Recruiting is hard. The biggest challenge most startup founders face is in employee recruitment. It is not raising capital or doing sales, as much as it is finding the right people.
Over the past year, having spoken to (and recruited) people for various roles has produced learnings; learnings which help make a wiser decision.
The Warm Up
1. The Tagging problem
Your friend who graduated from IIT last year and is now working at Mckinsey might not be the best person to run marketing at your company. ‘Your friend’, ‘IIT’, ‘Mckinsey’: none of these words make him a marketing juggernaut and it will turn out as a bad recruitment plan.
2. The Emotional problem
Hiring people whom you love or hate will be a bad recruitment plan.
Love: You will never fire them. And for god’s sake, do not hire your girlfriend (or your ex).
Hate: Duh? You will fire them on day 1.
It is much easier to say “Hey man! I am not sure if your profile would fit the role.” before the interview, as compared to after it. More engagement means more guilt.
3. The Elonish problem
There would be times when you would receive Elonish (yes, I made this word) CVs. CVs where one would have made Paypal, SpaceX, Tesla and Hyperloop. Oh boy! He is a genius.
But he is not. More often than not, what these resumes speak is that the person would have started doing X and jumped to Y when faced with a problem in X, achieving not much in either.
Hiring plan of a startup is all about solving problems which have no direct answers. Problems that test perseverance. You don’t want your key guy to hop from one problem to another, solving none. An expert hockey player might be a better startup fit than a campus grad with 4 two month internships.
4. The ‘Sifarish’ problem
Referrals are a great way of employee recruitment. Some of your best hires will be referred to you. This, in no way, can (and should) give the candidate a speedy acceptance to the role. A lot of times, referral feedbacks are incorrect. People do in fact reply with “He is a great friend” when asked about “Is he a great sales guy?”.
I am sure everyone does a great job to interview people for the specific role they are being engaged for. It, in most cases, is fairly objective. However, a great sales guy might not be a great sales guy to work in a startup.
5. The Honest Guy
Hey guys, money is important. And I know that. So, it is ok to switch jobs because you are looking for a hike (called as better opportunity). Making a case for a challenging opportunity (and explicitly mentioning the switch is not for salary) is a great story to sell. But you cannot back it up by asking for a 30% salary hike and neither negotiating on it nor accepting an equity equivalent of it.
6. The Unhappy Guy
Few times when asked about the reason for leaving the previous job, people start complaining about the previous (or current) employer. Recruiting such employee would be a bad recruitment plan and it will be a straight NOs. More often than not, life would be equally or more difficult in a startup. A candidate who is comfortable enough to bitch about the previous employer to an interviewer, would go gossiping around the company about something he does not like. You don’t want to babysit people.
7. The Circular Referencing Error
I am still trying to solve this. 😐
Each of the previous employers, we have done reference checks with, want to hire back their people. The minimum score we have seen on these references is 8.5/10.
I tried tricking the candidates.
“Can you give me 2 references of your previous employments?”
“Yup. Take X and Y.”
“No, I want the other two.” <poker face>
The result is still the same.
Ok, enough of my problems. What were yours? Let me know in the comments section below!
Also, if you want these problems to go away, why not visit our site to outsource your hiring needs?