Testing goes beyond the résumé to highlight new grads’ actual abilities

Ask any hiring manager and you will hear the war for talent is heating up. At the same time, however, there is an ironic gap: millions of newly minted college graduates complain they can’t find work. What gives?

Part of the problem is a need for deeper insight about workers’ skills. It turns out college degrees and résumés are not necessarily the best indicator of employability. This problem has been especially acute in India, where the post-high school education system is not as mature as it is here in the US. The title of a 2011Wall Street Journal article summed up the problem succinctly: “India Graduates Millions, but Too Few Are Fit to Hire.”

Bridging this gap is the goal of Aspiring Minds, an India-based global company that recently expanded into the US. Aspiring Minds gives workers a means to quantify their skill sets in a way that typical college degrees/ résumés cannot, and revolutionize companies’ recruiting functions in the process.

“There is an increasing void between companies that need talent and all these people who are qualified for jobs but can’t find one,” says Tarun Khanna, the Jorge Paulo Lemann Professor at the Harvard Business School and an Aspiring Minds adviser. “Aspiring Minds breaks down the institutional barriers between employers and job seekers. It opens a new world of possibilities for both companies and job candidates.”

The company’s flagship product is the AMCAT, a skills assessment test for workers that uses machine learning, adaptive assessment and statistical methods to evaluate more than 200 of a candidate’s hard and soft skills spanning language, cognitive and functional competencies, personality traits, and situation handling. For companies and recruiters, the AMCAT provides a database of pre-assessed US candidates for more than 1,000 job profiles. Advanced algorithms can accurately predict the future performance of candidates, leading to drastically reduced time spent (and hence money saved) on interviewing. Recruiters can select the hard or soft skills a job requires, set limits for the competency level of incoming candidates in various skill categories, and manage entire recruitment campaigns — all through the platform.

Founded in 2008, the company now has 1 million AMCAT test takers per year, and offers the third-highest integrated credential on LinkedIn (behind Microsoft and Coursera).

The Buzz

These days, finding qualified talent is incredibly difficult. Finding a job after college (or a career change) can seem even harder. With more than 1,100 corporate clients, 4,000partner universities, 200,000 job matches made, and a US expansion underway, Aspiring Minds is using data, machine learning and statistics to help employers and staffing firms build a bridge between the legions of skilled but “aspiring” candidates and the promised land of the employed.