Stuck in a job you hate? Still don’t know what you want to do with your life despite the fact that you’re about to graduate from university soon? If this sounds like you, perhaps you should head on over to Identifii.
A site that offers, in the words of founder Usman Sheikh, “career discovery for the 18-35 set”, it works on the premise that companies have long neglected the role that personality plays in determining how well someone is suited for a particular job. Just think about it. Why are so many people unhappy with their jobs? Could it be that they aren’t suited to them? You have to admit that it makes quite a lot of sense. According to Usman, Identifii’s goal is to solve this problem by helping people become aware of their personal strengths and weaknesses. And how are people supposed to do this? By completing psychometric tests on the site (which are free, by the way.) We caught up with him to find out more about what Identifii has to offer.
You describe yourself as a serial entrepreneur. Have you ever worked for anyone before?
I had a boss for two weeks but it didn’t work out. I thought back then that I wanted to be an investment banker but turns out it wasn’t the job for me.
How did the idea for Identifii come about?
When you ask someone who’s graduating from college what they want to do, you get blur faces or stock answers like ‘I want to be a banker.’ One of the reasons this happens is because they don’t have enough information to make an informed decision so we’re going to equip them with enough information so they can make better decisions instead of a biased one.
In 2010, We launched Reevolo at Echelon. Reevolo was a web-based career guidance service that had students answer the question: What do you want to be when you grow up? We received lots of queries and were trying to figure how to create a business model around it. In October I joined the Founders Institute programme in Singapore and out of that, we refined Revolo to become Identifii.
The vision for the company is to empower people to lead fulfilled, meaningful and successful lives. When you put people in the right jobs, their lives become better, the lives of everyone around them become better and the world becomes better.
Tell us more about Identifii.
Identifii is career discovery for the 18-35 age set. We help people become aware of their strengths and weaknesses, identify their work preferences and match them with companies that would suit their personalities. This means not just matching you with the Googles of the world but also SMEs and start-ups. A lot of the times, people don’t know what sort of companies are out there and this helps provide exposure to options that they wouldn’t have considered at first but may be a better fit. People have pre-conceived notions that they want to work at JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs but they may not have the killer instinct that you need to survive in such an organization. I know really smart people who went into investment banking and they’re like, “I want to commit suicide.”
What stage is Identifii at right now?
We’re still in the alpha stage, so there’s only one test that users can do. We have a couple of thousand people who have taken our test from Brazil to New Zealand and the feedback’s been very well received.
We’re still working on the job recommendation elements and we’re planning to launch the beta version at Echelon on June 16.
How about funding?
We’re looking to raise around SGD $350k (USD $284k), but we’re not completely set on when to close our funding. Since all the founders have their own sources of passive income, we’re looking to raise money only from sources that can add value to the product.
What’s the difference between taking a test on Identifii and an online test elsewhere?
The experience for anyone who’s taken a free online test is atrocious. Most of the free tests out there are either not professional or designed very poorly. One of our competitors has a test called “What is the Best Job You’re Suited For?” You answer ten questions and they give you a stock answer with very little context. I got a stock answer that told me I could be a computer programmer. There are hundreds of these tests but what value do you get out of them?
Also, the experience of taking free online tests is pretty bad because companies don’t know how to monetize. So you go to a site and it’s littered with ads. Then when you get your report, it’s all text and there’s very little context.
We encourage people to go take a test online to experience how bad it is. We have less than a 7% drop rate when someone starts a test on Identifii. Our reports have a strong design component. It’s not all text and there are graphs, charts and they are more highly personalized. You can also share your reports with your friends.
Tell us more about the tests on Identifii. Which model do they adopt?
For the first test, we chose the Myers-Brigg model because we needed a semi-reliable test that people could get through quickly. You’d get a report which more than 70 percent of people have clicked the button “sounds like me” thus validating the report.
Moving forward, the model we’re using is the Big 5 model. These are more complex tests with 100-150 questions and they take a longer time to complete. What we’re trying to do is break the test down to smaller tests that we will continually release so people will come back and take them.
A personality type and breakdown including career recommendations from Identifii.
Why should people take a personality test at Identifii? What value do they get?
You can take these tests outside but they’re expensive and with Identifii they’ll always be free. Also, we develop our tests with the help of PhDs. Alan, our VP of Product Development, and I both have a background in psychometrics and we have an advisor, Dr Keith Coeley, who has a PhD in work and legal psychology and has written bestselling books on the subject of psychometrics.
At Identifii, you’ll also get detailed reports and we go one step further by linking you to what you can do with it. Identifii helps you understand yourself better by suggesting the kind of jobs that you want to do, the kind of people you may want to talk to, the books you should read et cetera.
You mentioned Identifii recommends people with jobs. How is it different from a job site?
Job sites are not user centric. They use users’ job IDs – which are basically your résumé – to match them with static employer requirements and they make the latter their priority. We want to focus on the users.
When someone applies with Identifii, the company will know whether that person’s a good match for them or not. For example if you apply to a start-up with Identifii and you’re not a good match, the system will disregard your application completely. With a job site, even if you’re not a good match the system will still process your application and your résumé.
You also mentioned Identifii connects users with people who may be able to help them get the job they’ve been matched with. Can you explain how this works?
When you log in with Facebook or LinkedIn, the system sees where all your connections work. So if you want to work at Google and you’re connected to me, you could see I’m connected with three people who are working there. You could ask if you can use me as a reference and my profile gets added to your application. When it reaches them, they’ll also be able to see my connections to Google and if they want to check you out, they can log on to Identifii to do so.
Basically, Identifii connects your social network and makes it more useful for you. For example, you may not know where some of your friends are working or what they’re doing right now. Facebook doesn’t let you search those parameters but we arrange it all nicely for you so if anyone has links to any of the companies you’ve been matched with, it automatically puts that out as your first and second degree.
Are you in talks with any company right now?
We have a lot of pilot programmes we’re running right now. Companies are testing the system to see how it can help them make better and more informed selection decisions. It’s still early days but you’ll be seeing a lot more things such as new tests and the recommendation technology in the coming months.
Where do you see Identifii in five years?
We aim to have helped millions of people make informed and better career decisions. Identifii will be a service that every high school student, fresh graduate and person who is in the middle of a career crisis will turn to.
Image credit: jeffk