Infor gets into big data analytics for HR with PeopleAnswers acquisition

PeopleAnswers' online assessment test measures 39 attributes of potential employees

Infor is buying PeopleAnswers, maker of software companies can use to analyze a job candidate's behavioral traits before deciding whether to make a hire. Terms of the deal, which was announced Wednesday, were not disclosed.

PeopleAnswers was developed by a team of behavioral science PhDs, who created a series of algorithms that underpin online tests job applicants take through PeopleAnswers' service. The test measures 39 behavioral attributes, such as discipline, ambition, energy and empathy, weighting them according to the particular job role. The test software is available in 16 languages.

Beyond the algorithms and behavioral science know-how, PeopleAnswers has also built up years of historical data, resulting in more reliable analysis of a candidate, said Infor CEO Charles Phillips.

PeopleAnswers' customers include Audi, Foot Locker, Neiman Marcus and Hertz, all of which are large companies with many hourly employees, and which can experience seasonally high demand for workers as well as excessive turnover.

About 60 percent of PeopleAnswers' customers are using the software as a primary method of ranking and determining who they will offer positions to, according to Phillips. Other customers are using it internally to build promotion lists or put together teams, he said.

PeopleAnswers' approach stops job applicants from gaming the tests by giving answers they think a company will want to hear, Phillips said. "It's asking your preferences on things, what you like or don't like," he said. "Questions don't lead to a particular result. You can't tell why they're asking the question."

Infor will make PeopleAnswers part of its HCM (human capital management) software suite. It plans to expand PeopleAnswers' test coverage into additional verticals over time, according to Phillips.

Phillips is also keen on retaining PeopleAnswers' staff.

"It's key that we keep all these guys," he said. "They're hard to replicate. They understand software and data science as well."

Chris Kanaracus covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Chris' email address is Chris_Kanaracus@idg.com

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