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Work → In Progress: Finding A Job In The Matrix

Work → In Progress: Finding A Job In The Matrix
Carl-Johan Karlsson

In early civilizations, landing a job amounted to interning until your employer died. Fast-forward a few thousand years and fortunately, internships have gotten shorter ... and life expectancy has gotten longer! Still, job hunting has become a journey marked by alternating pulls of hope and hysteria. The swift ascension of global connectedness, Artificial Intelligence, the shifting nature of social norms are uprooting the way we're evaluated by recruiters.

This edition of Work → In Progress dives into how these transformations affect us today and what expectations we should have for recruitment in the future. In many countries, the classic curriculum vitae is becoming obsolete as recruiters use AI and virtual-reality simulations to evaluate candidates; in Russia, employers are shifting their focus from looks to merit; while in the U.S., "likability" might soon be more important than your masters' degree.​

WHAT IF AI DOESN'T LIKE ME? In Amsterdam, ketchup manufacturer Kraft Heinz relies on Artificial Intelligence to recruit, assess, hire, and manage their staff. Defenders of AI-based recruitment claim it removes human bias and promotes diversity, but others say it might just as well enhance existing biases or actively create new ones since the algorithms must be designed by human (usually male) developers. It's still probably too early to decide whether machines should be welcomed as gatekeepers to our dream jobs. Frida Polli, CEO of the AI-driven recruitment platform used by Heinz, puts it this way: "AI is like teenage sex, everyone says they're doing it, and nobody really knows what it is."​


Big Brother is watching, and we are starting to like it: In 2015, only 30% of companies were using monitoring techniques to collect data on how employees spend their time at work, reports Workplace Intelligence. That number is expected to grow to 80% in 2020. Today, 30% of people say they are comfortable with having their email monitored by employers, up from 10% in 2015.

BIG OR THICK, OR BOTH? Perhaps the way to a bias-free recruitment process is to merge artificial and human intelligence. Big data can provide real-time information on consumer and social trends, but a deeper social analysis would require adding "thick data" — or information derived from human behavior. Diego Fuentes dives into these two data types in Santiago-based America Economia, and Worldcrunch has the full article here in English.

NO RESUMES NEEDED! In addition to the new challenge of outfoxing algorithms, your future career might ultimately depend on a much more basic standard: whether people like you. Psychologist Dawn Graham writes in Forbeson the topic of "likability," which many believe is an innate quality. Yet Graham gives some practical advice on how to raise your likability quotient during a job interview:

1: Be Human! A big part of the interview is evaluating if you're a good fit for the team. That isn't something you can fake ... Prepare the best you can, and then be yourself.

2: Know Your Audience. In order to sell the product (which is you), it's critical to know what's important to the buyer.

RUSSIAN BEAUTY A study found that the number of employers in Russia who saw appearance as an important recruitment factor has fallen from 82% to 66% over the last decade, reports Rossiyskaya Gazeta. While many in the looks-conscious country may still airbrush their LinkedIn photo, the study found that employees now perceive looks as less important in career advancement, down from 84% to 60% over the same period.


GREEN-COLLAR JOBS IN ARGENTINA A more sustainable economy has created a new workforce in advanced fields like electricity generation, transportation and energy storage. However, not all green-collar jobs require a master's degree. In Argentina, more than 150,000 people work with recovering recyclable materials in urban centers or at garbage dumps, reports La Nacion. Under the banner of "inclusive recycling," many of the workers are organizing in cooperatives to promote social security. On average, every worker recovers about 100 kilos of waste per day — the equivalent of what is generated by 100 people.


How far is it from New York to Buffalo? Why is cast iron called pig iron? What country produce the finest china?

You don't know?! Well, then we regret to inform you that Thomas Edison wouldn't have hired you. A century ago, Edison pioneered the employment form, with his 146-question quiz for prospective employees at his power plant. In 1921, the New York Times revealed the quiz, which became a national topic of controversy. Reporters even took the test to Albert Einstein who flunked for not knowing the exact speed of sound … Duh. Trivia masochists can take the test, republished here on Gizmodo. And we'll leave it to the AI developers to feed Edison's data into their next algorithm!

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

That Man In Mariupol: Is Putin Using A Body Double To Avoid Public Appearances?

Putin really is meeting with Xi in Moscow — we know that. But there are credible experts saying that the person who showed up in Mariupol the day before was someone else — the latest report that the Russian president uses a doppelganger for meetings and appearances.

screen grab of Putin in a dark down jacket

During the visit to Mariupol, the Presidential office only released screen grabs of a video

Russian President Press Office/TASS via ZUMA
Anna Akage

Have no doubt, the Vladimir Putin we’re seeing alongside Xi Jinping this week is the real Vladimir Putin. But it’s a question that is being asked after a range of credible experts have accused the Russian president of sending a body double for a high-profile visit this past weekend in the occupied Ukrainian city of Mariupol.

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Reports and conspiracy theories have circulated in the past about the Russian leader using a stand-in because of health or security issues. But the reaction to the Kremlin leader's trip to Mariupol is the first time that multiple credible sources — including those who’ve spent time with him in the past — have cast doubt on the identity of the man who showed up in the southeastern Ukrainian city that Russia took over last spring after a months-long siege.

Russian opposition politician Gennady Gudkov is among those who confidently claim that a Putin look-alike, or rather one of his look-alikes, was in the Ukrainian city.

"Now that there is a war going on, I don't rule out the possibility that someone strongly resembling or disguised as Putin is playing his role," Gudkov said.

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