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Demystifying the Pymetrics assessment: What it is & how to prepare

various alternatives of pymetrics assessment for an employer or a job candidate

What does pumping a balloon full of air or hitting a key on your keyboard as fast as you can have to do with being an investment banker? According to the makers of the Pymetrics assessment, a lot. This series of neuroscience-based online games have taken the hiring world by storm, and it could be what stands between a candidate and their dream job.

Whether you’ve been asked to take a Pymetrics assessment as a job candidate, or you’re considering using it as a tool for creating more diverse teams as an employer-this article is for you.

Table of contents
What is a Pymetrics assessment?
Why do companies use the Pymetrics assessment?
What kind of games does the Pymetrics assessment have?
How do you pass a Pymetrics assessment?
Can you practice for a Pymetrics test?
What’s a good alternative to Pymetrics?
Is the Pymetrics assessment the best fit for you?

What is a Pymetrics assessment?

A Pymetrics assessment is a set of neuroscience-based online games that gauges a person’s soft skills based on behavioral data gleaned from how they play the games. Employers often use this assessment to diversify their workforce by eliminating the inherent bias in judging candidates based on resumes and cover letters. Major companies such as Tesla, JP Morgan and Boston Consulting Group reportedly use Pymetrics.

Pymetrics launched in 2013 and is led by co-founder and CEO Frida Polli, a former Harvard and MIT neuroscientist.

Pymetrics consists of 12 core games that assess 91 traits in nine categories:

  • Attention: When presented with information and distractions, do you tend to take your time, or are you biased toward action?
  • Decision making: When making decisions, are you more deliberative, or do you tend to trust your gut?
  • Effort: Do you work equally hard on all tasks, or are you more driven to exert effort when there's a reward involved?
  • Emotion: When discerning someone's emotions, do you tend to lean on facial expressions, or do you rely on context?
  • Fairness: When judging the fairness of a social situation, are you quick to determine that most situations are fair, or do you take your time before drawing a conclusion?
  • Focus: Are you more likely to block out distractions and focus on a single task, or do you tend to multitask?
  • Generosity: Are you more likely to share your resources, or do you tend to err on the side of caution when it comes to sharing?
  • Learning: When you get new information, do you quickly change your behavior, or do you take your time before deciding to modify your approach?
  • Risk tolerance: Are you more likely to dive into a situation without too much concern for negative consequences, or do you exercise caution and choose safer paths?

In addition to its core games, Pymetrics offers gamified assessments of:

  • Numerical agility
  • Quantitative reasoning

Because Pymetrics measures traits, there are technically no “right” or “wrong” answers. However, if you want to get the job, the employer is looking for specific traits, and if your assessment results do not match those traits, you may not get the job.

You can only access the Pymetrics platform if you’ve applied for a job with a company that Pymetrics has partnered with. If that’s the case, you’ll receive an invitation. You can only take the Pymetrics assessment once every 330 days.

Why do companies use the Pymetrics assessment?

If playing a series of games to test your soft skills seems odd, realize that the assessment was built because its founders saw the traditional method of hiring (relying on resumes and cover letters) as inherently biased. Because resumes are self-reported and the candidate has an incentive to present themselves in a certain way, the Pymetrics founders wanted to find a way to select the best candidates for the specific job, without biases getting in the way. With gamified assessments, it’s much more difficult for candidates to guess what kind of answer an employer is looking for, which can help keep the process more honest.

And what about diversity? According to an Inc. article: “Polli noted that the platform also has helped companies increase their diversity. She says Pymetric's algorithms constantly test for and remove ethnic or gender biases that arise, leading to more women and minority hires. It also helps companies expand their scope beyond just those who can afford expensive college educations.”

What kind of games does the Pymetrics assessment have?

The Pymetrics website, for the most part, doesn’t reveal the details of the games, and only candidates who apply for jobs with official Pymetrics partner companies ever get invited to take the Pymetrics assessment. There is only one game I found described on the Pymetrics website, and it’s called the Stop game. In this assessment, red and green circles will flash on your screen, and you'll be tasked with hitting the spacebar as fast and accurately as you can only when the red circle shows up. This is testing your decision-making, measuring whether you fall more on the instinctive side or the deliberative side.

