Criteria: How This Talent Success Company Helps Organizations Drive Outcomes And Reduce Bias

By Amit Chowdhry • Oct 16, 2023

Criteria is a talent success company that helps organizations make more objective and evidence-based talent decisions that reduce bias and drive outcomes. The company’s products include a comprehensive suite of rigorously validated assessments and decision-making tools that highlight the potential in every job candidate while providing an experience that candidates love. Pulse 2.0 interviewed Criteria CEO Josh Millet to learn more.

Josh Millet’s Background

Josh Millet

Millet’s path to HR Tech software and entrepreneurship has been a circuitous one. And Millet said:

“After growing up in Canada and moving to the US for college, I ended up doing a Ph.D. in medieval French history, planning on being a teacher. But during the first internet boom, I caught the entrepreneurial bug and launched an educational technology company focused on expanding student access to test prep courses. After selling that company, I moved to the West Coast to work for the acquirer, Xap Corp. Five years later, I co-founded Criteria in an effort to help companies of all sizes utilize assessments to improve their hiring.”

Formation Of Criteria

How did the idea for the company come together? Millet shared:

“After my first company was acquired, I was working for the acquirer and found myself involved in hiring new employees. In one particular interview, I remember glancing up at the clock on the wall just seven minutes into an interview where it was clear right off the bat that the fit was not good on either side.”

“This got me thinking about how using a data-driven approach earlier in the hiring process could help companies cut down on terrible interviews and make better talent decisions. That was the initial inspiration behind Criteria.”

Challenges Faced

What challenges has Millet faced in building the company, and has the current macroeconomic climate affected your company? Millet acknowledged:

“Over the last 15 years, there has been no shortage of challenges, but the transition to remote/hybrid work has been a difficult one to manage for us. Prior to Covid, our culture was a key source of competitive advantage. The shift to a situation where we spend less time in office has been very popular with our team, and has allowed us to retain key talent.”

“We have also observed that it hasn’t negatively impacted productivity. However, it can be hard to preserve the most important elements of our culture in a hybrid environment. I have found navigating the shift from fully in-office, to fully remote, to hybrid to be the biggest challenge we have faced internally to date.”

Core Products

What are the Criteria’s core products and features? Millet explained:

“Criteria is a Talent Success company, meaning that we design and deliver science-based tools to help organizations of any size achieve their talent success goals. At our core are our pre-hire psychometric assessment and structured interviewing products, both of which are available via our own Talent Success platform, as well as via more than 50 ATS integrations. Our products can also be utilized in a post-hire internal mobility context. Our psychometric assessment suite gives customers the flexibility to select from different (and equally valid) assessment types according to their employer brand, the needs of their candidates and what should be tested to ensure a job-relevant talent signal. This includes game-based tests, more traditional assessments and a growing range of assessments delivered to candidates in their preferred language. Our psychometric assessments span cognitive aptitude, personality/behavior, emotional intelligence, and risk.”

“Our approach to skills and knowledge tests includes specific assessments related to hard skills such as computer literacy, Microsoft program proficiency and data entry, as well as a tool called Testmaker which enables customers to design their own skills and knowledge tests relevant to the position being recruited.”

“Structured interviewing is a newer area for Criteria, and one which is being increasingly recognized as a critical component to talent decision-making in both the latest academic thinking, as well as in practice by employers. We made a conscious decision to invest in world-leading video interviewing technology in 2021, and last month we launched a unique Live Interviewing product.”

Live Interviewing Product

Can you provide details about your newest live interviewing product? Millet noted:

“Criteria recently announced the release of its Live Interviewing solution, a tool that can be used for conducting an interview in any format (in-person, over the phone, or over video). Hiring managers can use this solution to create a structured interview process or an interview that quickly gets to the heart of a candidate’s skills and abilities while reducing unconscious bias and leading to overall better quality of hire.”

“The Live Interviewing solution can be used with Criteria’s Video Interviewing product, alongside existing technology like Zoom and MS Teams. Live Interviewing offers key features and benefits, including ease of use, a quicker setup, better candidate experience, and easy access to key hiring information all in one place.”

Significant Milestones

What have been some of the company’s most significant milestones? Millet pointed out:

“Since the company was founded in 2006, Criteria has grown rapidly. Having been bootstrapped initially, we received Series A funding in 2015, and then a majority growth investment from Sumeru Equity Partners in 2019. This enabled us to expand internationally: In 2020, Criteria acquired Revelian, an Australia-based leader in game-based assessments. Then, in 2021, we acquired Alcami, one of the world’s leading video interviewing providers. We now operate under the Criteria brand globally. We have been featured on the Inc. 5000 eight years in a row, and have been recognized as a Best Place to Work by Inc. and Built In LA. Last year, we topped the GirlsClub “Places Where Women Want to Work” list.”

“We now deliver more than 10 million assessments globally each year, and continue to invest in our assessment and structured interviewing product suite, launching our new Live Interviewing product just last month.”

Differentiation From The Competition

What differentiates the company from its competition? Millet affirmed:

“Criteria isn’t a hiring company – it uses its science-backed assessments, video interviewing, and talent management tools to measure a wide array of traits and skills, all in order to drive talent success. Criteria doesn’t just focus on hiring the strongest candidate for a given role – they work with companies to improve employee retention, increase revenue and even improve company productivity. Criteria is unique because they know how to solve many of a business’ most difficult challenges outside of just improving individual job success, and many of their clients have reported quite positive, dramatic results.”

Client Success Stories

Do you have any client success stories? Millet highlighted:

“Criteria works with a large range of impressive companies and case studies can also be found on our site. A notable success story is that of Marine Federal Credit Union, a financial institution that operates 14 branches across North Carolina, Virginia, and South Carolina. Marine Federal wanted to improve the quality of hire for their customer-facing staff, and started to work with Criteria to administer assessments to their incoming candidates. They primarily used three assessments:

– The EPP, or Employee Personality Profile, is a general personality assessment that measures a wide range of behavioral traits associated with particular roles. For example, it can help identify candidates who are suited for customer service roles by measuring traits such as cooperativeness, conscientiousness, and patience.

– The GAME, or General Aptitude Mobile Evaluation, is a fast, mobile-friendly, game-based assessment of cognitive aptitude. It gives an indication of a candidate’s trainability and critical thinking skills.

– The CLIK, or Computer Literacy and Internet Knowledge test is an assessment of basic computer proficiency. It can help to establish what a candidate is able to do on a computer.

“Criteria’s assessments have now enabled Marine Federal to hire employees who have a strong aptitude for customer service. By highlighting candidates with the highest potential, the company is able to interview fewer candidates before finding a good fit for the role. Additionally, by using Criteria’s assessments to help select new employees, Marine Federal’s employee training process has also benefited, and their HR team saves countless hours recruiting, interviewing, and training new team members to fill vacant spots. The assessment results provide deeper insights that Marine Federal can use to build and manage their teams down the line.”

Additional Topics

Any other topics you would like to discuss? Millet concluded:

“Two topics on our minds at the moment are how companies are taking advantage of skills-based practices to enable hiring for potential (rather than the old-fashioned approach of hiring decision-making based on experience and qualifications as outlined on a resume), and also how AI is used ethically to add efficiency to hiring and internal mobility processes while ensuring bias mitigation.”