Inside Polymath Ventures: how to turn talent acquisition into a science

Recruiting the best talent is one of the major challenges for companies today. At Polymath we have created a unique proposition and methodology to bring the best of the best.

We care about our talent today and tomorrow

At Polymath Ventures, what really makes us different is that we attract and retain highly competitive talent, fit to excel in our challenging environment and committed to improving the quality of life of Latin America’s underserved middle class.

To be able to attract exceptional talent from all over the world, we had to develop an exceptional approach! – We decided to completely disrupt the way “Human Resources” or “Recruitment department” universally worked, and we became the new “scientists of talent” having a disciplined approach to experiment, iterate and, especially, LEARN. Combined with a set of technological tools and automation, we find the combination of approaches to attract talent that we believe cannot only add significant value at Polymath Ventures but that can also find a place at our company to learn, grow, laugh and build a solid professional career.

We would like to share our expertise with you, so keep reading to learn how to maximize your recruitment efforts by leveraging our data-driven methodology.

We are not your average talent team

We aren’t a traditional human resources group. Our secret ingredient is that our team is made of profiles that come from different industries, departments, and countries. That way, each member of the group brings knowledge, and valuable experiences that we apply to this new type of “Talent-Scientist Department” we have inside our company!

In our group, we have:

  • Engineers: that bring a defined process structure, design, implementation, and optimization to our different projects.
  • Entrepreneurs: who can bring outside-the-box thinking to our processes and develop new strategies based on previous results.
  • Human-centered design advocates: that lead our user-centered approach, putting our candidates first and ensuring that their recruitment journey is transparent, approachable and memorable.

We wholeheartedly believe in the value of multidisciplinary teams, capable of bringing learnings and approaches from their respective industries and turning them into a common process – one that is iterative and uniquely adaptive to our candidate and internal hire needs.

We are scientists

To ensure that we achieve quality results in short periods, we use the scientific method. Our Talent Acquisition team developed a Learning Cycle strategy that consists of a regular exercise:

  1. Research: qualitative & quantitative. Our research involves a mix of continuous feedback from candidates and interviewers who’ve participated in our process and real measurements of our funnel data, including conversion rates, time per stage and quality of sourcing channels.
  2. Hypothesis: we analyze the data that we have and define a possible hypothesis on why things happen the way they do.
  3. Lean Experimentation: we build and construct experiments to test our hypothesis. We always aim for experiments that are quick to implement, to match our fast learning cycles.
  4. Progress Review: once the experiment is implemented, we hold check-in on its progress to understand whether it is on the right track or not. At this point, we decide whether the experiment is testing our hypothesis or not (for example, we can’t define whether a hypothesis is proven as true or false if the experiment doesn’t generate a critical mass of data).
  5. Results Analysis: once the experiment is “completed,” we check the results and define whether it aligns with our hypothesis or not (i.e. is the hypothesis proven as true or false).
  6. Learnings & Next Steps: we take the results of our experiment and convert them into more profound learnings that then help us define where to focus on for the next learning cycle.

These stages go along with scheduled meetings during the whole process, which helps us review the results we are reaching in each step of the recruitment exercise. These meetings also help us draw key insights and re-settle the aspects that could be improved. It is basically composed of Learning Meetings, where we set initiatives and review results and PMO Meetings as checkpoints during the learning cycles where we adjust the experiments.

Learning cycle
Learning cycle

We are data-driven decision-makers The Headhunting Process

Carefully crafting a profile persona

The recruitment process starts by creating the profile persona that encompasses the skill set and personality that we need for any specific role. We do this by leveraging our Human-Centered Design Methodology to uncover deep human needs through the understanding of customs, habits, and mutual preferences.

This methodology consists of the following steps:

  • Research & benchmark: We stay on top of hiring trends across different markets to understand our value proposition to target candidates and how we compare to our competitors.
  • Profile Definition: We conduct problem-solving sessions with hiring managers and key stakeholders to gain a deep understanding of the profile they are looking for. We usually start by defining what problem this profile would solve, and from there, move into what tasks he or she will need to perform and what technical skills, experiences, and mindsets the candidate will require to be successful.
  • Synthesis: We empathize with the hiring manager, understand their needs and jointly work towards defining the profile of the ideal candidate.

Discipline & Speed of Experimentation

Once we have a certain level of clarity of what we look for, we brainstorm on potential ways we can filter profiles for these characteristics using LinkedIn Recruiter Lite. When creating these filters, we make sure that our sample size is representative to avoid false positives or false negatives.

Those filtered candidates are then reviewed, and approved/rejected based on how closely they represent the defined profile. As our universe of candidates is finite, we always double-check whether a candidate has already applied or been contacted by our team before. The leads that remain are the ones that we reach out to. We use funnel charts to determine the success of our experiments. We measure our progress in twice a month so that we can compare how our previous experiments match our latest initiatives. That way, we can pinpoint what variables changed from a timeframe to another and decipher what we need to continue implementing and what needs to be dropped.

Sprint flowchart for lead generation
Sprint flowchart for lead generation

Constant Iteration

In order to identify bottlenecks or areas of critical focus, we develop a cohort analysis, showcasing the results achieved week-on-week. Being able to visualize this data allows us to put our efforts into moving candidates through the funnel to ultimately give candidates a better experience and also achieve our recruitment goals promptly.

Recruitment process follow-up
Recruitment process follow-up

The following flowchart sums up the headhunting journey, from the “Defining our Hypothesis” stage, where we create a theory that we want to validate through experiments, until the “Storage of the experiment for guidelines” phase, where we save our best results to be used as guidelines for future processes in which candidates have a similar profile.

It is essential to have decision-making steps throughout the whole process, where the effectiveness of the design could be questioned to guarantee that moving forward through the steps will make sense, regarding the objectives that were set in the beginning.

Headhunting process overview
Headhunting process overview

We are tech nerds

We love to experiment and learn new tools in order to simplify our processes and save time, beyond the usual email templates, scheduling weekly email reminders, etc. At Polymath Ventures, we enjoy finding new ways to increase productivity.

Our passion is our driving force and we always go the extra mile. Thus, we link our boards to our calendars, to keep track of our deadlines. Also, we automate our channels of communication with the applicants through the incorporation of Zapier, an online automation tool, capable of connecting apps and services. Through it, we keep track of all our recruiting LinkedIn messages and we connect our ATS to Google Sheets to have semi-live reports on each of our current positions.

These actions have reduced our response time with applicants, making this process more efficient and ultimately giving candidates in our funnel the best experience possible!

Zapier integration
Zapier integration

But things don’t end here…

We continuously question how we do things and by taking the helicopter view, we always find ways to improve ourselves. For us, it is all about agile processes, lean experiments and continuously learning from our results. Our commitment is with the high potential talent that is located in every corner of the world. We want to find them and connect with them, so they can have the opportunity to access a new world of possibilities by building scalable companies with a huge social impact. You will never hear us say “that’s just how we do things around here”. The world evolves and so do we!