Additionally, Graduates First reports about a Pymetrics balloons game, where you're presented with several balloons that you can pump up, and with each pump, you can earn money and either bank it or continue to pump it. But beware: If the balloon pops, you lose the money. This game measures risk.

Those are just a couple of examples of the types of games you might play during a Pymetrics assessment.

How do you pass a Pymetrics assessment?

That’s a tricky question to answer. Because Pymetrics measures soft skills through a series of neuroscience games, there’s technically no “right” or “wrong” way to do it.

From the BCG website:

“This is not a standardized test, nor is it an IQ test - there is no right or wrong way to play the games.”

“The Pymetrics games are just one of several components of our overall candidate evaluation process, and your results will always be considered alongside all other elements of your application. The Pymetrics results are never used as a ‘filter’ to eliminate candidates from consideration; rather, BCG views Pymetrics as an inclusion tool. The games help us identify candidates with a range of backgrounds, education and work experiences who share the behavioral and cognitive traits of successful BCGers.”

From the Pymetrics blog:

“Our nine behavioral factors were developed to be bi-directional - measures where one can score on a spectrum with neither side assumed to be inherently ‘good’ or ‘bad’.”

But, sometimes, employers are looking for specific soft skills to match a specific job description, so they will take your results into consideration when assessing your candidacy. That’s what makes it difficult because you can’t know for sure what the employer is looking for unless you ask them.

However, based on the job description and what the job entails, you can probably make an educated guess as to what kinds of soft skills your potential employer is looking for, and based on how the games are structured, you can probably also make an educated guess at what the game is assessing.

Can you practice for a Pymetrics test?

Pymetrics offers no practice tests or even example questions on its site. And because it’s measuring behavioral data where there’s technically no right or wrong answer, it’s not exactly something you can practice for.

However, if you are a candidate who’s being asked to take the Pymetrics assessment, there are a few things you can do to prepare.

Gain self-awareness through an evidence-based soft skills assessment

The Pymetrics games are trying to assess your soft skills. Therefore, it would be helpful to know where your strengths and blind spots are before you attempt the games. One way to do this is through F4S, a soft skills assessment based on 20+ years of motivation research.

After you take the F4S test, you’ll get a detailed report of where you fall on a spectrum for each of the 48 traits, some of which overlap with the Pymetrics traits. This can give you insight into how you might score on the Pymetrics test in some areas. Plus, F4S will then connect you with free online coaching programs that can help you strengthen your blind spots and better prepare you. Take the free F4S assessment here.

Do your research to understand what the employer values and what the role entails

If you can figure out what the employer values and what the role entails, you can reverse engineer your way into what kind of Pymetrics results would make you more likely to be selected as an ideal candidate.

Read the job description again and compare it to the nine categories that Pymetrics measures. You’ll probably be able to tell what kind of Pymetrics results would best align with that role.

For example, if you’re applying for a role as an accountant, and Pymetrics measures whether you lean more toward deliberative or intuitive decision-making, you can safely guess that the role might be best suited for someone who takes time to logically think through a decision. It’s unlikely that a company will want someone responsible for crunching numbers to rely on their “gut feel” for a financial decision.

Or, if you’re applying for a role as a software engineer for a fast-growing startup, you might deduce that showing a higher tolerance for risk would be a good thing for such a role since you’ll have to move quickly and try new things in order to innovate.

Make a list of all these trait preferences and study them well. From there, you’ll be able to more easily determine which trait each Pymetrics game is measuring for.

Use brain training apps

While brain training apps may not specifically target the soft skills that Pymetrics is assessing, they will at least get you accustomed to the gamified environment.

In addition to its core games, Pymetrics offers gamified assessments of numerical agility and quantitative reasoning. These areas seem to be more conducive to brain training apps.

Here are a few you could try:

  • Lumosity has games that help with divided attention, selective attention, logical reasoning, numerical estimation and numerical calculation-all topics that seem to relate to Pymetrics.
  • Peak is a mobile app that has cognitive games that specifically target attention, one of the categories of traits that Pymetrics assesses.
  • CogniFit is a website that has free brain games that target short-term memory, similar to what’s being measured in one of the Pymetrics games where you must try to remember a series of numbers that pop up on the screen.

