– This is just semi-research, but I probably asked 1,000 managers if they could tell me the biggest mistake they made in their career. What they almost always answer is: Wrong date, says Espen Skorstad, and continues.
– And soon comes the second biggest mistake, which is that they waited too long before they did anything about the problem.
The psychologist and businessman has long since given up on therapy, and the choice of path has been eliminated. Cut-e, the previous company Skorstad helped found, was sold for $1 billion in 2017.
He now draws and gestures in front of a painting in the Research Park in Oslo. He and his partner Lasse Hønsen started from scratch with Fairsight.
It’s about combining advanced personality tests – called psychometrics – with technology and design.
-We work to reduce risks. You can never eliminate it completely, but if you use good and effective methods that ensure fair treatment, you reduce the chance of hiring the wrong people. Our customers see that,” says Honsen.
Name and trust
Skorstad has worked in occupational psychology testing for a number of years. When he helped start Cut-e in the early 2000s, the operation was funded in part by helping participants in reality productions.
When he and his co-founder sold Cut-e to the US insurance giant Aon, the company’s headcount increased to 180 employees in several countries. Skoorstad and Hunsen worked together here, before and after the acquisition.
– It was exciting to be a part of it, but then things became a little different. When you become part of a company with 55,000 employees, something happens to the framework. “We saw some problems that we wanted to solve, and now we’re sitting here,” Hounsen says.
Fairsight was founded in the fall of 2021. Product development began in earnest a year ago, and the company is now seeing about one new customer a week, they say.
Sondo Capital’s Kjetil Holmefjord was present at a pre-launch event.
“It’s not often that you see startups filling large halls with potential customers long before a product hits the market, nor is it often that you see a large number of phones taking screenshots of the product’s functionality,” he says.
His fund is among the first outside investors. It has invested NOK 20 million, together with Skyfall and Futurum Ventures. Including cash, the company is valued at NOK 100 million. The funds will be used to develop the product and eventually sell it in several countries.
Back to wrong assignments. Fairsight’s solution uses what’s called the five-factor model, or… Stop it. The model divides human personality into five components: openness, planning, extraversion, sociability, and neuroticism. It is again divided into a number of sub-aspects.
-There are many variants of the Five Factors and many misunderstandings. Some people think that hiring extroverts is a good thing, but this in and of itself has little value. Instead, it is the side that is called in English emphasisThat is, how active you are. The example is the salesperson who actually pays: “But do we have a deal now?” It’s uncomfortable for many of us, but it’s perseverance that predicts achievement, not that you’re happy standing at a desk chatting, says Scorstad.
Although there are instances from the recruitment industry where discrete personality tests are being used without scientific backing, the founders believe Norway is far ahead.
The challenge – and opportunity for the startup – is that commercialization has been slow.
– People who can perform, but also increase versatility.
Skoorstad further delineates, creating a path to illustrate the typical hiring process, from rough grading to personality tests and face-to-face interviews. The name gives an idea of what the solution should achieve.
“We believe this process should be fairer,” says Honsen.
– In Norway, it takes eight to nine years before a highly qualified immigrant gets a job that matches his qualifications. You notice this if you go to a restaurant or drive a taxi. We also look at gender, age and neurodiversity. We think it’s good for society to spoil these things a little. Some have viewed us as NAV-like actors, but altruism is not the point. We will only help the employer find the best one,” says Skorstad.
Manchester United was sponsored by his former employer Aon, and Skorstad worked for the club to identify the cognitive skills that were most important on the pitch. Draws parallel.
– They don’t just look at the Manchester area when they want to select players. They are in Barcelona, Norway and South Africa. They believe that the more talent you look at, the greater the chances of creating a good team.
Here, founders gain insight into the psychology of decision making.
Companies are measured by their owners. They want people who can perform, but also more versatility. “We help take away the gut feeling,” says Honsen.
– There are very few who openly believe that “we cannot have a Muslim here.” What happens is that you start to wonder if this person is right for you. After all, we have a pilsner on Friday, and a hot dog party in your boss’s garden in June, and suddenly you’ve chosen the candidate who objectively adds the most value to the company, says Skoorstad.(conditions)Copyright Dagens Næringsliv AS and/or our suppliers. We would like you to share our cases using links that lead directly to our pages. No copying or other use of all or part of the Content may be permitted except with written permission or as permitted by law. For more terms see here.
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