If you’ve applied for a consulting position with BCG, you may have been asked to take a Pymetrics test. You’re probably wondering what this test looks like and what is measured.
The test is beneficial for BCG because it screens candidates in an automated fashion, efficiently identifying candidates with traits that match those of successful BCG consultants and moving them forward to in-person interviews.
It’s good for candidates as well because the Pymetrics test reduces bias in the hiring process, ensuring the best candidates are moved forward regardless of race or sex.
In this article, we’ll give you an overview of the BCG Pymetrics Test and provide insight into what the test is assessing.
If this is your first visit to My Consulting Offer – head to Case Study Interview Prep for an intro into the management consulting interview process. If you want to know all about BCG’s new Pymetrics test, you’re in the right place.
Let’s get started!
What Is the BCG Pymetrics Test?
The company asserts that the traditional hiring process is broken:
- Companies receive a high volume of applications for open positions,
- Human resources professionals are swamped by these applications,
- This leads to a bad candidate experience during the recruiting process (delayed feedback on applications and interviews), and
- 40% of new hires leave the position in their 1st year because the position isn’t right for them.
To fix these problems, Pymetrics has built a series of short neuroscience games, like the balloon pump game pictured to the right, that measure traits such as cognitive flexibility, attention control, how candidates manage risk, and many more.
These traits are non-directional, meaning that there is “no wrong answer,” but rather some behaviors are better for a particular role at a particular company than others.
Job candidates’ traits are compared to those of high-performing employees for the hiring firm, as measured by the results of those employees on these same neuroscience tests.
Pymetrics has found that companies that have instituted their tests have seen an increase in job acceptance rates, an increase in employee retention, and improved job performance.
Why Measure Personal Traits?
In this article, BCG outlines 5 different potential market environments that businesses may face, each of which requires a different strategy and leadership traits to succeed.
Markets can be characterized as:
- Stable or malleable/able to be manipulated by market players,
- Predictable or unpredictable, and
- Harsh or not harsh in terms of outcomes.
A stable, predictable market, for example, is one with mature technology and entrenched players, such as the market for washing machines.
A malleable, unpredictable market, on the other hand, is one with new or changing technology and new entrants to the market, such as the market for electric cars.
The strategies and leadership traits that will succeed in these markets differ dramatically.
- Classical – in a predictable, stable market, a strategy based on rational analysis, planning and disciplined execution will be successful.
- Adaptive – in an unpredictable market that can’t be manipulated by players, a strategy based on iterative experimentation will be successful.
- Visionary – in a predictable market that can be manipulated by players, a strategy based on developing and executing new value-creating ideas and will be successful.
- Shaping – in an unpredictable market that is malleable, a strategy based on shaping the ecosystem of the market and the platform which will become dominant will be successful, and
- Renewal – in a market that has harsh conditions, a strategy based on making fast, pragmatic pivots will be successful.
Depending on market conditions, differing strategies and leadership traits will bring business success.
Because of this, BCG wants different types of thinkers on its consulting teams so they can create solutions that will bring their clients success in a wide varies of industries and markets.
What Traits Does the Pymetrics Test Assess?
The BCG Pymetrics test assesses a broad range of 90 cognitive traits through a series of 2-3 minute games or tests. Their series of 12 games takes approximately 25 minutes to complete.
The traits the Pymetrics test assesses include focus, decision-making speed, risk tolerance, memory, judgement, problem solving and assessment of emotions.
For example, the balloon test pictured above tests a candidate’s risk tolerance by measuring how they trade off points received each time they pump air into the balloon against points lost if the balloon bursts.
Another game, in which a candidate is shown a series of red and green circles and asked to tap the keyboard when they see red circles and do nothing when they see green circles, measures focus.
Once the candidate’s trait profile is established, that profile is compared to the profiles of successful BCG consultants. Good matches result in candidates moving on in the interview process.
After taking the test, candidates receive a Traits Report from Pymetrics that documents their personal traits as assessed by the games (see example below.)
BCG Pymetrics Test Examples
- Balloon/pump game which tests risk tolerance by giving the candidate money for each pump but taking it away if the balloon bursts.
- Red dot/ green dot game which tests focus by having the candidate hit the space bar for each red dot but doing nothing when the green dot appears.
- Memory game which tests how many digits a candidate can remember.
- Timed problem-solving game in which the candidate is asked to match one stack of colors to a displayed stack with the least moves possible.
- Emotional reading test in which the candidate is shown a face or faces and provided with a short excerpt to read. The candidate is asked what emotion is displayed.
- Prioritization test in which a candidate is asked to choose between completing an easy task or a harder task for different payouts.
- Transaction game where a candidate is allowed to give or take money from an avatar under specific conditions and then asked to judge the fairness of transactions.
4 Tips to Prepare for the BCG Pymetrics Test
The Pymetrics test is non-evaluative—it’s not like a case math question that you can get wrong if you make an arithmetic mistake. Instead, it looks for similarities between your traits and those of successful BCG consultants.
To prepare, view this short Pymetrics video to get some sense of what the test will look like.
In addition, here are a few tips to do your best.
- Ensure you have a quiet environment with no distractions so you can focus on the test.
- Take your time understanding the game instructions. Reading the instructions is not timed, so make sure you understand them before you start.
- Read up on what BCG’s looking for in candidates and the firm’s values. While the test is non-evaluative, your characteristics will be compared to those of successful BCG consultants, so it doesn’t hurt to have a sense of what that looks like.
- Be ready to absorb data from images flashed quickly on the screen. You may need to respond to the images you see with keyboard entries or remember a number you’ll be asked to recall later.
Then, just relax and take the test.
How Are Pymetrics Tests Being Using in Candidate Decisions?
The Pymetrics test is now part of the application process for all undergraduate and experienced-hire applicants. MBA students outside of core schools will be asked to complete the Pymetrics test as well.
It’s not yet clear whether BCG is using the Pymetrics tests to make decisions on moving candidates forward to first round interviews. They may just be analyzing the predictive power of the tests or, in other words, looking to see whether candidates’ scores on the Pymetrics test correlate with hiring decisions made through the traditional interview process.
In the past, top consulting firms have tested changes to their recruiting process carefully before using new methods to make recruiting decisions.
After reading this page, we hope you feel ready to take the BCG Pymetrics test. After you do, tell us what you thought of it in the comments below!
Still have questions?
If you have further questions on the new BCG Pymetrics test, leave them in the comments below. We’ll have one of MyConsultingOffer.org’s coaches provide more information.
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