Personality tests are as old as psychology.
One test in particular — known as the “big five” or “fivefactor model” — scores individuals along five dimensions: openness, extraversion, conscientiousness, agreeableness and neuroticism. It is often used to predict performance and turnover in a work setting, but it can take up to two hours to administer and typically offers little feedback or value to the job applicant.
Enter Traitify, a Baltimore-based technology company with a novel approach to recruiting assessments: using nothing but pictures to make personality assessments not only fun, but doable in less than 90 seconds.
Originally, Traitify was built to match people to activities and restaurants. “We approached it from a consumer dating angle,” says Dan Sines, founder and CEO, “which forced us to figure out a better way to assess personality. We wanted to do it through imagery.” Sines and co-founder Joshua Spears approached well-known psychologist and psychoanalyst Noreen Honeycutt with their idea. “Not only did she say ‘There’s something definitely here,’ she became our founding psychologist,” Sines says. “We took it to colleges and administrators told us they loved our format, but that we should instead use it to help their students find a career path.”
Traitify has two primary use cases. In the first, the company plugs into the recruiting process at the beginning of an application in the form of an approximately 90-second survey in which applicants look at a series of images (sometimes with a caption) and for each picture choose “me” or “not me.” Behind the scenes, the company assigns personality traits to each image, and the final tabulation forms about 400 data points that enable it to accurately measure a candidate’s personality. With this data, recruiters can better understand applicants before they make initial outreach, and clients can better understand what kinds of applicants they are attracting.
The second use case enables candidates to assess themselves to learn about new jobs or opportunities that may align with their personalities. “We did a really cool version of this with GE. We saw a massive number of people take the survey, and then they were sharing their results on social media, with their friends, all of which led to a massive uptick in applies; it was really effective in engaging candidates,” Sines says.
The firm serves corporate clients, staffing firms and job boards. It charges an annual license based on the number of surveys administered. And because the Traitify survey is so brief, it sits at the “top of the funnel” in the application process, and thus processes many more assessments at a lower cost per assessment.
Personality assessments are nothing new but Traitify puts a fresh visual spin on solid psychological footing, and could transform recruiting in the process.