On Recruiting Overhaul, IDF Turns To Data Science, Ends ‘One-Dimensional’ Scoring

The IDF will abandon its decades-old recruit placement system in favor of a broader assessment method, the military said on Wednesday.

The current system used to place soldiers in different positions in the army is based on what is called a “Quality Group” score, better known by its Hebrew acronym Kaba, which is based on three parameters: the number of years taken in school, an intelligence test known as an “initial psychotechnical classification” and a personal interview.

These are normally determined during a pre-project assessment, known in Hebrew as Tzav Rishon.

The new model would include at least double the number of parameters, taking into account elements such as resilience, skills and talents, managerial abilities and adaptability of the recruit. Using these additional factors, the military hopes to find better-suited locations for the soldiers to maximize their effectiveness and reduce the number of troops leaving their units.

Using advanced Big Data algorithms, the military will profile good candidates for different units. And the new multidimensional score will then be judged based on the needs of those particular units. Thus, a recruit may have a high suitability score in terms of armored corps, while achieving a low suitability score for the navy, and vice versa.

The initial Psychotechnical Ranking Test will also be revised to include additional factors and – more dramatically – will be translated into a number of different languages. Until now, soldiers who did not speak Hebrew before enlisting in the IDF had completed a visual non-verbal version of the test.

The new test is intended to overcome cultural differences between groups in Israeli society, which in the past have been shown to result in biased scores.

Other parts of Tzav Rishon would also be conducted online to make the process easier for those living outside central Israel.

For the sake of transparency, the scores of recruits will be posted online, according to the army.

The changes will not be implemented immediately, but will be rolled out in the years to come.

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