We’ve reported on countless startups that are striving to re-invent the interview and recruitment process. It seems that recruitment may be one of the hottest startup spaces in 2012. How can you separate the good and the bad? Well one way is by knowing that Dave McClure’s 500 startups is backing this Madrid startup, Traity.
Traity is attacking the recruitment space with analytics, data, and endorsement. When you look up a book or something that may be a bit new to you on Amazon.com, you’re a lot more comfortable knowing that the book has 100+ positive reviews right? If you’re like me and willing to take a chance on a book, having 100 reviews either positive or negative is typically an indicator that it’s at least worth a look.
Well that’s where Traity starts. Their recruitment platform reports are made up of endorsements from several people.
The other place where Traity is making a difference is in personality. Traity positions themselves as a personality based engine, personality test or as it suggests on their website, personality game. Traity is measuring the personality strengths in people like perseverance or how proactive they will be. A candidate could look perfect on paper but they could be a bump on a log in real life. These are all factors you need to know when hiring a candidate, that you may not get to see until the interview.
Speaking of interviews, here’s an interview with Juan Cartagena, co-founder of 500 startups, startup Traity
What is Traity?
A typical job might get 1000 applications. How do you think recruiters choose? Mostly based on random choice, assumptions, or whether they read or not some keywords they are looking for. This is a very negative approach to recruitment. There must be more positive and effective approaches, based on your strengths.
We measure the personality strengths of people based on contributions from their contacts, including perseverance or proactivity. This allows people to be more self aware and find jobs or majors that might fit better with their personalities. Our algorithms take all the answers and create profiles that people can trust because of statistical validity. As an example, when you see a book on amazon, you will trust the review if it has 73 reviewers. Equally, you will trust our reports when many people have contributed.
Effectively, we want to disrupt personality tests. Personality tests are in your head, what you believe about yourself, which is inherently biased. What we are doing helps you learn new insights.
Who are the founders and what are their backgrounds
We are three founders from Spain, Juan, Jose and Borja, all 30. I have an MBA from Chicago Booth and previously a background in strategy and product management. Jose holds a PhD in intelligent systems and had previously built a social network in Spain.
Borja is a software development guru, previously at one of the biggest Spanish websites.
Where are you based?
Currently based in Mountain View at the 500Startups office. We were previously in London at the Google Campus, and before that, we started in Madrid, from a very noisy Cafe.
What is the startup culture like where you are based?
We have been lucky to see the ecosystems of Madrid, London and currently exploring Silicon Valley.
Of them, unfortunately Madrid is the one that needs to develop more and learn from the other two. Spain needs a stronger culture of “Failing is good” that we can see in the US or Israel.
London is a fantastic place, the so called “Silicon Round About” at Old Street is full of very interesting and successful startups, and the recently inaugurated Google Campus continues to develop the ecosystem. Furthermore, the government is helping entrepreneurs with fiscal and legal policies
We have only been in Silicon Valley a few weeks, figuring out the who’s who of the ecosystem, so I am not able to tell yet, but the people we have met here are unbelievable, so successful and humble at the same time. I would love to spend here many years, and perhaps in the future bring some expertise back to Madrid to help foster the entrepreneurship spirit there.
What problem does your startup solve?
Most people, particularly recent graduates, have very little differentiation in their resumes, especially when they don’t come from a top tier university or have a badge from McKinsey. But there are people out there with great core strengths who could fit with companies cultures who are just not being able to differentiate based on their CVs. We are here to show differentiation between people at a core level, your personal strengths, your communication style, your personal brand, the person you really are. And that’s important for every job and every relationship.
What is one challenge that you’ve overcome in the startup process?
Bootstrapping was hard. While I was deciding whether to dedicate 100% of my effort to Traity, I was also looking for jobs as I was finishing my MBA from Chicago Booth, and it felt like a waste not to use it to find a good job in consulting or banking. I also got social pressure from family and close friends to find a proper job so that I could leverage that education… but at some point I realised I did not want to do anything else. My cofounders had similar challenges. It was only once we went full on that we got our first investors and things started to happen.
Who are your mentors and role models?
I am lucky to have mentors and role models from the many locations where I have been and studied. Anthony Levy, former colleague in my previous job, always gave me a different perspective about problems from which I benefited immensely, and David Gil was the first entrepreneur in my circle of friends when doing startups was not so fashionable. I admire them and keep learning from them.
Whats one thing the world doesn’t know about you or your startup?
Many users don’t know that we are a very scientific company, behind the cartoonish brand. Our algorithms, psychometrics and sociometrics come endorsed by renowned faculty members from top institutions. It was very important for us that, when you measure something like personality, the science behind it must be credible. We don’t speak too much about it on the site because we found that too much info confuses people :).
What’s next for Traity?
We continue to develop the user experience and improve the unitary metrics. We want to help people learn more about themselves, and make it easy for them to understand what their different strengths mean, how to develop them and apply them in the right ways. We keep developing the science and relationships with bigger recruitment sites.