I discovered this company past summer, when I was recruiting for my summer internship at Boston Consulting Group. There were a few games that I played in rapid succession over 20 -25 mins. I must admit that I was not sure how playing these games would help the firm assess my capabilities.
After some research I read about the methodology that Pymetrics uses and the theory behind BCG using this as a recruiting tool. The company has twelve tests (some involving pressing spacebar key when we saw a red ball instead of a green one). The data collected from these tests is used to provide a score for the candidate on ~90 traits. As part of the onboarding a new company, Pymetrics works on collecting the data for the high performers in each role to benchmark the traits required to hire for the role. Then they play the match maker and help identify the best candidate for hire. Further for companies such as BCG see value in using this technology can be extended to staffing teams where different types of skill sets are needed to build agile teams. Pymetrics explains the product in a simple manner but there are three things about the product that I really liked.
- Finding perfect fit – The algorithm does not just stop at telling us the best person for the job but is also able to provide a detailed report of the skill sets and therefore match them to another role in the organization that the applicant would not have otherwise applied to
- Customizable – The product is customizable to the needs of the company that chooses to employ it. This means that we can use this tool to hire for companies across multiple industries, as highlighted in the list of clienteles for the company
- “Measure Potential and not Pedigree” – Pymetrics suggests that it takes out the bias that people have regarding branding and perceived skills and rather let the test results speak to the capabilities of the candidates
The platform enables companies to use the platform not just for hiring but also for performance management. It recognizes the shift needed in adopting this product would require recruiters to make is significant and therefore can be pitched as an initial screen that could take away the bias for skill and demographics and provide more data to arm managers taking interviews. There is an extension to the product to conduct recorded interviews and have the algorithm analyze the answers of the candidate and further supplement the traits tests rather than in person interviews.
However, like most products that are trying to solve for this problem. The product does have a few problems to solve before it can become a mainstream solution.
- Onboarding – It takes a lot of time and efforts to onboard a new company and collect the data to train the machine so that the results produced are reliable and make sense.
- Perfect solve for bias – There is no perfect solve for the bias as the company works to smoothen this data on the back end and are still working to make making the best system. They have tried to correct for this with high standards of ethical design principles and have open- sourced the algorithm to invite corrections and criticism
- Competition – This is a very crowded space and there are many players who are offering similar products. This shows that there is a lot of potential, but it would make it harder to launch a differentiated product.
I was thinking about the question Professor Polzer asked me in my Leading with People Analytics class – “Will machines make hiring decisions?” I believe that machines certainly would help put some method to the madness and help remove biases that we as humans cannot ignore. However, the idea of machines doing that seems to trigger a very uncomfortable feeling in us. As if the process would be drained of emotions. I am intrigued whether companies such as Pymetrics can help bridge that gap.