Sometime back I was reading through an interview of an entrepreneur (who has set up four successful startups in a short span) about the challenges faced in startups in one of the leading dailies. And the biggest challenge that has come out to be is the unavailability of the right resources for the startups. I have to agree with it because if you check with the startups 90 out of 100 startups would agree with the same that they are unable to reach out to the right candidates as the need for the startups is slightly different than that of a regular settled company. Since so many intelligent people believe that this is a problem then there is certainly something that needs to be addressed.. But every problem has to have a solution. So this also should have one.
“Dhoondhne se to Bhagwan milte hai to Talent kya cheez hai, dhoondhne wala chahiye” (with proper hunting you can find God then Talent is a small entity, you need a proper hunter for it.)
I have spoken with some entrepreneurs about similar situations in the past and realized that hardly any of them wished to invest efforts/money in hiring specialists who can in turn hire the right guys for them. Yes, because almost all of them felt that since they were a startup they would not like to incur the cost of Recruiting/HR function as such. Oh yes! they might be right as HR/Recruiting cost never figured out in their planning when the startup idea incubated because they felt since they would be very small in number, who apart from one of the founders can be the best go-to person for all HR needs.
Hmm.. tricky, so what do you say, do they really need someone who would resound exactly what you need, someone who believes and understands the founders’ expectations and is bought in by the mission and vision philosophy of the company?
Lets understand the kind of issues that the startups are facing in attracting the right talent:
Quality – The level of technology expertise is expected from the new entrants here is too deep. Also, that’s needed because these would be the ones who would be recruiting the rest of the team so it becomes all the more crucial to have the right fit in terms of maturity, expertise and sense of accountability.
Sources – The source is a big issue, although not many would acknowledge it. The kind of people that are being targeted here are not the ones you would find on the job portals and this is when you go out to sources like head hunting and strong references, at least for the first 5-7 hires.
Branding – Take it or not, folks out there do look out for brand image of the company, the foresightedness of the leadership group, culture, background of the founders etc. A lot of efforts need to get here to ensure that the company changes its platform (from a company who is trying to sell themselves to the most sought after company).
Appetite to face the failures – It’s important to address this point to the prospective hires as this will increase the transparency and am sure that’s appreciated by the candidates.
Aggressive growth plan – At the start of the inception of the startup the founders did envision a good growth plan but not that soon. In many cases it has happened if the company is doing good, they start getting loads of work for which they want to hire the same (from level of expertise point of view) quality resources but many more in numbers with less time.
To ensure that the company does not fall short on any of the above mentioned challenges they start tying up with good vendors, get a lot of job posting on various portals, social media etc. but still are unable to attract the right guys. The frustration of the founders is, if they reach out to their network they are able to identify the people and convince them as well but the vendors or the junior folks are not able to do so, why? The answer can be different from different stakeholders. I strongly believe that the passion and the vision of the company is very rightly percolated by the founders when they talk to the prospective candidates and that’s the reason they are able to figure out the right guys which the vendors are unable to match up to in many cases. Things are very different if a junior recruiter calls up a candidate for such a job versus a senior leadership person being involved in the recruiting process as that also conveys the importance that the leadership is giving to the recruitment process.
The point that I would like to make it here is that one cannot ignore the need of a strong recruiting backbone in a startup as they may need it the most. Recruitment in a settled company may do away with junior recruiters or by outsourcing recruitments but for smaller setups a strong recruiting arm is a must.
Manav has a strong 12 yrs. experience in HR & Recruitment in IT industry & has worked for ThoughtWorks Technologies, Saba Software, ZS Associates etc. He has an exceptional ability to understand business needs & build rapport with stakeholders. Manav is well known in the Pune HR circle for his proven ability to source, select and secure top-notch candidates for multiple concurrent positions and then to ensure their growth within organization.
He is also an avid speaker at many colleges and takes extra efforts to bridge the gap between the campus and corporate. Currently, Manav is AVP – HR at Webonise Lab Pvt Ltd.