Friday, March 11, 2011


I just learned about a company called Roundpegg, that is (as called by Techcrunch) the "eHarmony for jobs". They give you a personality test and use that to fit you to different companies/jobs with different types of corporate culture.  Similar to my discussion about Codility, these kinds of websites bother me.

It's not that Roundpegg isn't a good company.  I think their personality test is probably very good and would be very useful for companies and candidates.  Many companies use similar tests when employees apply for a job (Zappos comes to mind).  The issue is that there is a strong likelihood such a system could be abused will be used poorly.  The best way to use such a system is to use it to weed out the absolute worst candidates, not to find the best candidates. (Similar to the argument in my Codility argument.)

Update (3/15/11):

I suddenly had a thought. Similar to my comments in my Codility comments, how does Roundpegg recommend candidates to companies? Do they give a score like 0-100%? Or like many dating websites, do they give broad "strong match" vs. "maybe match" vs. "no match" grades? I suppose a more subjective grading criteria like the later might make a Roundpegg less susceptible to poor use.


  1. I completely understand your concern. In fact we share it in spades.

    One of our goals is to inform the interview process so that they become *far* less subjective. Research shows our subconscious decides on a candidate within the first 15 seconds. This means the decision at the interview level is being made on your height, smile, handshake, posture, hair, clothing etc.

    Personally, I'd rather know that I didn't fit the values of a company than be told they didn't like the way I styled (or didn't) my hair. Our solution keeps a hiring manager focused on who the individual is and how they operate.

    We are insistent upon being a solution to identify those who fit best and are just one part of the process, but we're not going to be able to control how every customer uses it. Ultimately it comes down to the economy. In bad times, employers have more power and thus are deluged by resumes. They will take shortcuts (even ill-advised ones). In good times, the candidates wield the power and can screen out companies they don't "fit" as well.

    Thanks again for the coverage and I welcome any other feedback you have.


  2. Wow, I didn't expect RoundPegg's co-CEO to find my random comment on my blog :P I guess those Google alerts are working :P

    Rereading my post, I changed "could be abused" to "will be used poorly", since the former was probably a bit harsh. You're right, ultimately you can't control how customer's use it, and subsequently many will use it in ill-advised manners.

    It reminds me of the famed "Microsoft trick questions" (e.g. Why is a mancover round?). A lot of software engineers hate these questions and think they are pointless. Personally I don't. I think when you ask the question properly and the interviewer knows how to handle/judge the interviewing via the question, they are good questions.

    The problem is that many companies and interviewers do not know how to use the questions properly. So it really has become pointless. Candidates prepare for the interviews by memorizing answers and interviewers believe someone is better because they answered the question correctly.