Participate in coaching to help develop your soft skills

The great thing about soft skills is they’re just that: skills! And unlike inherent traits, skills can be developed. So every skill that the Pymetrics test assesses can be developed too.

Online coaching is a great way to develop specific skills that might be measured by the Pymetrics games. For example, for the decision-making category that Pymetrics gauges, you might determine that the role you’re interested in is the best fit for a candidate who is an intuitive decision-maker versus a more deliberative one.

In that case, you could take our free online coaching program Trust Your Gut Feel. In just two sessions per week, you can learn how to find and trust your intuition so you can accelerate your decision-making.

Another excellent way to prepare is by participating in our Start Fast program. It’ll help you think quickly on your feet-helpful for when you’re playing the Pymetrics games.

What’s a good alternative to Pymetrics?

If you’re an employer looking for Pymetrics alternatives that can help you better understand which candidates are the best fit for the role, let us introduce you to our free, science-based platform.

Fingerprint for Success (F4S)

F4S is a people analytics and online coaching platform and the creator of an assessment based on more than 20 years of motivation research.

Here’s how F4S differentiates itself from others, making it a great alternative to Pymetrics:

  • It’s not a personality test-meaning it encourages a growth mindset. Personality tests are made to measure personality traits that are generally believed to be largely static over time. F4S, on the other hand, is dynamic and measures soft skills that are completely learnable and changeable. Not only that, but F4S also provides online coaching that helps candidates improve upon specific traits of their choosing. This creates an empowering experience for candidates, where, for example, if they’d like to increase their big picture thinking, they could work with AI Coach Marlee to do so (and it’s free!).
  • Anyone can take the assessment as many times as they’d like and measure changes over time. With Pymetrics, people must receive an invitation to take the assessment, and even then, they can take it only once every 330 days.But with F4S, we want you to be able to easily access your results and measure progress. That’s why our assessment is free for anyone to take. After taking the F4S assessment, users receive a detailed report with scores indicating how they measure across 48 unique traits. What’s more, they can continue taking the F4S test as many times as they’d like so they can measure their growth in specific areas over time.
  • Help candidates grow with AI and human-based coaching. Instead of delivering a report to candidates and then leaving it at that, F4S empowers candidates to grow by offering AI and human-based coaching that targets their desired goals.
  • Monitor and improve personal and professional growth and career development. Thanks to the F4S insights and coaching, you can monitor your employees’ progress and encourage further career development through coaching programs.
  • The F4S assessment and many AI coaching programs are free. There’s no charge to take the F4S assessment. Plus, we offer many free AI-powered online coaching programs with Coach Marlee.

With F4S, there is no passing or failing. It takes a holistic view of the person’s motivations and shows strengths and areas for improvement-and then provides the tools to grow stronger in chosen areas. F4S is most powerful when used alongside behavioral interviews. Overall, it’s a very empowering and uplifting experience for candidates.

Is the Pymetrics assessment the best fit for you?

We hope that you’ve gained a more thorough understanding of the Pymetrics assessment-a series of neuroscience-based games aiming to measure soft skills. If you’re an employer whose goal is to overcome biases in the hiring process and create more fair ways to ensure you select the best person for the role, then it makes complete sense to consider Pymetrics as a tool to enhance your hiring.

But realize there are Pymetrics alternatives that are less expensive and have unique advantages. F4S, for example, is a completely free assessment tool. And you and your candidates and employees can take the assessment as many times as you’d like to track and measure growth over time. What’s more, F4S provides free AI-powered online coaching programs targeting certain goals. So unlike Pymetrics, F4S takes assessment a step further and helps people to pinpoint areas for growth and strengthen them.

And if you’re a job candidate who’s looking to prepare for the Pymetrics assessment, F4S has got you covered there too! By taking the F4S assessment, you can gain insights into your soft skills (strengths and blind spots) ahead of the Pymetrics games. From there, you can participate in our free online coaching to get ready, such as Start Fast, which will help you think quickly on your feet.

Take the free F4S assessment today to see your strengths and blind spots.

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