The NeurOlympics as a bias-free assessment tool


Eric Castien

Onderwerp Blog
Gepubliceerd op

11 October 2019

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