Cangrade Launching to Test Soft Skills

Screen Shot 2014-04-04 at 1.31.06 PMAn 10-employee assessment company out of Boston, though it has already been quietly using its product with 14 customers, officially launches today with a focus on personality and soft-skills testing.

Cangrade first takes a look at a company’s current employees — or in the case of smaller businesses, it uses “big data” already out there. (The company says its “team of experts spent years researching millions of data points from over 200,000 employees, running over 40 empirical studies, and consulting with over 20,000 of its users.”)

It analyzes the traits that are common among people already on the payroll, and analyzes the job you’re trying to fill. The CEO and co-founder Gerson Goren says it’s not heavily weighted toward one personality characteristic, like the ever-popular “extraversion” some companies seem so intent on.

“It’s not like one trait has one kind of ultimate weight over others,” he says. There are about 40.

After taking a look at the job and what’s working currently, it builds a skills test, mainly for those all-important soft skills, and integrates it into the applicant tracking system. Every candidate, not just finalists, takes the 12-15 minute test.

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Candidates are graded. Cangrade (now you know where the name’s from) also follows people over time, asking managers how they’re doing, to see if the test is predicting who’ll stay employed and high performing.

Gerson tells me that an HR software company (which employs around 700 people in inside sales) has been using the test and that turnover in those jobs is going down. Sales is the kind of job Cangrade wants to fill: high-volume, high supply. “Sales is an extremely good vertical for us,” Gershon says. “It’s all about soft skills.” Hospitality is too, he says.

Goren considers himself “multicultural”; he was born in Russia, and moved to Israel in his teens, where he went to college at a university in the Negev desert. This detail is worth mentioning as the entrepreneur-friendly country is a hotbed of screening and assessment activity; assessment ompanies with at least some tie to Israel that I’ve mentioned include CareerHarmony, HRVision, as well as a long list of others in the HR tech field, like Zao, Tomigo, and more.

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