Knack – Change the Recruiting Game

Knack is at the intersection of AI, Gamification, Computational Neuroscience, Human Capital and the greater good


How does throwing balloons filled with water, serving the right dish on time to the right customer, or solving a maze in a mobile game app indicate that I’m all of the following things: a people person, a self-starter, able to get things done, to take ownership, to read emotions on other people, capable of understanding other people’s perspective, and able to lead and motivate others? – It’s beyond me.

The careers the app suggested for me to explore included market researcher, which is basically what I am currently doing. The results are rendered after playing one level in one game (!) and already very accurate. The more someone plays, the more perceptive the app becomes.

Gamifying Candidate Recruiting is not just a fading trend, but rather, what seems to be a legitimate method to help identify soft skills that predict an applicant’s potential performance for a myriad of potential roles (See this research article for more information).

Say hello to Knack, founded by an Israeli entrepreneur, Guy Halfteck. This is not just any mobile game app. This game is a product of a world-class team with expertise in game design, computer graphics, behavioral science, computational neuroscience, software engineering, and artificial intelligence. And by “world class” I mean board members such as Alvin Roth, winner of the Nobel Prize in Game Theory and Economics (2012), and Thomas Kalil, a strategic advisor on social and economic impact (You may remember him from both the Obama and Clinton White House). All of this is coupled with a grand vision to give ANYONE a fair chance to be considered for a role, not having to rely on credentials, diplomas, pedigree, or tests, nor depend on biased, subjective and idiosyncratic evaluations.

Latest news -Latest news – India is going to make this app accessible to their 400,000,000 citizens, enabling underprivileged populations to shine their true colors, skills and personality, and give them a chance for a better future.
The State of Illinois is introducing Knack to all public high school students across the state to guide them to the right education and career pathways.
Their impressive list of customers includes names such as the World Bank, AXA, Tata, GE, Taj, Generali, UBS, Daimler Benz, Generali Group, Adecco, Manpower, Gap and the list goes on and on…. Knack collaborates with academic institutions, skill development organizations, and businesses such as MIT, NYU Medical Center, Teach for All, The Rockefeller Foundation, Illinois Institute of Technology, The World Bank, United Nations.

Information on candidate’s soft skills is exactly what we are lacking to get a more rounded assessment of who we are considering for the job. The one option we had until now was “Crystal Knows”, which I used quite often when sourcing on LinkedIn. Many condemn it as “snake oil” or even “Voodoo recruiting,” but my proven experience with it shows that it’s more credible than not. It enabled me, for the first time, to search by personality traits to find candidates and consider them for the role that otherwise I would not have. If not this, the next option would be to have them take skills and personality tests. This app seems to be the most convenient solution of all.

Let’s walk you through the app.
As a user, simply download the KnackUp app from the store (iPhone/Android). Then go to the “Game” tab below and download the 3 games. Yes, it’s a couple extra steps, but they are currently working on streamlining this process. Once downloaded, play to your heart’s content. You’ll see even after one level in one game, you can get a list (located under Knacks in the primary KnackUp app) of your Knacks, which are your traits and abilities (e.g., dedication, spatial reasoning or social intelligence).

SuperKnacks are your potential to do well in a given career, such as an architect, a health practitioner, or a software developer. You may not have the professional experience yet, but you can be a good fit for that kind of work.

UltraKnacks are like SuperKnacks but can also incorporate other things such as company culture, leadership potential, and so forth.

Clicking on each Knack expands the meaning of that trait. If you click on the “Opportunities” tab below, you can then filter for roles in your area and apply for jobs. The companies using this platform to recruit will then have access to your results; however, you must approve it first.


So, as recruiters, how do we use this app?

To create a campaign, go to the website It’s super easy! You simply choose those personality traits and soft skills that you believe would be a great asset for the job (each one is $1). Each SuperKnack (roles) is $2.99. Then you can also choose whether they play one, two or three games. Once you’ve created a campaign, you will receive a link that will prompt you to download the “customized” app (meaning it will check them for those traits and roles you’ve chosen). After playing the games, the dashboard (called Knackalytics) displays the grades each one of the players received, in both overview and detailed view.
You can then choose to contact top achievers. Even if thousands of people played the game, you only pay for those whose profile you opened. This way you can control your expenses. Another price model is licenses; you pay a one-time fee for a year, 6 months or just a month, and you can review unlimited Knacks and SuperKnacks. You can export all that data, or you can forward it to someone else from within the system. Note: currently the prices are the same all over the globe, but soon it will change according to the country.

Additionally, they are working on adding more categories and additional traits to accommodate various types of management, entrepreneurship, innovation, team work, and cultural fit.

The app is currently available in the following languages – English, Czech, German, Spanish, French, Hungarian, Serbian, Italian, Dutch, Portuguese, Romanian, Slovak, Tagalog, Vietnamese, Chinese Mandarin, Russian, Arabic, Hindi, Japaneseץ

To summarize, a recruiter can either create a campaign and send it to potential candidates or search within Knack’s database for matches within xx miles who are quick to adapt to changes, are good at focusing on details, and are self-starters. Isn’t it grand???
What would be a reason for us not to use it?

Perhaps you think this will not apply to executive searches. I have news for you, it does. Executive search firms are already using the app to detect candidates with the potential to be great managers. Think what this means for assessment companies servicing this industry. Yes, not right now perhaps, but their growth rate is crazy and sooner than later they would be able to provide a very wide profile on candidates. Results are quite accurate, but there is always room to improve especially when those technologies are learning with time and usage.

In a market of thousands of stand-alone HRTech applications, I believe we will be seeing more and more companies merge their products to offer one-stop-shop, comprehensive recruitment platforms. I believe apps such as this one, will become a standard “feature” in those platforms. As more use this app, it will become a HUGE global database, which will become not only another great source to recruit from but will also enable recruiters to tap into a pool of talent they could not have access to otherwise.

In summary, the benefits of this app to recruitment are:

  • Minimizing bias to a minimum
  • Can be used by SMBs as well as large corporates
  • Works for juniors as well as executives
  • Can become a great untapped talent pool to source from
  • Filters massive applicant pools
  • Matches the applicant’s strengths to the company’s DNA
  • Great candidate experience

Recruiting has officially changed. Gamification is here to stay. You can not “unlearn” information you’ve learned here…Embrace it.


* Karen Azulai is the Editor-in-Chief of HRTech Nation. If you feel you want to add information on this topic or write a post on it, pls feel free to forward it to

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.