The video game job interview

And more of the week's best financial insight

A man playing a video game.
(Image credit: SeventyFour/iStock)

Here are three of the week's top pieces of financial insight, gathered from around the web:

A very special job qualification

If you look through corporate financial statements, said Michelle Leder at Bloomberg, you learn to spot danger signs — and one of those is top executives hiring their relatives. "When the CEO's son makes $3 million, I worry." That's actually the case at the sneaker company Skechers, where "four children of CEO Robert Greenberg, as well as two children of COO David Weinberg, have been on the company payroll for years." Stricter rules have forced Skechers to disclose the precise amounts that they are paid; for Jason Greenberg and Joshua Greenberg, the 2020 numbers are $3.3 million and $2.6 million in 2020. There are many less extreme examples; Lowe's, for instance, employs the CEO's sister and brother-in-law. Hiring relatives is perfectly legal, but "what are the chances that a relative happens to be the person best qualified to deliver results for shareholders?"

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The video game job interview

A Mark Cuban–backed startup wants to help employers identify the best job candidates by how well they perform in a video game, said Kevin Ryan at Inc. Scoutible, a hiring-software company, has built an app with a 15-minute adventure game to test an interviewee's "decision making" as well as traits such as "learning style, creativity, grit, and leadership." The idea is to "help companies throw out traditional hiring practices" and broaden their searches. A tech company, for instance, found one of the top candidates for an engineer's role after Scoutible identified "a man without a college degree who was working at an auto body shop and had taken a coding class on the side."

A busy signal at the IRS

There's a "dire backlog at the IRS," said Sarah Hansen at Forbes, leaving taxpayers in the lurch. New complexities and late changes in the tax code, such as the $10,200 exemption for income from unemployment insurance, has sent calls to the IRS up by 300 percent. But a mere 14 percent of all IRS phone calls are getting answered, and just 2 percent of calls to the agency's 1040 help line. The IRS hoped to hire 5,000 new phone reps, but "so far has only been able to hire 3,800 new employees, due to low numbers of applications and delays in fingerprinting." The agency is holding 29 million returns for manual processing, including 4.7 million individual returns "flagged with errors or fraud alerts that need a response from taxpayers."

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