Good.co is a flagship startup in the field of ‘HR Technology’ which is promoting a new approach to company recruitment based on questionnaires that help to match prospective employees’ personalities with suitable firms or organisations.
Fully 47% of all recruitment processes in developed economies eventually come to grief, with the employee either quitting or being fired, according to figures compiled by Good.co. The San Francisco-based startup argues that this astonishing failure rate is not due to any basic incompetence or lack of ability on the part of the new recruits but due to insufficient compatibility between employer and employee. With this in mind, Good.co has come up with an ‘HR Tech’ app, ‘FitScore’, which harnesses the latest information and communication technology and data collection to help the online generation find the right company and vice versa.
The ‘FitScore’ app is based on sets of questionnaires whose purpose is to establish a person’s key personality traits as defined by traditional psychology, and identify the type of social set or company that suits him/her best, in relationship terms. The score is designed to indicate the degree of rapport s/he is likely to develop with a given organisation. Having been running its questionnaires for some years now, compiling the answers from individual app users to help them gain self-knowledge and building up a profile base numbering hundreds of thousands of users, Good.co is turning to companies to fine-tune its matching process and assist directly with their recruitment.
Personality goes a long way
Good.co follows standard psychology in seeing each person as a blend of personality archetypes, around whom layers of habits and reflexes are built up like onion rings, which get in the way of self-knowledge. The original purpose of the app is to help people to get a better handle on their own key traits – as observed by themselves or others – in order to make it easier to integrate into a variety of social groups.
The Good.co team recognises eight personality factors, including the ‘Big Five’ basic building blocks of personality identified by American psychologist Lewis R. Goldberg in 1990 and often described under the ‘OCEAN’ acronym as openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism. Good.co draws on recent developments in psychometrics, psychology and behavioural neuroscience to assess a further three factors. Based on your answers to the questions, the FitScore algorithm will then give you a blend of three personal archetypes. While these assessments are based on scientific analysis, there is clearly also a substantial ‘gamification’ aspect designed to appeal to a Generation Y audience. This generation tend to have a better appreciation than their elders of just how important it is to go to work at a company whose culture fits their personality. Good.co also softens the edges of the personality assessments by using inoffensive labels such as idealist, humanitarian, protector, dreamer, inventor and mastermind. Similarly, the startup has come up with offbeat typology – nuclear family, space colony, etc – for the companies that are now being encouraged to use the app for recruiting staff.
Following the development phase, the basic aim is now to provide an open source platform where prospective employees and employers can find the right fit with a minimum of obstacles. Meanwhile the AngelList site, which started out as a platform to help startups raise funds by enabling them to communicate their metrics to investors, is now also working along similar lines to Good.co, and the AngelList recruitment sub-section is proving very popular. Startups in particular might be keen to outsource some of their basic recruitment research to platforms of this kind, which are looking to provide a direct link between company founders and job seekers.
Algorithms replacing consultancy services?
Traditional recruitment procedures are now being increasingly called into question, partly because of their lack of transparency on both sides of the HR process. Meanwhile, the professional social networks have changed recruitment channels without doing much to change the basics. Even the highly popular LinkedIn network does not include any psychological profiling to help match the prospective employee’s personality to the company culture at the recruiting firm. Good.co is therefore challenging standard recruitment practices that have not been able to solve the problems of ‘matching’ people to companies – whether promising startups or the web giants they may later become. After all, employee-company fit is not just about the recruitment stage but over the longer term as well. Accordingly, Good.co has created dashboards to track and assess the match over time. The firm is not so much rejecting traditional tools that are much loved by specialised HR consultancies as synthesising them.
Given the basic goal of optimising the ‘fit’ between company and potential employee, Good.co of course now needs to collect as much data as possible on firms’ financial health, company culture, and even their energy/environmental footprint. Once this information is available, it can send people’s profiles to the company which the data suggests provides the best match.
In addition, Good.co has built into the app additional functionality designed to smooth out the personality balance within a company according to the proportion of more or less contrasting personality types. However, other providers have already been working on this kind of HR micro-management with a view to improving in-house collaboration. US-based Glassdoor is a platform that enables employees and former employees to anonymously review companies and their management, while Knozen, a New York-based company, is developing a personality API for the Internet.
A FitScore calculation can in fact also be obtained for people who have not actually filled out the in-app questionnaire by ‘crowdsourcing’ personality data from other people. Good.co stated out here with the idea of providing a self-discovery tool to help people work on improving the way they are seen by their circle of friends and contacts, but it is easy to see how useful this approach might be when employees are set to move from one department to another.