Localizing psychometric tools for recruitment: Assess makes efficient HR affordable

Assess aims to facilitate the process of talent selection for HR departments and help them evaluate applicants in a more efficient way

Globally used recruitment assessment tools have become quite expensive, particularly after the devaluation of the Egyptian pound in November 2016, becoming largely unaffordable.

The job market in Egypt and the region is full of potential; but with tons of applicants and interviews, firms and companies may get lost in the process.

Hence, the need for an affordable and efficient tool is apparent.

This is where Mohamed El-Shafie and his cofounder Ahmed El-Bokhary step in. With their startup Assess, they aim to facilitate the process of talent selection for human resources (HR) departments and help them evaluate applicants in a more efficient way.

Business Forward speaks to El-Shafie, whose startup graduated from the American University in Cairo’s (AUC) incubator V-Lab in its fourth cycle.

People who use psychometric assessments have insights beyond the one-to-one interviews

What are psychometric assessments?
Psychometric assessments consist of examining abilities through aptitude assessments that reveal cognitive abilities and personality traits.

On the technical level, psychometric assessment tools increase the objectivity of the interviewing process. Literature has proven that these tools predict up to 70 percent of a person’s future behavior with no biases, according to El-Shafie.

“People who use these tools have insights beyond the one-to-one interviews which can be misleading at times,” El-Shafie says.

On the long run, these assessments are cost-effective. What recruiters spend on psychometric tools is less than their expenses when hiring the wrong people, only to realize later on that they are not a good fit. Time-wise, using such tools accelerates the process by saving the time it takes to interview candidates, El-Shafie goes on to say.

Psychometric tools do not only assess interpersonal skills, but also analytical thinking which is highly required among engineers and developers.

How does the process work?
“Assess develops psychometric assessment tools and these tools can be used for either talent acquisition and selection or talent development,” El-Shafie, who has over 11 years of experience in the HR field, says. The only phase in which Assess intervenes is the tool recruiters use.

Today, Assess partnered with 20-25 companies, including Juhayna, by focusing on localizing the tool in order to not oversee cultural differences that may get lost when global tools are merely translated.

“Similar assessment tools are rather common abroad and they have been researching markets and developing tools for more than 50 years,” El-Shafie continues, adding that he had spent a lot of years using tools developed by other people.

He explains that companies are ready to spend large sums of money for globally acknowledged tools when recruiting for high-level positions – however, this amount would not be spent for selecting candidates for anything below managerial positions.

Additionally, these tools do not make the decision on the recruiter’s behalf, but rather gives a report that facilitates and simplifies the process.

Accordingly, Assess developed a tool that is affordable when mass recruiting and mass developing, and is also – to a great extent – compatible with with international standards, while keeping the local culture in mind.

“We started with the research and development of psychometrics in 2014. […] There is no literature about it in Egypt. Even in psychology departments at universities, there is nothing on organizational psychology,” El-Shafie adds.

After graduating from the V-Lab, Assess has been experiencing a steady growth. In late 2015, it acquired its first client Juhayna. In 2017, it acquired its first regional client in Saudi Arabia.

“Our vision is to set the standards of local talent in the region in the next 10 years through research and development […] and to have commercial presence,” El-Shafie concludes.

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