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Startup recruitment is different and here are the things we should do differently

Startup hiring is not easy and every entrepreneur realizes this in due time. The major problem is that we approach the problem with corporate mind set. In order to solve startup hiring riddle you have to tackle it differently. At the same time, recruitment for startups is a continuous activity, it can not be a one time recruitment drive.

Startup hiring is not just head hunting. It starts with building trust (some call it recruitment branding) among your target audience, communicate well with them and then finding the right guy who is equally passionate as you. So, there are 3 broad things an entrepreneur should understand to crack this problem

  • Building the trust
  • Communication with prospects
  • Identifying the right guy

Startup-hiring-decoded

A quick summary (if you do not want to read the whole post)

  1. Write a company story – People do not like to read JDs but they love to read stories about you and your company. For example – check out Stagephod’s story here.
  2. Create differentiators – All possible differentiations which make your startup and working with it unique
  3. Highlight your media mentions in all your communication.
  4. Hire the right person (passionate, intuitive, learner) for right reasons through right methods.

#1. Building the trust

Startups lack credibility and that is the first thing founders need to do – build trust. One of the ways is through media coverage. Media is supposed to be trusted and if they write about you, it automatically gives you credibility. Many prospective candidates might not know about your investors but they definitely know about Times of India, Economic Times, Yourstory etc. So you have to highlight media mention in all your communication. For ex – You must mention your media coverage link in the JD and also make sure if prospects are coming to your office to meet you in person, they see those media mentions.

What might not suffice

We are building this startup called <>. We are working on a drone technology/ machine learning to provide <> services. We have started getting traction and now we would like to hire <> guy. Please tag people you know

#2. Communication

Key to attract right people is to have a clear and precise communication

What you should do

Write a story cum Job Description where you talk about:

  • Yourself (who are you, why you started this particular startup)
  • What do you want from the prospective candidate
  • What you will provide him/ her
  • Why exactly he/ she should join you
  • Why he/ she should ignore you

What might not suffice

‘We need a rockstar PHP programmer for our high growth startup. If interested, please mail your resume at info@startup.com

A funded startup from IIT/IIM/ XYZ alumni is looking to hire a marketing executive. Person should have startup attitude and willing to travel. Salary no bar for deserving candidate. Please write to us at jobs@startup.com

Write a company story

One of things which I highly recommend to all startups is to write a company story. There will be dramatic increase in no. of interested candidates if you have written a nice emotional story about your journey.

What might not suffice

Your ‘About Us/ Who are we’ section

Create Differentiators

Startups/ Entrepreneurs continuously struggle to make their unique, same logic applies to hiring also. You need to be unique and for that you need to create strong differentiators. One thing which will never go out of fashion is ‘working for your passion’. For your startup you need to find some strong differentiators. Your space/ industry/ domain is a biggest differentiator in itself. For example Travel/ Food/ Entertainment/ Sports/ Robotics etc. Apart from that you need to find other differentiators like – founders’ profile, office location etc.

What might not suffice

We are a cool startup with flat structure and startup culture – wearing casuals, pizza party etc.

#3. Identifying the right guy

This is the most difficult part and founders have to develop the knack of identifying right people and their intentions. Must have qualities are:

  • Right attitude towards work
  • Taking ownership and initiatives
  • Willing to learn and adapt
  • Passionate and Intuitive

What might not suffice

Read my blog – Two mistakes founders often make

Trial period

Trial period is the best way to judge your prospect. Infact it gives prospect also a chance to judge you and make an informed decision. You should work with prospect for some days in order to understand each other. It gives both the parties a chance to learn each other’s working style, capabilities and attitude

What might not suffice

Just 2-3 rounds of interview/ interaction. You also need to assess the execution part/ compatibility/ cultural fit etc.

In early stage startup, there are many things which you will be doing and figure out what is working. It is a dynamic situation and early team should adapt and willing to learn new things. Hiring for a role might make that person redundant after some time. 100% of the people you meet will tell you that they want to join your startup because of accelerated learning but the question is are they willing to apply themselves and want to get their hands dirty.

This article was also published in Yourstory here

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Comments (2)

  1. Hey Nikhilesh, good post. Just like everything else, startups have a very different hiring process than established companies. We realized it and designed CutShort.io. Would love to know your feedback!

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