The Innovation Hub of global consulting firm Mercer has invested in Pymetrics, a US career platform that provides candidates and employers with a game-based talent matching solution.
Launched in the fall of 2014, Pymetrics is a US-based startup that matches job seekers, in particular students and graduates, with organisations. The firm distinguishes itself through its game-based approach, which traces its roots to the field of neuroscience. After playing a few games for about half an hour on Pymetrics’ website, the company’s algorithms – based on big data, neuroscience and machine learning – gauges innate personal characteristics of candidates and tells them what career they are best suited for.
With the application of serious gaming to recruitment, Pymetrics departs from the traditional approach to selection and hiring, which typically relies on aspects such as grades, test scores and self-reported question-and-answer approaches. Such metrics however in today’s modern economy decreasingly correlate with actual job performance of candidates, believes the firm, and with that in mind, Pymetrics focuses rather on cognitive and emotional abilities. To do that, the games present players with a range of business-like dilemma’s in the area of among others organisation, work ethic, or risk-taking, asking candidates to take quick decisions and do things like identify the emotional expression on a person’s face or to quickly respond to a series of images that flash on the screen.
Upon completion of the games, Pymetrics’s sophisticated data-science algorithms identify which career track(s) might be best for candidates, and can even take things a step further with suggestions about which companies are most suited, based on pre-filled information on corporate culture. “Neuroscience has revolutionised our understanding of the brain,” the company’s website explains. “We apply this to helping people find their optimal career path, and help companies find ideal candidates.”
Pymetrics launched in the fall of 2014, after it a few months earlier received $2.5 million in funding led by Khosla Ventures, with participation from angels that include Bob Pittman, Jeff Hammerbacher, and Andy Palmer, and Terry McGuire of Polaris Ventures. Since, the startup has welcomed more than 100,000 registered job candidates and a growing list of employers, which includes the likes of Fidelity, Instacart, Dropbox and Egon Zehnder.
To further spur growth, Pymetrics yesterday announced that it has attracted another round of investment, this time from Mercer, a global HR consultancy and subsidiary of Marsh & McLennan Companies, the parent of also (among others) Oliver Wyman and NERA Economic Consulting. “We are very pleased to collaborate with Mercer in shaping the future direction of Pymetrics,” says Frida Polli, co-founder and CEO of Pymetrics*. Barb Marder, Senior Partner in Mercer’s Talent business and Team Leader in Mercer’s Innovation Hub, adds: “By investing in the company, Mercer can help influence how big data and innovative predictive hiring technologies, including gaming, can enhance the recruiting space.”
Besides pure financial support, Mercer will also provide the startup with expertise in the field of HR and recruitment, as well as accelerate the further advancement of Pymetrics’s algorithms. In return, Mercer will be able to include Pymetrics’s talent acquisition technologies into its client service portfolio.
* MIT graduate Frida Polli co-founded Pymetrics with Julie Yoo, who studied at Harvard. They decided to build Pymetrics after Polli saw first-hand how difficult it was for students to deal with the recruiting process after graduation.