MercuryPuzzle – Recruitment Inspired by a Bruce Willis Movie

By Simone ODonovan |

Having taken inspiration for its name from a Bruce Willis movie, the people behind MercuryPuzzle (the German title for 1998 thriller Mercury Rising) no doubt have a die hard attitude. The ‘social talent matching network’ launched in March and has already made a splash, landing awards at both the Pioneers Festival in Austria and the Europas which were held in Berlin this year.

Using elements from assessment centres, skill tests and user personalities, MercuryPuzzle aims to provide a more objective and precise recruitment platform. The network’s reaction has taken the young team, headed by Nicolas Vorsteher, by surprise with its ability to recruit up to 4,000 users a week. The company is jointly based in Munich and Vienna.

Nicolas, a consultant at recruitment agency Heads! for three years, caught the attention of managing director Mathias Hiebeler who was looking to invest in an Internet company in the recruiting space. Inspired by the film in which a young autistic boy solves puzzles, Nicolas and his roommate Constantin Wintoniak took the leap.

In 2011 the concept planning for the startup began but was found to be difficult in terms of the psychology behind it and so they partnered up with Hamburg-based assessment company cut-e.

The first step before registering is to enter your personal information including your motives and life view – this is the doorway into the whole system. Once registered you can upload your CV from Xing, LinkedIn or Facebook. Following this is the big assessment evaluating your personal skills such as your ability to work in a team or to co-operate. Finally you can do more specific tests like purely language or mathematics.

Nicolas believes MercuryPuzzle provides a more comprehensive step towards online assesssments: “With the assessment results we can match more fitting companies, personalities and career-paths. The most important part of fitting a new position is that if you fit into a company you fit into the team. We’ve had to plan another assessment step because 60 percent of our users do the whole thing which takes roughly an hour.”

MercuryPuzzle is free for users while recruiters are charged €50 per month – or €40 a month if you sign up for a year – for a basic plan, or €250/€200 a month for a premium version. The latter allows users access to a wider range of information on recruitees, more candidate requests and a larger team of employees.

Recruiters that are already on board include McDonalds, the University of Vienna, Facebook, Deutsche Bahn and

MercuryPuzzle was shortlisted for ‘Best Service Providor for startups’ and ‘Best Recruitment and Jobs Startup’. The Pioneers Festival placed them in the top eight list of startups.

With only a few weeks after the launch, MercuryPuzzle already has a total of 20,000 users. According to Nicolas it is one of the biggest recruiting agencies in Austria, and is rapidly growing here in Berlin.

MercuryPuzzle is currently active in Switzerland, Germany and Austria and hopes to expand into the UK soon.