We at Staffing Industry Analysts call it “The Sword in the Stone,” nicknamed thus for its ability to find exceptional researchers. It’s a short, skills-based assessment — built by our former VP of research. The process works. But if we had 700 researchers (or if we were a staffing firm that needed to place 700 candidates) spread over multiple specialties or geographies, our current process would be at best inefficient, and at worst unsustainable.

Enter Interviewed.com, a San Francisco-based work assessment simulation company. Its online platform enables firms, staffing agencies and enterprises to build their own “Sword in the Stone” via which they can test candidates on the work they would actually be doing for a particular role prior to being hired. According to co-founder Chris Bakke, most companies are probably using an ad-hoc, self-built solution (such as the one adopted by the SIA research team), and despite a number of existing products and a very fragmented market, “there is a gaping void in skills-based assessment products that don’t suck.”

“The idea for Interviewed came from our own experience and finding out firsthand how difficult it was to gauge candidates based on résumés or even work experience,” Bakke says. “We decided to use live simulations of what a candidate would be doing at a job and real work samples to increase the quality of hires and reduce the time to hire.”

Clients sign up for Interviewed through their website, and it integrates directly into applicant tracking systems. Once candidates have entered their basic info, they will be routed to the Interviewed “sandbox” where, depending on the job being applied for, they can perform tasks ranging from performing financial modelling using “semireal” data to finding and fixing errors on a spreadsheet to responding to a customer service complaint via email or phone. The process is automated and can happen either early, even before the recuiter enters the game, or at a later stage in the hiring process. Clients pay a monthly subscription fee with tiered pricing based on intensity of use and number of users.

Founded in 2015, the company has raised $2.4 million (including strategic investments from Recruit Holdings and Workday), and includes Uber, IBM, Upwork, and “three of the largest staffing firms in the world” among its growing customer base.

The Buzz

Knowing how a candidate will perform before coming on board is critical to staffing firms. Interviewed brings a “Sword in the Stone”-style solution with a 21st century twist.