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  • Writer's pictureShubham Parse

Dr. Nivedita Srivastava, CEO at 9 LINKS

Great Companies: How did you get your idea or concept for the business?

Dr. Nivedita Srivastava: Being a psychometrician and a business psychologist, I always wanted to contribute to the space of Psychometrics in India. For a long time, most corporates had been largely using psychometric tests developed in the western countries. While, these tests are extremely robust, I wanted to add value having worked in this domain for close to 15 years by 2016. Also, most psychometric assessments in India were helping understand people’s personality types, I wanted to help organisations by assessing people’s behavioural skills and cognitive abilities.

Great Companies: What are the various services provided by 9 LINKS

Dr. Nivedita Srivastava: We are an organisation which specializes in the space of psychometric assessments. Our range of highly standardized and research based psychometric tests are both recruitment focused, and development focused. Our tests help recruiters and talent management departments find the right fit for their organisation and various roles. While, technical skills are quintessential, it is equally important that an employee has the right set of behavioural traits and cognitive abilities. Also, one of our focus areas has been the assessment of integrity. The new post pandemic corporate world would like to ensure that its employees are trustworthy.

Alongside, most progressive organisations prefer a scientific approach towards the development of their team members. Psychometric Assessments help in identifying the developmental or coaching needs of an employee at any level. These areas of development could be the focus of any intervention through virtual or in-person learning and development modules. Thus, ensuring focused and effective interventions.

Our range of psychometric assessments have been a catalyst in both talent assessment and development needs identification across all levels and sectors.

While, psychometric tests have been extremely popular for the managerial and leadership workforce, 9 LINKS has created the importance of psychometric assessment of blue collared or gig workforce.

Great Companies: What makes 9 LINKS different from hundreds of other similar service providers?

Dr. Nivedita Srivastava: We are a team of experienced psychometricians and tech professionals. We can understand the need of an organisation in terms of the level of test applicable keeping in mind various factors such as hierarchical level, education, experience, etc.

Also, our expertise has been instrumental in helping organisations with customized solutions besides off the shelf products. This is done after an initial sensing exercise to understand the role and the competency matrix of the organisation. This aids in ensuring that the assessment is not only scientific but also effective suiting the requirements of the organisation. The larger objective of the organisation is to help organisations of all sectors and sizes realize the effectiveness of psychometric assessments in various human resource processes.

Great Companies: What were the struggles and challenges you faced and how did you overcome them?

Dr. Nivedita Srivastava: We are essentially a bootstrapped organisation with some seed money from family. Managing funds was a challenge in the initial years like any other boot strapped start up until we picked up our first few clients. Also, having organisations to trust that how psychometric assessments could be helpful to organisation even in the case of off roles blue collared workforce. Most large organisations and MNCs were already using the more popular tests developed in the western world.

We did several pilots for our clients which helped us win their confidence and ask for testimonials in return. This kept adding to our list of reputed clients. Our NITIE, Mumbai alumni network helped us connect with HR heads of various large organisations. We were steadily growing at a smooth pace. Keeping our headcount in control was one way to keep our expenses in control.

Not finding the right set of team members was a challenge as we had limited funds and we were rather new in the industry. Along our way, we met people who trusted 9 LINKS for their careers and have come a long way with me with their exemplary work and dedication.

Great Companies: How do you plan to grow in the future? What does 5 years down the line 9 LINKS?

Dr. Nivedita Srivastava: We are already a preferred vendor or organisation in the space of psychometric assessment by several brands across sectors ranging from manufacturing to BFSI. Our par excellent client support helps us get dedicated and committed clients who not only trust us with their organizational details but also with helping them with complex decisions such as hiring and development.

5 years down the line, 9 LINKS should be generating revenue that is 10x. Also, we should be able to acquire many more clients. Competition is inevitable. But consistency and integrity are the keys to winning the hearts of clients and their teams.

Great Companies: If you had one piece of advice to someone just starting out, what would it be?

Dr. Nivedita Srivastava: My advice to people and professionals who intent to start out is to take the entrepreneurial way only if there is no plan B. In case, going back to your high paying full-time employment is on your mind it is quite likely, you would give up sooner than expected. Parallelly, while the world of start ups is indulged into getting investments from day 0, it should not be your primary objective. Success stories and testimonials with the right pitch at the right time will fetch your investments. I would suggest that most start ups should be boot strapped for the initial few years ensuring expenses are well-managed.

Hiring and firing by start ups should never be a policy. Rushing to reach the stage of becoming a unicorn should never overpower the state of building a brand worth trusting by clients.

Lastly, in case you are a person who is fresh out of college, I would recommend gathering some experience even through significant internships. Learning the pressures of working for someone else helps one realize what it takes to be one’s own boss.

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