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Pymetrics, a startup founded in 2012, recently landed on Penn's campus. The company aims to change the way students apply for jobs through a series of online games.

Credit: Irina Bit-Babik

A new startup on campus could make students' job searches easier.

Pymetrics, a startup co-founded by Harvard graduates Frida Polli and Julie Yoo in 2012, recently landed on Penn's campus. The company aims to change the way students apply for jobs by gauging users' skills as they play a series of online games, then matching them with employers based on their performances.

After completing 12 games, users are given a personality trait report and a listing of the companies whose requisite skills and personality traits align most closely with theirs. Employers range from “Fortune 100 companies to small startups,” Polli said.

All of the games can be completed in under three minutes, and each game tests certain personality traits such as risk aversion or tenacity. The personality data is valuable to employers as it supplements an applicant's resume, Polli said. 

“The more data you have the better. What people found was that the resume doesn’t provide as predictable a metric as you would like," she said.  "When you turn to these richer data sources that you get from putting people through a series of exercises, it’s much more complex, it’s more detailed and it’s standardized across a much bigger set of people. It can be quite predictive.”

The company hopes that their games provide an unbiased and scientifically valid way of determining people’s strengths and weaknesses. 

“You can use algorithms to make a human recruiter blind to whether someone’s male or female, or other points of bias” Polli said. “Pymetrics is an example of technology that is gender and ethnic bias free.”

Penn's Pymetrics campus ambassador and Wharton freshman Emily Ben Nathan said she is optimistic that the University's pre-professional culture will help Pymetrics grow.

"Right now I see that it’s kind of hard to reach all kinds of students because there are so many startups,” she said. “But I think that once people see that there’s a new way to be recruited — that’s like a mix of LinkedIn and OKCupid — people are going to be very interested”.

College and Wharton sophomore Sathvik Ramanan, who recently signed up for the service, said he was intrigued but not yet convinced it would work. 

“I think it’s an interesting idea, but I’m a bit skeptical that the results of the games could forecast potential career paths,” he said, adding “Although if it works out, that’d be awesome."

Ben Nathan said that about 15 Penn students in the past few months have signed up for Pymetrics, but added that she is hopeful the number will rise quickly.

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