Those who know about startups, know that one of the characteristics that differentiate them from traditional businesses is scalability, i.e. the fast growth based on quick decisions. A key example is the hiring of personnel: the secret to success here lies in being able to select key people, quickly, often without even having a Human Resources department.
Eggup, a startup founded in Rome in 2013, claims it can decrease the risk of hiring the wrong people by reversing the traditional recruitment approach based on individual skills.
To better understand Eggup’s new paradigm, I interviewed the CEO and co-founder, Cristian De Mitri, a young computer engineer in his thirties, former Italian Navy cadet, former software consultant for the defense sector and a serial entrepreneur with some startup failures in his past.
“Before founding Eggup” says Cristian, speaking fast but in a very descriptive manner which betrays his enthusiasm and determination, “I was working on a couple of startup ventures and both failed for one reason: despite having meticulously chosen my teammates, co-workers and technical freelancers, eventually something in the teams’ dynamics did not work and caused both projects to fail.”
From these experiences he drew the consideration that the overall effectiveness of a team is more important than each individual’s technical and soft skills. Thus EGGUP was created to eliminate the risk of behavioral incompatibility among team members, which can cause up to 80% loss in performance*. Eggup’s method combines an individual personality test, based on the “Big Five Personality Traits”, with a proprietary algorithm, to match the best candidate to join and add value to a specific team.
“Today all the traditional techniques tell you if a candidate, at the individual level, is suitable or not to a specific organizational role.” Says Cristian “Until our market entry, there was no tool that foresaw what would happen once this person had joined a specific team. Eggup fills this void comparing both skills and personalities to find the best match for a specific team. “
If the forecasts provided by the algorithm of Eggup is as reliable as it seems from the prestigious customers it is lining up in Italy (TIM, Enel, Poste, Mercer, to name a few) American startups could be next. In fact, Eggup appears to satisfy their need to find ways to maximize teamwork synergies.
Make Way for Women
Although the US startup ecosystem is considered the most advanced in the world, women’s participation is still very low: only 25% of the workforce in IT and only 5% of startup founders are females.
This gender gap is due to the perception that women do not master technological skills as well as their male counterparts. According to Cristian “the Eggup approach helps eliminate this discriminatory factor. We believe that, evaluating a candidate based on how both skills and personality fit in a specific team, will level the playing field for women in tech.”
A recent experience with a Croatian software client which founded a startup in Vietnam shows how Eggup, seems actually well equipped to serve global markets regardless of cultural and language differences.
“From the beginning, the Croatian management faced a strategic problem concerning recruitment: how to balance soft skills with the needs for technical know-how,” says Cristian. “The dilemma was exacerbated by sharp cultural differences between the Western founders and the Vietnamese culture very much based on community. Vietnamese males, for example, prefer to avoid making decisions for fear of making mistakes and lose face.”
“For us this has been a very interesting and rewarding project” he continues, “because we could test how within the Eggup framework, cultural barriers become irrelevant. In fact, even operating in a society so different from ours, we could detect all the relevant team’s characteristics and KPI’s that have enabled our customers to build high-performing teams. “
Cristian argues that this success can be replicated anywhere in the world.
Teams Italian Style
Eggup has evaluated more than 500 Italian teams so far. As a result, among the five traits that it uses to assess the psychological profiles of individual candidates, some are more preponderant than others.
The types being: Scheduler, Surveyor, Problem Solver, Coworker and Realizer, Italian team members are almost always the Coworker, someone who is generally pleasant, easier to connect on a human level and work with.
The Problem Solver and the Realizer, the person who implements the tasks alone or with others, are also fairly typical roles for Italians working in teams. More rare is the Scheduler and almost non-existent is the Surveyor, the person who makes sure that deadlines are met. Surprised?
* Rayner, Hoeal & Cooper, 2002