Start Up Series #7: Knowing Who To Hire

Continuing our efforts to help Start Up and SME owners in their brand-building projects, we have curated a few articles that we think will be useful for them. These articles are going to be published as a series on our platform. Here’s another one.

When you start off on your own, you start with only a dream. And in some time, you turn it into tangible pieces like business models, revenue models, product strategies, legalities, etc. And when doing it all alone, you realize that you could do with some help – either someone to be your partner with the same zeal that you have, or someone junior who could do some of the less important tasks and give you time to concentrate on the essentials. Hiring for a Start Up is not a run-of-the-mill HR process. It needs effort and cannot be dependent on computerized suggestions.

  1. Who do you want?

Are you looking for a partner or an employee, are you looking to expand or looking to consolidate, are you looking for any specific help or an overall base, do you need someone to just be your man-Friday or be the man you go to for anything at all? It is very important to know what exactly you are looking for in the person you intend to work with. Take some time to understand your shortcomings and then look out for help, often you will be able to solve your problems and may not have to go out at all.

TIP: Never stop meeting people. The more people you meet, the more networked you get, to leverage when needed.

  1. The Interview

Shift+Delete everything you have read about interviews ever, especially whatever standard HR personnel would have false-taught you. If you want to hire just an employee, then check on the job skills and be done with it basis whoever comes cheapest. But when you’re looking for someone who will be your partner and share your passion for the madness which makes your Start Up, go beyond – have a frank conversation. It won’t be an interview, it will be a conversation. It is obvious that you would have done a background check on what all the person has done and his potential, so don’t waste time in discussing this. This person is risking his current comfortable setup to meet you and see if his risk appetite is equally matched, just as you are checking the same.

TIP: A frank discussion happens outside of a workplace, maybe at a coffee shop or at a pub or even a chaiwallah’s stand.

  1. Compensation

You can either pay the moon or not even a grain. In either case, it is important to be honest. It’s not difficult to find out what your Start Up can afford, what is difficult to do is to get your reputation back up once it is maligned. Know beforehand what you intend to pay, either salary or equity or a mix of both. This discussion at the very beginning sets the tone of the conversation and lets you screen out the wasteful with the worthwhile.

  1. Where to start looking?

Job portals should be the last place to look at, in case you’re looking for someone to partner your dream. Start looking out in your network, in your circles, in the community you work in. These are people who know you, know your mindset, know what you may or may not like. Referrals are a much better approach than anything else as it happens to be personalized and is not just a random click on a list.

A partner comes on board to not just make your life simpler but also the other way around. It is important to understand this mindset when looking for a partner so that even if the person you meet doesn’t suit your immediate requirements, s/he can be a part of your future plans.

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