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Silicon Valley firm apologizes after asking job applicants for IQ scores

Resume, cover letter… IQ score? A Silicon Valley venture capital firm is in the hot seat after asking job applicants for their scores on an IQ test — even though hiring based on IQ is legally questionable. San Francisco-based Soma Capital, which has invested in startups including self-driving car company Cruise and defunct social media app HouseParty, posted a job listing for a “Multi-Stage Investor Role” earlier this month. The listing required applicants to go to a website called iqtest.com, take a free test and include their score. Applicants were also told to take a Myers-Briggs personality test on a website called 16personalities.com and share their personality type, which includes categories such as “extraversion” versus “introversion” and “sensing” versus “intuition.” “Attach your test score and personality test results’ screenshots here,” Soma Capital’s listing prompted. The questions were mandatory. But after screenshots of the job listing circulated on Twitter on Monday, Soma Capital removed the questions. In a phone call with The Post, Soma Capital’s managing partner Aneel Ranadive blamed the job listing on an intern. “Basically I just saw this post that an intern put up,” Ranadive, who’s the son of Sacramento Kings owner Vivek Ranadive, told The Post. “I was horrified to see that. I had the team take it down immediately.” “They’re in trouble,” Ranadive said of the intern, adding, “I take responsibility for my team.” While IQ testing isn’t unheard of in Silicon Valley, the practice can push legal boundaries. In 1971, the Supreme Court ruled that a company using standardized testing including an IQ test to evaluate job applicants had been unfairly discriminating against black employees because black applicants were less likely to perform well on the tests. In a majority opinion, Chief Justice Warren Burger wrote that IQ tests and other aptitude tests can only legally be used if they’re “reasonably related” to the job. Ranadive said that he was “hugely apologetic” for the IQ and Myers-Briggs questions and that they are “not what Soma stands for.” “We want mission-driven, thoughtful teammates from diverse backgrounds and I believe the best way to suss that is through writing and conversations,” he said. “The most legendary entrepreneurs of all time come from unexpected, unique, diverse backgrounds.”

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