• Echovate helps smaller businesses identify the best personality fits for a position.
  • Companies that deploy Echovate’s solution select from a monthly program ranging from $349 to $649, depending on how many locations the company has.
  • A typical question may ask a respondent if he cleans his desk before he leaves work every day.

If your company has ever suffered from a poor hiring decision, you know how much time, focus and function is lost to the hiring process. If you ever wanted a crystal ball to tell you which candidates would be not only the best fit for a position, but a good cultural fit for your company, a new startup company called Echovate may have a solution for you.

Deriving its name from a blend of the word “echo,” meaning feedback, and the root word “vate,” which means to motivate, Echovate is helping companies navigate the tricky, time-consuming and sometimes expensive hiring process by helping to match companies and prospective employees.

Seeking insight into potential hires

Echovate’s cloud-based platform uses predictive models developed by a team of behavioral scientists to compare a candidate’s unique characteristics to that of other team members.

Using such tests and questionnaires to get better insights into a candidate’s personality and character is not new to employers. Matthew Gough, one of Echovate’s founders, knows that very well, as the entrepreneur has worked with Fortune 500 companies on their talent development programs.

But many of the tools currently used by employers, like the well-known Myers-Briggs Type Indicator assessment, are outdated. And what’s more, these services can also cost a small fortune. It’s not unusual for some companies to spend between $25,000 and $1 million a year on such assessments, Gough said.

“For small businesses — such as a real estate broker with 50 agents — that’s not going to be in reach for them,” Gough, who calls himself Echovate’s “chief Echovater,” said. “And if you look at some of the traditional behavioral science assessments out there, they don’t really predict whether someone will be a good fit. There is no correlation to job success.

“We had an idea to do something that would leverage the power of some of the systems that Fortune 500 companies are using, but to also improve on them, make them more frictionless, make the process more affordable and give companies a better return on their investment.”

Compare Contrast

Cost and deployment

Companies that deploy Echovate’s solution select from a monthly program ranging from $349 to $649, depending on how many locations the company has, and give employees a set of questions designed to assess various qualities like empathy, organization, assertiveness and competitiveness.

A typical question may ask a respondent if he cleans his desk before he leaves work every day, instead of questions that some older assessment tools may ask, such as, “Do you believe it is acceptable to take home office supplies?”

“There is no right or wrong answer,” Gough said. “We tell a candidate in our messaging that we want them to answer honestly because we are trying to figure out what makes you unique.”

Once a person completes the questionnaire, which takes about seven minutes, a profile of their characteristics is created. It’s possible to compare current employees with each other, giving employers good insights into how to form teams and assign tasks to the right people, and the company can also assess how new candidates would fit into the company’s dynamic.

Clone your best employees

“You can go in and say, ‘We have a top producer or team of top producers that we want to clone,’ and you can profile that team and hire against that team. A lot of times, what happens with a busy broker is she scores a 76 on certain qualities, and they may get 100 applications, but they can decide they only want to look at people who score above 50. This kind of filter becomes a huge time-saver,” Gough said.

Results are available in real time, and the solution can be accessed on a traditional desktop computer or any mobile device.

Up and running for about half a year, Echovate’s clients include 20 real estate companies — from 25-person firms to companies with more than 1,000 employees — including small independent companies to well-known brands like Keller Williams. About 80 percent of Echovate’s clientele work in the real estate industry in some capacity; Echovate is also heavily focused on auto dealerships.

Why real estate, and why now?

Gough said Echovate decided to focus on the real estate industry’s hiring needs for several reasons.

“For starters, the hiring process in real estate is fundamentally broken,” he said. “No one is doing it exceptionally well. A tool like this has not been delivered yet.”

Gough said that Echovate’s tool can be particularly useful in addressing some current challenges facing employers who may be interviewing the youngest set of the workforce: millennials.

“If you look at real estate and the challenges of an aging population, there is this huge problem of attracting millennials. Studies have shown that millennials don’t want to be categorized as ‘I am a number to a job.’ They want to be appreciated for their own individuality and uniqueness. This is a big concern for people hiring in real estate,” he said.

Gough also said his own history of starting small companies makes helping smaller outfits navigate difficult challenges like the hiring process near and dear to his heart. But he also added that the real estate market is “ripe for technological advancement.”

“We may not seem like a typical real estate technology firm, the kind that are known for helping to drive leads for agents or automate the mortgage process,” Gough conceded. “But real estate is a people-focused business, with buyers, sellers and agents and salespeople. Our platform skews a little more toward customer-facing, revenue-impacting positions.”

Email Amy Swinderman.

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