After more than a year of sluggish hiring — India lost 9 Mn jobs between October 2016 and October 2017 — resulting from demonetisation, the introduction of the goods and services tax, and tightening of visa norms in the US, things are finally looking up.
According to a Naukri report, hiring activity registered a 3% increase in March, driven by significant growth in non-IT sectors. Hiring across senior levels (more than 16 years experience) showed a robust growth of 8%, while the mid (four-seven years) and junior levels (zero-three years) grew by 3% and 6% respectively in March 2018 as against a year ago.
While all recruitments made by a company are important, there are always some positions that are more crucial than others. This is all the more true in a startup, where having the right person in the right job is the only way to accelerate growth.
As companies get back into the hiring game, we caught up with two successful entrepreneurs, Ashish Kashyap of ibibo and Paras Chopra of Wingify, to get their insights on hiring for two of the most important positions in a startup: chief technology officer (CTO) and product manager.
Hiring a CTO
During an Inc42 Facebook Live AMA, Ashish Kashyap listed for us the essential skills and qualities of a good CTO.
- The CTO should be absolutely hands on. He/she should be able to code and also be able to encourage developers in the company to create scaled systems.
- He/she needs to be not just an employee, but a partner or a co-founder in the startup.
- The CTO needs to embrace change. He/she should be willing to constantly experiment and to fail fast.
“If it’s a technology startup, the CTO is the one person you need to bring on board who is well-suited for the job,” Kashyap added.
Hiring a Product Manager
“Product managers are mini CEOs of the company and, to a large extent, they have to be the glue that binds the company together from a product perspective.” So said Paras Chopra, founder of Wingify, when we caught up with him during a Facebook Live AMA to help us with a checklist of the important skills to look for in the product manager of a startup.
“Product managers are mini CEOs of the company and, to a large extent, they have to be the glue that binds the company together from a product perspective”
Chopra told us that hiring a product manager depends on which stage the product is in.
If it’s an early-stage product, he said that startups need to hire a product manager who is essentially an entrepreneur in his mindset and skillset. He/she must be capable of scaling up with what’s already available to him. “You can’t hire a product manager and ask him to build a business for you,” he added.
He also emphasised that a lot of people are under the impression that product managers magically make up everything out of thin air, but what product managers actually do is bring in processes and help make sense of the chaotic initial phase of a startup’s operations.
So, Chopra shared three essential skills that mark a good product manager:
- Product managers must be comfortable talking to customers and building relationships
- They should have really good technical skills because they’re the interface between the customers and the engineering team at a startup
- They must have a good understanding of design as well
The rule of thumb Chopra recommends any early-stage startup looking to hire a product manager should follow is: “Hire the right person for the right job at the right time. This is what will give your startup the right start towards hiring!