Join top executives in San Francisco July 11-12 to hear how leaders are integrating and optimizing AI investments for success. Learn more
If you’ve ever had to take what appears to be a personality assessment test while filling out a job application for a prospective employer, you’re not alone: ”100 million workers around the world take psychometric tests…designed to study personality and aptitude,” doing for a $2 billion annual marketaccording to a recent article in The New York Times. Such tests are used by 80 percent of Fortune 500 companies to evaluate job candidates, according to Psychology today.
The Myers-Briggs personality test, one of the most used and recognized, contains self-assessed response requests like “You make new friends regularly” and “Seeing other people cry can easily make you feel like you want to cry too” and buyers are asked if they “agree” or “disagree” and to what extent .
Talent Select AI, a 16-year-old digital interviewing and psychometric assessment company based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, aims to completely disrupt the industry with its natural language processing (NLP)-based candidate screening tool ), which completely eliminates the self-report of exams by job applicants. The Talent Select tool analyzes a potential job candidate’s word choices on their own during a live interview with a recruiter to conduct a psychometric evaluation, using software to determine if they are a good personality fit for the job opening.
A psychometric AI API
The company currently offers its software as an API for customers who can integrate it with their own platforms and hiring tools. However, the company shared with VentureBeat that it plans to launch its own user-facing version of the software on its website next month.
“We are new to offering this solution,” said Will Rose, CTO of Talent Select AI, in a Zoom interview with VentureBeat. He said the company believes it will benefit employers and job seekers by eliminating the need for psychometric testing as a separate stage of the interview process.
Rose said Talent Select’s AI model matches a job seeker’s word choice and conversation context, using only a text transcript, no audio or video, to analyze psychometric and personality traits. .
This is because, as Rose points out, other types of tools that specifically examine visual information or intonation may have risks of bias against certain racial or ethnic groups. “We saw a lot of pitfalls there because of differences in cultures and how they are interpreted by others,” Rose noted. “In our case, we’re strictly observing the words.”
“We can determine just by words how well a candidate fits a specific role or company culture,” Rose continued. “These are predictive in terms of job performance and job outcomes.”
Promising initial results
The Talent Select API launched in early 2023 promising “unbiased candidate insights” and has since led to initial improvements of more than 50% reduction in time to candidate onboarding, an 80% increase of candidates selected from underrepresented groups and 98% of users report increased confidence in their selection decisions.
Rose declined to tell VentureBeat which clients Talent Select AI has so far served, citing confidentiality agreements, but said “we are working with existing vendors.”
Psychometrics has a long history… but also criticisms and controversies
Psychometrics, the science of psychological measurement, has undergone a significant transformation since it was founded a laboratory at the University of Cambridge in 1887.
As science evolved, the early 20th century saw psychometrics play a key role in the creation of intelligence tests such as the Stanford-Binet and Army Alpha and Beta tests for educational and military purposes.
Fast forward to today, and psychometrics employs advanced computer algorithms and complex mathematical models, such as object response theory (IRT) AND structural equation modeling (SEM), design and evaluate psychological tests.
However, the field has been the subject of controversy and criticism regarding the validity and reliability of psychological tests in different populations and contexts, the ethical and social implications of these tests for high-risk decisions, and the philosophical and epistemological assumptions underlying psychometric models and methods. Even the creators of the famous Myers-Briggs test say so it should not be used to make hiring decisions.
However, there remains a market for other comparable tools, as highlighted above, and Talent Select AI believes it has developed a new, improved, leaner and more efficient version.
The company says it has 30 years of academic research and more than 15 years of internal experience in recruiting and hiring operations. Its leadership team includes President and President Stuart Olsten and COO Heather Thomas.
The firm also maintains an advisory board of psychometrics academics and practitioners such as Drs. Michael and Emily Campion, Dr. Sarah Seraj and Assistant Professor John Fields.
VentureBeat’s mission it is to be a digital city square for technical decision makers to gain insights into transformative business technology and transactions. Discover our Briefings.