What are the stick figures that can aid this HR tech startup select the best candidate for the right job

The Delhi-based Pmaps offers data-driven psychometric tests for people who are hiring particularly for blue-collar positions. The goal is to assist businesses reduce the time and expense of hiring, and eventually loss of talent, since the best candidates are selected to the right positions.

The images above are part of an assessment test for psychometrics developed by the Delhi-based HR tech startup PMaps, a Delhi-based startup in HR tech. The company has designed psychometric tests for hiring using images in a move away from conventional assessment using text.

The main character in the photos may be running in through a race, making an itinerary, looking in the evening, getting uncomfortable while smiling for the group photo. Candidates are asked to explain if they can relate to the photo or not.

There aren’t correct or incorrect solutions here, as what’s being assessed is the personality of the candidate and his behavior in various situations. The test’s algorithm is designed to assess qualities like leadership, empathy and a sense of patience.

“Humans learned to use visual communication before writing or text. All of us are effected by pictures,” says Saurabh Rana the founder of Pmaps. “Visuals have universal appeal and more likely to yield an honest response than a text-based query asking whether a person is sympathetic or otherwise.”

The company, established in the year 2015 . by Saurabh Rana, and Tarvinder Kaur, is a provider of personalised non-technical assessments for various industries and positions. Tarvinder Kaur, who developed the technology platform, is also the director of business of the firm.

“Many instances, candidates aren’t competent enough to comprehend English which makes it difficult to evaluate their proficiency,” says Saurabh. For blue-collar workers or those who have quit schools or colleges and have no significant affinity to words visuals are more effective according to him.

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How does the test work

Candidates must look over the 22 images and decide if they can relate with them, or not. They must respond to ‘yes or no to questions based upon this.

Every answer is what determines which question the person is asked next. Saurabh likens this to the dating application Tinder in which each profile or picture that is swiped left or right will determine the next picture that pops up. Some candidates are also able to listen to audio clips are played to see the way people feel following listening the clips.

All the responses combined create a psychometric profile for the person seeking roles in customer service, delivery or sales.

“Our assessment is less time-consuming and more enjoyable, as well as non-linguistic,” Saurabh adds. Saurabh.

Pmaps visually assessed tests run only 15 minutes long, which is different from tests using text, which take between 45 and 60 minutes.

The story of how it all started

in 2014 Saurabh worked as an investment banking analyst at Axis Bank, where he was required to pitch deals and assist companies in raising funds. While there he observed that the way people behaved was a major factor the decision-making process of deals. For instance, greed or fear affected financial decisions, while rationality was not a factor. So enthralled was he by the significance of behavior and psychology within finance, that he decided to quit his job and went to school to learn about psychology.

Saurabh who already held an MBA as well as an engineering degree was eager to get himself trained with a degree in psychology. Therefore, he decided to enroll in an applied psychology program at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences.

In this project, Saurabh was involved in projects that relied upon images of illustrations, signs and other materials to educate and persuade people to change their habits. One project involved educating the population in Matunga located in Mumbai about the importance of not crossing railway tracks making use of signboards instead. Another project employed images to motivate the patients of hospitals utilize soap dispensers and Sanitisers.

“I realized that I can encourage people to develop more positive habits through images,” says Saurabh.

This insight laid the foundation for Pmaps after he realized the importance of visuals in the assessment of candidates.

Building Pmaps

Saurabh and his team, invested two years constructing and researching the software, which includes an online invigilation tool as well as survey engine.

He was looking to create an accurate, scientifically-backed model made of information technology. However, unlike other fields psychology does not have many historical records to create an algorithm for machine learning. Therefore, the job was carved out for Saurabh: generate datasets to categorize data, create an algorithm to analyze potential candidates.

Saurabh was employed by telecom company Vodafone and gathered the old documents of its employees. He then collated data sets from the records and linked employee responses (to questions and tests) with their performances. As time passed, he began to identify commonalities and pinpoint the variables that determined what employees did. Based on the information obtained, Saurabh designed an algorithm, and later visual tests for Vodafone.

By evaluating the candidates’ empathy, Vodafone was able to recruit people who could be suitable for customer support and ready to learn. This resulted in helping Vodafone stop the loss of employees and made the company Pmaps its first paid customer. After that, the company gained several other customers from telecom.

Pmaps employs a similar method to help businesses assess the soft skills of candidates and their leadership abilities in the sales department. Pmaps has also created tests to assess logistics delivery, ecommerce, and other areas.

The growth so far

The company has more than 50 clients, which include Max Life Insurance, Vi, Dish TV, and RBL Bank. The company claims to have an income pipeline of $100,000.

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Improved hiring results is the bigger goal Saurabh’s vision for Pmaps. Pmaps has conducted more than 2 million tests in India until now. The company claims that its solutions have cut the time for hiring employees by 60 percent, increased the hiring process, and reduced attrition by 5 to 7 percent for recruiters.

What has been working in the favor of Pmaps has been the manner in which that the market for jobs has changed. According to Saurabh jobs in India present, including the expanding fields of food delivery and e-commerce don’t require candidates with a high level of education. Thus, applicants must be evaluated on the soft skills and their personality. Five years ago, the vast majority of job opportunities were in white collar jobs. Today, however, there are many new opportunities the entrepreneur declares.

In the month of March, Pmaps raised Rs 5 crore in a Series A financing round that was led by Indian Angel Network and Lets Venture.

In the world, companies like Pymetrics AMCAT Pymetrics, AMCAT and Mercer Mettl employ evaluation based on text. In the field of visual assessment, Pmaps competes with Tratify which is owned by the US-based Conversation Recruitment company Paradox.

The worldwide personality assessment market is projected to expand by $16.5 billion before 2028 at an annual rate of 12.1 percentages between the years 2021-28, as per an analysis by The Insight Partners.

Road ahead

Pmaps performs 20,000 tests every month. In the next few months, it will boost this number by five times, and also expand its operations over India into Gulf, UK, USA as well as South Asia. The company is also hoping to reach a revenue of $1 million within 10 years time.



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