mathematical skills are examined. This can be tested by offering number sequences, editorial sums, numerical insight, arithmetic, or numerical reasoning.

Abstract tests measure to what extent a candidate is able to deal with abstract information. Here the spatial insight and logical reasoning ability are tested by means of images, figures and matrices. Employers can measure in a non-verbal way how strategically the candidate is thinking and how quickly he/she solves less concrete problems.

An employer can use simulation tests to see which strategy or reaction the candidate chooses to solve situations in the right way. These tests simulate situations on the work floor that are often related to the job that is applied for.

There are plenty of online testing capabilities on the market, but which is best? This depends very much on what you want to achieve with this test. It is important to measure the capacities that are specifically relevant to the vacancy.

Most commonly used capacitiy tests:

  • Verbal reasoning
  • Analogies
  • Number sequences
  • Numeric reasoning
  • Numeracy
  • Diagrams
  • Abstract reasoning
  • Figure series
  • Spatial insight

What is the difference between a standard capacity test and a cognitive test?

The most mentioned disadvantage of online capacity tests is that a candidate benefits if they make certain tricks and strategies their own in advance. This practice significantly increases the chances of a good score. And with that, there is immediately noise on the line. Hence, the emergence of cognitive tests is strongly explained by the need to test people in a honest way, by reducing foreknowledge, trainability or fake behavior.

Both a standard capacity test and a cognitive test measure cognitive thinking ability. However, there is a very big difference between these two. That is, the effect what practice has on your score. As mentioned, you can increase your score on a standard capability test as reasonably easily, through exercise. It will not increase your intelligence, but you will become more skilled at making such tests. This is especially true for parts in which patterns are to be discovered in figures and numbers. A good cognitive test on the other hand, has good test-retest-reliability. This means that exercising has no effect on the scores and it says more about the actual capacities of the candidate. And not the degree of preparation. A cognitive test is often a better alternative to a capacity test.

What cognitive skills are measured with a standard capability test?

Cognitive skills are characterized by the degree to which you are able to incorporate, process and apply knowledge and information. All kinds of mental processes play a role. For example, you need memory, but also orientation, concentration, attention and the ability to anticipate, solve problems and form concepts. They are the underlying building blocks of your skills. These biological building blocks – brain functions – are difficult or impossible to fake or circumvent with tricks.
The Cognitive Assessment Games from BrainsFirst, emphasize these brain skills. Specially developed to match the brain with a job at a detailed level. In the form of challenging, serious games. Stable, science-based and reliable. It doesn’t matter how many times you play these games, your score will remain roughly the same. And in this way gives much more reliable insights into one’s cognitive skills.


Choose the tool of today’s for
the champions of tomorrow.


BrainsFirst is the result of 6 years of thorough neuroscience research
into the biological building blocks of human performance.

Have you become curious?
Then download our onepager about matching talent with our Brain Games!

The Benefits of Online Assessment Games

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Online Assessment Games
As the name already suggests, our online assessment games can be played online. Like the paper assessment, the online assessment makes statements about the candidate’s capacities. Because the assessment is offered online, it is an ideal instrument for talent selection. The candidate plays the games easily from home and the recruiter can see based on the results whether the capacities of the candidate fit the open position. This makes the online assessment very user-friendly for all parties, without sacrificing reliability.

Reliable & Innovative
Our online assessment games, the NeurOlympics, look more like a game than a test. However, the outcome of the assessment must of course be reliable. The games used in the NeurOlympics are based on frequently and often validated tests within the (neuro)psychology. In order to make these valid cognitive measuring methods attractive, we have cast a game layer over it. This makes the 4 games, which measure Working memory, Anticipation, Control and Attention, all innovative.

Challenging & Motivating
Various competitive elements and motivating feedback ensure that participants experience the NeurOlympics as pleasant. Candidates said to experience less stress when playing the NeurOlympics than when making a normal assessment. The four games have been developed in such a way that they become more difficult and the candidate is pushed through instructions to get the best out of themselves. Some of the tasks are built in a way that they contain a ‘ staircase ‘. This means that the participant’s maximum capacity is determined and the test is adjusted to the participant’s level. For example, the games remain challenging for each player and a comprehensive overview of one’s cognitive capacities can be obtained in just 45 minutes. This gives the recruiter a quick insight into one’s top performances, while the candidate plays a game at his own level.

Easy & Flexible
Because the games are always online, everyone can easily make the test from home. The threshold for a candidate to apply is thus reduced. The only requirements for creating the Online Assessment are a stable internet connection and a quiet environment without distractions. Because the test is so accessible, candidates have the flexibility to determine when they make the test. For example, are you a real morning person? Or are you not available during office hours? No problem. The test is always online and can be made at any time of the day, whenever is convenient for you. Thus, the life of the recruiter and candidate is made much easier.


Choose the tool of today’s for
the champions of tomorrow.


BrainsFirst is the result of 6 years of thorough neuroscience research
into the biological building blocks of human performance.

Have you become curious?
Then download our onepager about matching talent with our Brain Games!