Is the hiring process outdated and broken? San Francisco- and Toronto-based Cream.hr would answer a resounding yes. The company launched its platform today, a web-based employee assessment tool, to tackle what it believes to be a wide disparity between how a candidate looks on paper and how productive they actually will be on the job. Their goal is to do what their name indicates: help companies find the cream of the crop. Prior to the launch the startup was in private beta, and to date has had 10,000 applicants fill out its assessment, with 65 positions filled successfully.
The company’s approach to hiring is a result of both personal experience and the fact that it believes the results of its assessment outweigh what a resume may or may not point out. “A lot of psychometrics and psychographics generally get used at the end of the hiring process, so when you’ve gone through all the resumes, interviewed a bunch of candidates, got it down to two or three, it’s kind of used then as a gut check,” said co-founder Neil MacGregor in an interview. “We’re taking those same high-quality assessments and moving them to the very front of the hiring process…and so before someone even reads a resume…we can provide some predictive indexes on how someone is going to work out in a given position.”
The science behind the psychometric assessment comes from Dr. Jordan B. Peterson, a current University of Toronto professor and former Harvard professor who has spent over 30 years researching and publishing articles in peer-reviewed journals to validate the startup’s approach to pre-screening candidates. The assessment is based on the Big Five personality traits which were formed after researchers created a melting pot of existing metrics and found five stand-alone buckets, which include openness, conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism. According to the Cream.hr team, the test is almost impossible to fake, or answer in a false manner.
Companies would ideally integrate Cream.hr at the beginning of their hiring process, asking a candidate to complete the survey upon uploading their resume, however they can have candidates fill out the test at any point. Once candidates fill out the survey, HR departments get access to a dashboard so they can filter through particular skill sets. For example, when seeking a sales candidate, they can filter by candidates high on extraversion, conscientiousness, and low on agreeableness to save both time and money in the recruiting process.
The SaaS startup has several tiers and plans available, starting with a $99 pay-as-you-go option for up to 50 assessments, to monthly subscription plans that range from $99 per month for 100 assessments to $999 per month for 800 assessments. Premium features include access to all trait scores, resume and cover letter capture, and customer support.
The hiring space continues to see technology come in to shake up the traditional approach to finding ideal candidates. BetaKit covered the launch of Entelo, a search engine for technology-related hires, while platforms like Tel-Aviv-based Zao strive to help organizations quickly set up their own employee referral platform. There are also startups like HireVue and enRecruit, which aim to streamline the hiring process by having candidates create video interviews which can be viewed at anytime, in addition to companies that are also playing in the personality-testing space like ClearFit and Wonderlic.
Cream.hr’s founders believe it stands apart because it’s used at the beginning of the hiring process, though the platform doesn’t have to replace traditional hiring processes, rather be used in conjunction with them to screen applicants. The biggest challenge according to co-founder Christine Bird may well be the negative stigma associated with personality tests. “There’s this head space around how tests are fluffy…and the other problem is when you’re looking at testing, people know the answers, [people] go through and answer questions based on what you think the employer wants to hear, not based on who you actually are. This whole schema is what’s ruined the psychometric industry for job performance, up until this point,” Bird added. Whether Cream.hr can change the perception, while also helping companies fill positions with capable employees, will be its test in the coming months.