First Round: Vista breaks through traditional HR

First Round has always been a big admirer of Vista Equity Partners’ Robert Smith, and not just because it believes there should be more people in private equity who share a name with the bedraggled front-men of post-punk goth bands (*awaits angry letter from Cure-loving reader furious about ‘goth’ appellation*). 

Anyway, First Round clearly isn’t the only one who hearts Smith (the buyout guy, not the singer), at least if the rather glowing profile in the New York Times this month is anything to go by. And who can blame us? Even if it wasn’t for Vista’s impeccable track record, its approach to recruitment is enough to make even the hardest of hearts sing.

Apparently, when Vista and its portfolio companies are hiring, they don’t focus on trivialities like exam results and professional experience (which, let’s face it, anyone could get, if they worked a bit harder and listened to their parents and didn’t get involved with that girl in a band during exam year, even if she did look like Siouxsie Sioux).

Instead, according to the NYT, they rely heavily on an aptitude test designed to identify innate leadership potential and analytical skill. And apparently, this has led to some improbable successes, including a roofer who became one of its best salesmen, a telephone store clerk who ended up making a quarter of a million dollars a year, and a pizza delivery guy who was immediately given a $40k job after aceing the test.

This changes everything, my friends. This is the HR breakthrough First Round has been waiting for! For too long it has toiled away in its windowless basement, thanklessly creating the world’s best magazine intro section without getting the respect it deserves. Now it knows there’s a test that will finally reveal its transcendent brilliance. Tell me, Robert: where do I sign up? Robert? Robert….?