In my exploration of Personal Networks, I’ve come to the conclusion that the process starts with a fair degree of self awareness. I’ve always been a “self help” addict – and many years ago I became interested in psychometric testing after undertaking a Myers-Briggs MBTI test. Since then, I have worked with a business psychologist in a number of ventures – and it’s added terrific value. Interestingly, the most pleasing thing with psychometric testing is the synergy between the individual gaining self awareness, the team involved having a shared “score” to communicate around – and the organisation seeing the economic benefit of building long lasting teams with complimentary skill sets.
I recently stumbled upon a start up called Identifii, based in Singapore. It’s an interesting business that focusses on a young audience to make sure they start on the right career path. The key to this is helping with self awareness through psychometric testing.
I chatted with Identifii’s founder Usman Sheikh about his new business. First off, he gave me his vision for Identifii: “The right people in the right jobs results in a better world.” That’s a big idea – I like that!
Usman has recognised an issue – and wants to solve it. “The primary problem we aim to solve is one of incorrect career path selection. I graduated from college nearly 5 years ago and when I catch up with old friends, I estimate that over 70% of them, are not entirely happy with what they do on a daily basis. However, they are at a point in their lives, where change has become an extremely difficult option and the decision to ‘just to live with it’, is how they resolve the issue. Many of them selected career paths at graduation, paths which were not always suited for who they were, but rather paths chosen and based upon other factors, such as employer brand or monetary compensation.”
Identifii is focussed on Gen Y – the 16-25 year old college graduate, Facebook generation. In fact, after applying to be part of their Alpha test group, the only way to log-in to the system is via Facebook. So I dusted by FB ID off (an old git like me only uses it to keep an eye on the kids) – and gave the service a try. Five minutes and 20 questions later, I had my psychometric test done – and guess what, they had got me 100% right. See the analysis below!
I’ve been called many things in my life – but I think that I like “Colourful Storyteller” the best! From Identifii’s dashboard, I found out that famous people of my “type” – ENFP (Extrovert/iNtuitive/Feeling/Perceiving) – include Charles Dickens, Robin Williams, Sandra Bullock & Meg Ryan. Cool!! Top three career paths were Journalism, Public Relations and Entrepreneurship. I shared the comments with a couple of friends – and they chuckled at the weaknesses … “Lack of discipline in following through on important detail”, “propensity to focus on what’s achievable rather than what’s doable” and “tendency to become bored or side tracked after creative process is done”. How they laughed – got me in one!
I thought back to when I was leaving school and had a difficult time choosing between a career as a civil engineer, social worker or photo-journalist. Luckily, back then I somehow selected the right career path – with Identifii it would have been so much easier!
I asked Usman why he had created Identifii. “I was at University finishing my Economics degree and thought that I would become an investment banker. Luckily, I did an internship before I graduated and realised it was not for me. I went off to Cambridge University (England) and got my qualification as a certified psychometric consultant. It let me explore how people made choices.”
“I then build a relationship with Psytech – a vendor of psychometric tests – and in 2007 they granted me a license for their products in Pakistan. One of the opportunities I had in Pakistan was to work with 200 graduating MBA students. These graduates felt destined to work at the big multi-national companies (MNCs) like Unilever, P&G, Standard Chartered, etc. I understood the attraction of the large brand and the paycheck – but realised that for 60/65% this was not a good long-term fit.”
Usman could see the opportunity – but felt it was not the time to pursue. He headed back to Singapore and worked with friends developing Hatch Media in to the leading Youth Marketing Agency in the country. He discovered a lot about the 16-25 demographic from his experience there – the Generation Y.
When he saw the exponential growth in Facebook in 2009-10, Usman realised that the time was right to bring Identifii to market. He knew his idea needed major distribution – and FB was the channel.
As with all start-ups, it’s not been plain sailing. He explained how joining the Founders Institute in Singapore was a turning point. He made connections, found mentors to help refine his ideas – and was able to secure the funding needed to start things rolling.
Usman’s perception of Singapore, South East Asia and the surrounding areas was compelling listening for me. “LinkedIn awareness in Singapore with the youth audience is close to 0%. People here are still choosing careers based on traditional pressures like parents wishes, brands and the paycheck size. I believe that there is an opportunity for SMEs (Small & Medium sized Enterprises) to stop the traditional flow of talent to MNCs. We aim with Identifii to job match young talent with more satisfying jobs in the SME sector.”
