What is the favorite startup hiring tip you received from your mentor?

Hiring Mistakes Startups make

From what I heard, read, analyzed and learned, the favorite startup hiring tips shared by all “Entrepreneur – HR Managers” are:

  1. Share your vision of success
  2. Hire the best in business
  3. Don’t compromise on quality
  4. Groom the talent
  5. Hire multi-taskers
  6. Blah-2

I have been a part of multiple startups. (most of them failures. Now, how many times do I have to repeat it 🙂 . It has become such a mundane thing to write this again and again.

The next time someone wants to join me?

My blog will be dissuasion enough to leave the job posted by us.

Jokes apart. Startups with limited or no money have only blurred vision. How a start up hire 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 me with no money to speak of.

The best talent wants Money. So I gave up hope of hiring them just based on my vision long time back.

Let me add to what I wrote above.

Now the “Knowledgeable lot” wants me to hire quality.

Seriously? I should get quality with no cash in my pocket.

I run a bootstrapped startup with enough money to cover my food bills (I have intentionally started eating less to save money). How do I pay for quality? Even offers on Food Panda are out of my budget 😉

All the job seekers standing outside my office are the ones who cannot enter MNCs or are just looking for a gateway to get to their “Dream Companies”.

A friend of mine called me the other day to rub it in my wounds.

He said you run a training center to train the employee for MNCs.

I have groomed the best of talents, only to give the results of grooming to the best in the business.

And I do a lot of blah-2 in terms of salary perks, benefits, vision, mission.

The problem here is bigger than the normal wise words passed to us by the knowledgeable lot.

I might not be able to hire the best employee but what hurts me most is when I get a wrong employee. No one tells me how to differentiate right from wrong when I am hiring.

So to help my fellow Entrepreneurs I have prepared a list of tips in the simplest of language to help them hire the right person for their startup.

Here are the tips for Recruiting the best of talent for startups:

  1. Avoid the Hoppers:

The best employee in the business will screw you the worse if there has been a jump every 1 year in the resume.

A few years back one of the job seekers I interviewed had something strange on his résumé.

Within a span of 3 years, the guy had jumped 4 companies.

I asked him why have you been such a hopping rabbit? (Now I am being 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 time span”.

He said “ I left the first company because of growth”

“ I left the second company because of better salary”.

“I left the third company because the seniors were not good.”

“I want to leave the current company because my favorite team lead is leaving the company”.

I asked him few questions about his “growth” chart. The prodding had an adverse effect on him.

He got evasive and asked me back 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.

  1. Don’t compromise the Background checks:

Fake experience. Salary lies. Fake backgrounds of Employees is a problem faced by big enterprises today.

When the top league is struggling with an army of HR soldiers supporting them.

Imagine, the plight of your overloaded HR.

With recruitment, salary slips, office issues all sitting on the head of HR, 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?)

But then she also told me, they used to keep gold biscuits under their bed in Pakistan. (before partition).

After partition, they spent all their money building nukes. So no one has gold biscuits today.

I don’t trust any of the stories but she makes today’s world sound so evil.

The thieves don’t mind stealing dog’s biscuit. Imagine, what would they do if they knew there were gold biscuits under your bed 🙂

We have had employees who asked their last company for leave of 3 to 4 days to check our company and went back to their last company if they did not find our company cool.

We are not the best but we are not the worst either.

So the smart ones keep both their options open.

You just have to fall in their “perfect” company slot.

A few months back, we received a background check of an ex-employee. The female who stayed with us for 3 months had photoshopped her résumé to change months to years.

We gave a clear-cut feedback of her misadventures.

She called back our HR and with great audacity gave an earful to our HR. We were responsible for her losing a good job opportunity.

The above story is not the only dare act we have seen in past. One of our recent joiners actually had a new company come up somewhere in Delhi with the reference number of her best friend given for quality check.

And she refused to budge despite all proofs against her.

She even went to the “open for all” internet to write against me calling me a “Geek”. For someone, who has not coded for 8 years and left his only job because he hated coding.

I take it as a compliment.

The process we followed earlier was what we called as a 3 days window, all background checks have to be done in 3 days.

It worked for us.

  1. 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 get a large team in the shortest time frame?

You hire “the talent” which is willing to jump ship without any experience certificate.

The other day one of my friends asked me “does it really happen in real world? Do companies actually hire such guys?”

And when I spoke to another friend who owns a successful IT Company (these days all companies look successful when I compare them to mine), he confessed to hiring such employees.

I had a favourite employee. (I am such a fool to think startup owners could have favorite Employees )

He spent his first year working with us. We asked him how much hike he needs when time came for his first promotion.

We gave him the exact promotion as per his expectation.

Then he got a call from his “dream company”. The dream company is a well-known name in our industry.

He was given 7 days to join them. We gave him 15 days.

He joined the other company without experience certificate or any relevant document in 7 days.

I took a heavy 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 necessary documents from last company.

The other day someone posted “anonymously” rubbing me the wrong way on internet. A sad saga which painted me as an evil unethical tyrant.

I wish I could paste stories of the evil unethical lot we have had over years.

But I can’t. I am a smart Entrepreneur who has to maintain grace. (reminds me of GOT “Your Grace”) and I am not supposed to stoop down to their level.

No wonder, the Dark side of Entrepreneurship is something no one wants to discuss.

  1. Avoid the superstar:

Your infrastructure is not impressive and you have a superstar who landed on your door to give the interview for a position your advertised you.

Who is the lucky person here?

Stop looking at him. It’s you, my dear friend.

You are the one who has the honor of receiving “your honor”.

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 small stars. When time comes, you will be outshined too.

Not making you insecure. Just giving you a reality check.

You would not want an employee who makes your whole team live in a complex not with talent but with the “superstar’s” charismatic personality.

You can ill afford to have one.

Why is it important to hire a right candidate for a startup?

A company of 5 employees cannot have 2 bad employees and when things go bad, I can assure you, you won’t be able to even hire a lawyer with the money your startup makes.

It’s better to be a little cautious than regret later.

Hire employees who understand what you are doing here and try paying them on time.

I have been through a phase where no one got paid for months including me, my partner, employees and my landlord (god bless him).

When I paid everyone, almost all employees left.

Landlord did not throw us out since his office was so bad, he would have hardly found any tenants for the place,

Don’t you trust me? His place is vacant for two years since we left.

The place was a Taj Mahal under maintenance.

In summers, the place was an oven. Even after  4 ACs running in parallel the 1500 square feet space made us look like tadoori chickens.

The roof leaked when it rained.

The electricity meter would blast every summer.

The landlord was a gentleman because of the circumstances.

Coming back to the topic. I hope you find the above startup recruiting and hiring tips useful.

Startups fail or survive because of employees.

Hire smartly to survive the storm.

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