If asked to rate the difficulties Startups face when starting, I will rank “hiring the right resources” 9 out of 10.
In terms of challenges faced by entrepreneurs while taking the right entrepreneurship steps, It takes the top slot along with raising funds.
Startups as an organization do not inspire much confidence in the job market because:
- They lack funds to hire top talent
- There is insecurity in the minds of job seekers
- There are better offers from established companies
Since it is not easy to find the right resources because of the apparent constraints, Startups make mistakes.
In the desperation to get talent fast, they forget the basic rules of hiring.
Before I list the rules and how Startups break them, let me ask you a simple question – What is the easiest way for a Startup to hire the right talent?
From what I have heard, read, analysed, and learned, the favourite Startup hiring tips shared by all “Entrepreneur – HR Managers” are:
- Share your vision of success
- Hire the best in business
- Don’t compromise on quality
- Groom the talent
- Hire multi-taskers
I have been a part of multiple Startups, and whatever is written above does not cut the ice with most of the candidates whom we try to convince to join us.
It does not work because we are always in shortage of funds (obviously), and then, our vision is ever-evolving.
Now, how a Startup hires depends on the depth of their pocket.
I mean, let’s be practical; I had to be Steve Job if I was to convince anyone to join my Startup with no money in my pocket.
The best talent wants money. So I gave up hope of convincing them based on my vision a long time back.
And when I am asked – why don’t you hire quality staff.
I only think of one answer, “Seriously? I should get quality with limited funds in my bank account “.
How do you pay for quality when the offers on Food coupon websites are out of your budget?
All the job seekers who stood outside my office were the ones who could not enter MNCs or were just looking for a gateway to get to their “Dream Companies.”
The other day a friend called me to pass me words of wisdom.
He said, “You run a training centre to train the employee for MNCs.”
And he is right. Over the years, I have groomed the best of talents, for more prominent companies.
So, the problem Startups face while hiring is more significant than the wise words passed to us by the knowledgeable lot.
We might not be able to hire the best Employee, but what hurts us most is when we get the wrong Employee and that is where the problem is – No one us how to differentiate the right from wrong while hiring an employee.
All the tips we, the Startup owners get from the market are generic. We rarely get to hear as they say “from horse’s mouth”.
So here we are. This article is my experience of running, failing, succeeding various Startups over the years and what I feel are the relevant tips to help Startups succeed.
They are relevant but not favourite. However, I can promise you that keeping them as a part of my startups’s hiring cycle has helped me find the right people to help us succeed.
Here is the list:
- Avoid the Hoppers:
You are setting up for failure by hiring a candidate who has never stuck to a company for more than a year.
A few years back, one of the job seekers I interviewed had something strange on his résumé.
Within three years, the guy had jumped four companies.
I asked him – why have you been such a hopping rabbit? (That’s mean. How can I ask such a mean question)?
Obviously, I was courteous. Like a decent, mature Entrepreneur, I asked him, “Mr. ____ why so many jumps in such a short period.”
He responded with confidence (i love a confident answer for such questions)
“I left the first company because of growth.”
“I left the second company because of a better salary.”
“I left the third company because the seniors were not good.”
“I want to leave the current company because my favourite team lead is leaving the company.”
I asked him a few questions about his “growth” chart. The prodding hurt him.
He got evasive and asked me to return his resume.
I gave back the résumé. It was such a “remarkable” piece of art; I could have had it framed on the wall of my cabin.
Anyways, the simple lesson here is, “You do not want to be a ladder to someone’s career.”
Don’t waste your hiring go waste. Avoid the hoppers.
- Don’t compromise the Background checks:
Fake experience. Salary lies. Counterfeit degrees.
Fake Employee’s background is a problem faced by almost every company today.
Consider this – As per WSJ, 34% of application forms contain outright lies (Source: The Cedalius Group). As per a report by College and University registrar, more than 60% of the verifications done by them have false information. (source: https://www.cfirstcorp.com/100-statistics-background-checks/)
When the companies in the big league struggle to control the issue despite being supported by an army of HR soldiers – imagine the plight of a Startup company where the Startup founder doubles up as an HR.
With recruitment, salary slips, office issues all sitting on the head of HR of a Startup company, a background check is one small check which would always be off her checklist.
Here is a rude shock for you – The world is not as ethical as it used to be.
My aunt once told me when they were kids; they slept with the doors of their house opens. ( I wonder why they took such a risk?)
I don’t trust any of the stories she tells me, but she made a good point about the world not being such a trusting place now.
Here is what we have faced in the past-
We have had employees who asked their last company for a leave of 3 to 4 days to check our company and went back to their previous company if they did not find our company cool.
We are not the best, but we are also not the worst, either.
So the smart ones keep both their options open. You have to fall into their “perfect” company slot.
A few months back, we received a background check of an ex-employee. The female who stayed with us for three months had photo shopped her résumé to change months to years.
We gave clear-cut feedback on her misadventures.
She called back our HR and with great audacity, gave an earful to our HR. As per her, ‘We were responsible for her losing an excellent job opportunity.’
Ouch! That did ruin our HR’s day.
The above story is not the only dare act we have seen in the past.
One of our recent joiners gave us the reference number of her best friend for checking her work background.
And she refused to budge despite all proofs against her.
The process we followed earlier was what we called a three days window; all background checks have to be done in 3 days.
It worked for us, and you should do it too.
- Avoid the unethical lot:
Your company bagged a dream project. Now all you need is a dream team to deliver the project.
But how do you hire a large team in the shortest time frame?
Do you hire talent, which is willing to jump ship without any experience certificate from the previous company, or do you wait for employees to finish their notice period?
It’s a case of once in a lifetime chance v/s ethics.
Here is another interesting story from my past for you.
In the starting years of our Startup, we had an employee who was not only talented but hard working.
We were his first company, and he spent the first year of his career working with us. We asked him how much salary hike he needed when the time came for his first promotion.
We gave him the exact promotion as per his expectations.
Then he got a call from his “dream company.” The dream company is a well-known name in our industry.
He was given seven days to join them. We gave him 15 days.
He joined the other company without an experience certificate or any relevant document in 7 days.
I took a substantial loss on the project he was working on. I was surprised to see such a big brand hiring him without any necessary documents.
Do we get such job seekers for interviews?
Yes. We do.
But we stick to the simple rule I established years back. We do not hire employees who do not have the necessary documents from the last company.
- Avoid the superstar:
Your infrastructure is not impressive, and you have a superstar who landed on your door to give the interview.
Who is the lucky person here?
Stop looking at him. It’s you, my dear friend.
You are the one who has the honour of receiving “your honour.”
The job seeker talks about everything from tea to toilet to how he will change the face of your company.
Lucky you! The gods have smiled upon you.
Do you want a piece of advice? (Take it. It’s free)
Do not hire the superstar.
From day one, the superstar will overshadow the mere mortals in your organization. In due course of time, even you will be outshined (in the wrong way).
Not making you insecure. Just giving you a reality check.
You would not want an employee who makes your whole team live with a complex, not with talent but with the “superstar’s” charismatic personality.
You can ill afford to have one.
Why is it essential to hire the right candidate for a Startup?
You cannot make this mistake for the simple reason that you are a Startup.
A company of 5 employees cannot have two bad Employees because when things go wrong, I can assure you – you won’t be able to hire a lawyer with the money your Startup makes.
It’s better to be a little cautious than regret later.
Startups fail or survive because of employees. Hire smartly to survive the storm.