Imbellus raises $4 million for better candidate screening

Does a stellar SAT score and a perfect GPA mean that you’re the right candidate for the job? Not necessarily, according to Rebecca Kantar, founder of Imbellus.

She believes her team has a new method for assessing the characteristics that will help you succeed in business. And Upfront Ventures, Thrive Capital, GLG and Ashton Kutcher’s Sound Ventures are betting $4 million that she has the right solution.

Based in Los Angeles, Imbellus is working with CRESST to design tests that assess things like creativity, critical thinking and problem-solving. Their research suggests that these traits are often more indicative of job performance than rote memorization.

The philosophy is to create “the test that measures skills over the test that measures stuff,”  said Kantar. There’s no multiple choice. Instead of testing for what you know, Imbellus is “purely interested in how you think.”

Launched last fall, they tell us they’ve already secured a partnership with a major Fortune 500 company to design a screening process that suits their business. Imbellus works with employers to find desirable attributes in top performers and uses these as benchmarks.

There is “enormous demand from some of the most intellectual companies in the world for a product like this,” said Mark Suster, managing partner at Upfront Ventures. “They all spend tens of millions of dollars on testing cognitive abilities.”

Imbellus is not the only startup looking to disrupt the employee hiring process. Scoutible launched on stage at TechCrunch Disrupt with a similar philosophy, but different tests.

Kantar dropped out of Harvard at age 19 (ring a bell?) and previously sold a company to GLG. She’s hoping that the Imbellus philosophy will not only reform corporate hiring, but also eventually the education system.