February 11, 2019 – Russell Reynolds Associates and pymetrics, a business that uses neuroscience data and artificial intelligence to help companies make hiring and internal mobility more predictive and less biased, have announced a research partnership to help reduce bias in executive selection decisions. The goal is to identify the cognitive, social and emotional traits that differentiate those who ascend to (and succeed in) C-suite roles within large, complex organizations.
The research partnership will combine pymetrics’ innovative, AI- and neuroscience-powered approach to assessment with Russell Reynolds’ in-depth experience and expertise in C-suite recruitment, succession and assessment.
“C-suite roles are increasingly complex, and boards are rightly demanding a higher burden of proof when making selection decisions for these positions,” said Clarke Murphy, CEO of Russell Reynolds. “That said, too many hiring managers still default to selecting candidates from central casting — or selecting the candidate that reminds them of themselves.”
“We are excited to partner with pymetrics to shed greater light on the attributes that truly differentiate the best executives at the most complex companies and, in turn, to decrease bias in hiring for roles at this level,” said Mr. Murphy. “Pymetrics has quickly established itself as a leader in the field, and for good reason: Their innovative, neuroscience-driven approach is proven to increase new-hire quality and reduce bias in selection decisions.”
Frida Polli, CEO and co-founder of pymetrics, said the joint research can go a long way toward improving corporate leadership. “The world of hiring is fraught with bias, which leads to companies missing out on the best candidates for a role,” she said. “This happens at all levels, including the C-suite. We are excited to blend Russell Reynolds’ expertise in senior executive leadership decisions with our innovative approach in order to provide a roadmap that reduces bias and leads to higher-performing hires.”
The initial results of the partnership’s work are expected to be released this spring, with findings to be presented at a series of executive forums around the world.
Founded in 2013, pymetrics utilizes neuroscience and AI to assess job applicants across a range of cognitive, social and emotional traits and algorithmically recommend the best-suited candidates to companies. The company’s algorithms are proactively audited for demographic bias using an algorithm bias detection tool, which evaluates candidates based on their cognitive and emotional traits rather than their resume, making the process free of gender, race and socioeconomic bias. If a person is not appropriate for the initial job pymetrics will match the individual to other opportunities within the same, or at a different, company.
The pymetrics platform also helps companies with internal mobility, workforce insights and reskilling, matching existing employees with new roles within their organization. “Companies like Unilever, Accenture and others have seen results like doubling hire yield, increasing diversity of hires up to 20 percent and a 65 percent increase in retention through the pymetrics platform,” pymetrics said.
Last year, pymetrics announced that the company had closed a $40 million Series B funding round led by global growth equity firm General Atlantic.
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This funding also included participation from new investors Salesforce Ventures and Workday Ventures, and existing investors Khosla Ventures and Jazz Venture Partners.
The company launched an Asia-Pacific presence last year, opening offices in Singapore and Sydney, adding to its existing locations in New York and London. It was expected to use the investment to accelerate international expansion and continue product development.
Dr. Polli said pymetrics fundamentally reinvents the job matching process by making resumes and rejection letters a thing of the past. “Candidates should be evaluated on their potential, not pedigree, and all candidates should be encouraged to find their ideal job rather than a rejection letter being the end of the road,” she said. “The current process does not use people’s time efficiently and it does not maximize human potential.”
A New Approach
“We believe pymetrics is at the forefront of the transition to digital recruiting, where companies no longer need to rely on traditional, outdated screening processes to find their best talent,” said Alex Crisses, managing director at General Atlantic.
Gary Reiner, operating partner at General Atlantic, also praised the company. “From our experience, companies are increasingly focused on improving diversity and retention amongst their employee base,” he said. “We believe pymetrics offers the best solution to address these issues and we look forward to partnering with the company as it continues to grow.”
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor; and Andrew W. Mitchell, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media