Chemistry Group CTO to scale psychometric hiring
Business Process Management (BPM)

Chemistry Group CTO to scale psychometric hiring

Nominated as part of Human Resource Executive Magazine’s 2016 quest to identity the next great HR tech company (but not selected as the overall winner) Chemistry Group uses psychometric tests and algorithms to help organisations “define what great looks like” and find the people that match their job.

This is a fast growing area. A 2017 perspective piece by Deloitte last year [PDF] described the HR tech market as a whole as “undergoing one of the most disruptive years it has seen this decade” and highlighted a 60% increase in investor funding.

Now Chemistry Group has a new CTO who wants to help the company scale. The challenge, Ajai Sehgal tells me when we meet in London, is that the analysis is manual.

In a lot of ways I’m a bit premature with my meeting with Sehgal – he has only been in the post for a few days when I pop into the office. “At the moment I’m getting an understanding of the manual processes,” he says.

Loosely speaking, what happens at present is consultants visit clients and through questions tease out what the idea ideal personnel fit for that organisation would look like, then they take the information back to the office and apply their proprietary algorithm to model an answer. Automating the process would obviously provide streamlining and scaling opportunities for Chemistry Group, but could also highlight changes impacting the whole HR industry.

In future questions could be asked via an online system, suggests Sehgal, who is very cagey about what specific changes might look like for Chemistry Group at this early stage. “The first step will be R&D,” he says, adding he is planning to build a tiny team of six to 10 high-end developers based in Seattle to the ball rolling.

Sehgal has also been tasked with overhauling the rest of the IT system. “At Chemistry it’s a complete greenfield,” he says. There is tech around the collection of data but the rest of the technology needs to be built from the ground up. It’s an “exciting place to be,” he adds.

Sehgal has a very strong pedigree – he helped found and scale Expedia in the 90s (“it was like school for me”) – worked at Groupon and has just left Hootsuite. The announcement of his appointment on the Chemistry Group’s blog includes a handy infographic CV which seems a little odd at first glance but perhaps not when you consider this is an HR company.   

Despite having a number of prime ministers on the platform, Hootsuite also needed a full IT overhaul when Sehgal joined three years ago, he explains. “It had a great brand” but “lots of technical debt”, a tiny development team and no security. “I’d done what I’d come to do at Hootsuite it was time to hand off. I was intrigued by what Chemistry Group is doing…”

Sehgal doesn’t want to pin a time frame on how long the process of automation will take but does clarify “months not years” and that “it will evolve over time”.

“Machine learning will be part of it,” he says along with graph databases which when put together looks to be an area at the forefront of technology innovation. “We’re hoping to build a new type of social graph,” he says but declines to comment further. “That would be giving away the crown jewels,” he says.



Also read:
The next wave of disruption: Graph-based machine learning



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