Startup of the week Neurolytics wants to remove bias and make the candidate experience more objective by analyzing videos using behavioral models and computer vision. The start-up works together with PwC and the Ministry of Defense, among others.
Neurolytics platform helps to screen applicants using video interview software for aspects such as motivation, resistance to stress, and how they fit within the company culture. The start-up of Felix Hermsen and Belen Hein has translated scientific knowledge in the field of neuropsychology and behavioral science into an AI video interview software that provides the most objective assessment removing bias. ‘We believe that everyone should have a fair chance to land a dream job, regardless of your age, gender or ethnicity,’ says Hermsen (photo second from left).
The Candidate Experience
Candidates are presented with assignments via the Neurolytics system, in which their face is observed with computer vision, or the automated (using machine learning) analysis of images. The information that this yields can be directly linked to activation of the central nervous system so that the system can estimate whether someone is calm or stressed. For example, if a candidate finds it difficult to deal with numbers, the system literally reads that (frustrated) state of mind from their face.
Neurolytics promises employers a few more coveted outcomes: a more efficient candidate experience and fewer employees who drop out early because they don’t fit the job well. In order to be able to properly estimate what type of employee is best, the Utrecht startup usually first maps out the characteristics of existing employees for culture fit.
The Founders behind it
Felix Hermsen was confronted at a young age in his own environment with people who were struggling with burnouts and depression, after which he decided that he wanted to better understand and map out these social issues. The idea for Neurolytics arose during a study in cognitive neuroscience (Maastricht University).
Hermsen: ‘I spoke to an investor who said: “Great idea, but you don’t know anything about building a company yet”. That’s how I ended up at Holland Startup, a venture builder that helps entrepreneurs start a business. There I met a co-founder (and born Argentinian, ed.) Belen Hein, who had a business background and a lot of experience with international business. ‘
Marnix Naber was third employee. He is leading the research at Neurolytics and is also assistant professor of Neuroscience and Psychology at Utrecht University. The Neurolytics team now numbers eight people.
Hermsen: ‘All organizations that consider people important and where people are, as it were, the product or service. Think of professional service providers such as consultants, lawyers, IT companies, and agencies.
Neurolytics still has to allay some cold feet with its innovative approach, the entrepreneur notes. ‘The recruitment world has always been fairly conservative. There was some change from long questionnaires to more gaming and psychometric testing. We are now adding a completely new form of behavioral information to this. ‘
‘Our approach is to show very transparently how it works so that both the candidates and companies understand the process. It helps that you can, for example, demonstrate which people fit in a team and that you can prevent dropout. If we can see what kind of department you have, and which people fit into it, then you can hire for culture fit and people who stay longer, perform better, and are happier.
Neurolytics has won grants from the European Union and the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO). The startup received 250,000 euros in the form of a favorable loan aimed for startups to bring scientific knowledge to the market. ‘We are growing so we’re looking at innovative ways to fund growth money’, says Hermsen. ‘We are now working with early adopters and more and more customers are joining.’
In addition, collaborations were started with, among others, PwC and the Ministry of Defense. The Ministry of Defense uses the service to distinguish ‘specific behavioral characteristics’ that are extra important for military personnel.
What is the Engagement Process?
As a SaaS subscription, the onboarding of a new customer consistes of the Neurolytics teams creates and design the company specific tests for candidates. After that, the service can be used for internal testing of employees and teams, or directly for hiring new people.
Hermsen: ‘We’re looking to build long term engagements and we notice that the longer we work together, the better we can see changes that can help an organization. We really want to add value long term value with data-driven recruitment. ‘