I was surprised that the Identifii platform only allows access via a Facebook log-in. Usman explained: “We chose Facebook as a way to filter who came in to the site. LinkedIn also has very little take up in the region. However, in the future we will offer a straight forward log-in process and customer validation with Twitter and LinkedIn.”
Usman has a very intuitive feel of the youth audience. “Graduates have typically 6-800 friends on Facebook – it’s a new personal asset that this generation just takes for granted. It’s ‘just there!’. These links through their lifetime will be the links that will create partnerships, job offers and other opportunities.”
Identifii is currently in Alpha testing. He’s opened it up to about 150 people who he knows – or in my case have registered interest. It’s already seen a viral effect with 2,000 folk now using the service. I must admit at the end of the psychometric test when you say “you’ve got me dead right” – it does make you want to get your pals to give it a try. Quite infectious marketing.
Usman’s target audience is a graduate 2 years out of university or college who has just realised they have taken the wrong career path. Identifii will be there to help them get back on course.
As well as the many job sites on the web, Identifii faces competition from newcomers like Roundpegg, OneDayOneJob and BranchOut. I think Usman’s focus in English speaking Asia is a good strategy – and we might well see it transfer around the world too. As he identifies though: “The biggest challenge is building our relationships with employers to provide jobs for Identifii’s users. We currently have 25 businesses involved – and are aiming for 200 employers by summer. It’s essential we can prove we can match the new found awareness with a suitable job.”
Usman is intending to roll out a whole range of self-assessment/psychometric tests for Identifii. He wants to “democratise” this sort of testing by making them free or low price. He also intends to make them fun – so that people enjoy taking part.
I really like Identifii – and Usman’s vision of making the world a better place by getting Gen Y in to the jobs that match them! Do give Identifii and their psychometric test a try. Please do come back here and tell me what “sort of person you are”!
I am sightly baffled that I can’t think of anyone else doing this already. Matching work with people who’ll love it? Madness! Of the good kind. Since I’m hopelessly devoted to helping people make a great living doing stuff they love, I love the idea.
Signed up, waiting for an opportunity to take the test. Be interesting to see if they nail me down.
“Difficulty setting priorities and making decisions.” “Lack of discipline in following through on important detail” “Impatience of working with systems or people who are too rigid.”
Sounds to me like you need a fairly flexible accountability partner . . . I’ll check around and see if we have one in stock.
>I am sightly baffled that I can’t think of anyone else doing this already. Matching work with people who’ll love it? Madness! Of the good kind. <
Think Usman will be using this as his marketing message! When he's rich and famous, at least you and me will remember who said it first!
Hmmm – "accountability partner" – well I definitely need one!
A bit of trivia which struck this westerner’s eye: the founders are named Sheik and Khan? Is this a bid for world domination, or what?
Nice post there! I too took the test and got “Enthusiastic Team Player”! And got these people are my type (apparently) :
x Tim Burton
x Carrie Fisher
x Merylin Monroe
x Woody Harrelson
x Elvis Presley
x Pablo Picasso
x Ronald Reagan
x John Kerry
x Bill Clinton…
I think I’ve got a good chance if I run for the president of USA .. 😀
Looks like you’ve got a 2/3 chance of getting elected, but then a 50/50 chance of being ousted . . .
And then numerous offers to star in “I’m a Celebrity, get me out of here!” …
Hi Badarudheen. Thanks for feedback and taking the time to do the test. “Enthusiastic team player” sounds good – Identifii do have much cooler descriptions than ENFP!. Nos sure about President of the US – from a quick trawl through these people’s profile they seem to be more associated with sex scandals! 😉
@Joel There are a few companies who gave this a shot. Most of them have made the mistakes of making it complicated, addressing only one side of the problem or have had very poor usability. We hope to address each of those issues and make this a success. As far as the bid for world domination not likely. Empowerment of people globally most definitely!
@Badarudheen Thank you very much for testing the system and providing feedback. Would like to hear your feedback as we start to rollout more modules!
@Phil I can’t thank you enough for this article. It has become my default link where I send individuals who would like to learn more about Identifii and how it came about! Thank you very much.
@Usman: The fact that those other companies aren’t even on my radar tells me that ease of use is huge. Your tools even identified my situational switch from INFJ to INFP, which, on reflection, makes perfect sense.
Having worked in this space for the last 5 years, usability makes all the difference. Existing tools used by vendors require weeks of training and are not very flexible.
Your first experience is only the very beginning of what we hope to accomplish.
Looking forward to your feedback and thoughts as we progress.