Interview with Robert Newry, CEO & Co-Founder at Arctic Shores

Right now, more and more employers are looking for ways to look beyond the CV. To get a deeper, clearer, fairer insight into a person’s potential. At Arctic Shores, we believe in our bones that human potential is worth knowing. So, using our award-winning and ground-breaking behaviour-based assessment, we put that insight in employers’ hands.

Through interactive tasks, the assessment measures every candidate’s personality through their natural behaviour, and automatically maps their strengths against each employer’s unique needs. This leaves no room for gut-feel. No need for guesswork. Just a fair shot for every candidate, regardless of age, ethnicity, gender or background. And, for their part, employers get a clear read on every candidate’s potential to succeed.

From our joint bases in Manchester & London, we’ve put more than two million candidates through our platform for the likes of Siemens, AXA, Next and more. We’ve also just recently celebrated being included in Deloitte’s Tech Fast 50 list – just the latest recognition of our mission to help employers see more in people.


How did you come up with the idea for the company?

When my Co-Founder (Dr. Safe Hammad) and I decided to set up a business, we wanted to create one that made a difference in the world, however small. Otherwise, why go through all the challenges and pitfalls?

Initially, we started with the idea to teach kids business skills through a video game. But after a couple of interesting pitches, we weren’t sure this offered a big enough niche to really succeed.

It was actually a conversation with a close friend, whose daughter had been rejected from a string of graduate jobs, which helped us realise that the hiring experience was where we could make a real difference.

We saw she was exceptionally bright, creative, resilient – in short, full of potential. But employers couldn’t see those same qualities. We said to ourselves: “if only they could know her like we did. If only they could dig that bit deeper”…

So we pivoted our business game idea to developing a psychometric assessment, bringing together game technology, cognitive neuroscience and psychology. We were lucky to have Deloitte, Siemens and Thales as the founding clients willing to pioneer this new approach.


What advice would you give to other aspiring entrepreneurs?

Find a problem you can make it your mission to solve. Entrepreneurial life is full of tough choices, and it can get lonely when that responsibility rests on your shoulders. Having a mission that’s about more than financial return can give you that second wind after a setback.

Focus. It’s so easy to get sidetracked from building and improving your core product, either by darting from one new product extension idea to the next, or bending over backwards to please a new client. To start, just do one thing. And do it well.

Understand the customer, not a customer. Keeping all your customers’ challenges in mind will always lead to better, more successful products than just solving for one. Ask yourself “does this problem occur for everyone?”, again and again. Do your research, all the time, for Product Market Fit.

What can we hope to see from Arctic Shores in the future?

Our focus now is on helping companies of all sizes remove ‘gut feel’ from hiring decisions. To help this we’ll be launching our next generation assessment platform UNA (named after pioneering neuroscientist Una Fielding).

UNA is designed to make it easy for any company to harness the power of our objective behaviour-based assessment. By offering an ever-growing range of job success profiles for common roles, even small companies can match their candidates against consistent criteria, developed by experienced business psychologists. They’ll also get access to targeted interview guides, to help them make the best hiring decisions.

The data we’ll see from the platform, across a range of industries, geographies and roles, will also give us a wealth of insight into what it takes for candidates to be successful. We plan to use this data to give something back to candidates, in the form of more insightful and actionable career advice.