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How Can Indian Startups Hire The Right Technical Talent

How Can Indian Startups Hire The Right Technical Talent

There’s a war going on in the Indian startup ecosystem: a war for talent. Every startup has to extract developers from the limited supply of engineering talent. Meanwhile, tech giants like Facebook and Google pay millions to hire and retain the best talent.

Not only do you have to worry about your developers getting poached by your competitors, you also have to worry about them using your ideas to get funded and start their own company. The theoretical benefit of doing your own thing is infinite, it is difficult to beat the “grass is greener” dream of being a founder.

Hiring and retaining the best technical talent needs a lot of hard work. If you’re wondering how to hire the right technical talent for your startup, this article will help you stay ahead of the curve.  

Tap Into Your Existing Network (Ex-colleagues, College Juniors, Seniors And Batch Mates)

Network hires make the best hires since you know them personally and can tell more precisely if they’d be a good fit. They’ve known you for some time, seen you build the product and it is easier to communicate your vision to this group of people.  

I came across an article on Mashable about how the early Facebook employees would tap into their existing network to build their team in the days when it was still a startup.

The network can be used to hire in single digits when your startup is in the early stage. While expanding, you’d have to look for options with a wider reach.

Job Postings

This is currently a popular way of getting noticed by the job seekers. Create a job listing and post it on LinkedIn, Angel.co, Monster and Naukri and you’ll have a number of job applications coming along your way.

Most of the job seekers don’t differentiate a top tier firm from any other firm. The candidate may have a hard time gauging if the company is the right fit for them. This is because the listed companies are just names, relevant to only very few potential hires.

The company posting a job doesn’t have the opportunity to portray their unique culture or their USP. The job seeker views them as one amongst the numerous companies registered on the website. As a result, it takes a longer amount of time to hire the right candidate.

Paid Access To The Database Of Certain Sites 

Sites such as Naukri, Monster and IIMJobs provide paid access to candidates actively seeking jobs.

While paid access to the database is more expensive than the job listings, it provides more flexibility to browse through relevant profiles. The higher volumes of response may make the process of finding the best talent time consuming.

Many times, the type of candidates you wish to hire may not be active job seekers, they would already be having jobs.

Targeted Reach Out Through Social Media

As a founder or CTO actively involved in the startup community you’d know about the companies (or your competitors) where you’d find the right talent. The next step would be reaching out to them through LinkedIn or other social network.

This approach takes a lot of patience and commitment, making it time consuming, making it less scalable.

Building Talent Communities 

Recently, companies have started converting their static career page into active talent communities. The community consists of current employees, active and passive job seekers and company alumni. The aim is to build a private pool of candidates, nurturing relations with talent over a period of time and taping into this pool when a hiring need arises.

Generally, candidates start looking for information about your company long before they apply for a job. These communities provide an excellent opportunity to move the communication in both directions. The candidates can ask questions, while your team can answer them in a timely and informative way.

Buffer, a social media scheduling app has a blog section (Buffer Open) where they talk about transparency, productivity, remote working, diversity, self-improvement and company culture.

Employee Referrals

According to a New York Times study, referred candidates have a 40 percent better chance of being hired compared to other applicants.

In an employee referral programme your existing staff recommends their qualified network of either friends, family or ex-colleagues for an open position. Those employees whose recommendation leads to a hire is rewarded.

The referred candidates will have a better understanding of the company culture and the roles demanded by the position due to the inputs from your current employees. They are more likely to fit into the company culture, perform better and stick longer.

Recruitment Partners And HR Consultancies 

The problem of going through job postings and applicant database is the huge amount of noise and the effort required to filter through the clutter. The same applies to targeted outreach where the manual effort is time consuming.

The recruitment companies do the above mentioned tasks on your behalf by charging per hire. As the people doing the research work for you are not techies, they may not understand the requirements well enough. In such cases, you end up paying despite the fact that you’d need to put in a lot of efforts to find the right hire.

Innovative Approaches 

Hiring tech talent takes up most of the time of some of the most critical people in a startup. Many startups are solving this problem in innovative ways. Following are some of the approaches taken by startups:

  • Marketplace approach: Startups like Hired.com have attempted to solve it by filtering the top 5% of the crowd manually, and creating a marketplace for the cream of the crowd.
  •  Assessment-based approach: A class of startups focusses on tech assessment. The idea is to filter the top applicants by looking at the result of the assessments.
  • Best match approach: InterviewBit attracts software developers to its platform for free interview preparation and gathers data about their coding skills, their previous projects, and other technical attributes from sites like Stack Overflow and GitHub. This data is used to match the best candidates to a given job. Post that, they behave like a tech assisted recruitment agency.

Paul Graham, the co-founder of Y Combinator lists hiring of bad programmers as one of the mistake that kills a startup. According to Deloitte’s global survey, 58 percent companies are revamping or considering to change their talent acquisition strategy.

The new age recruitment startups use technology to help companies find the right tech talent. They filter suitable candidates from the clutter by assessing their skills and helping them prepare for the interviews. Persisting with the old age ways of recruitment might leave you behind and slow your growth. It’s time to change for the better, forever.


[The author of this post is Parminder Singh, co-founder, Hansel.io. Hansel.io is a deep tech company that allows developers to push hotfixes without users having to update.]

Note: The views and opinions expressed are solely those of the author and does not necessarily reflect the views held by Inc42, its creators or employees. Inc42 is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by guest bloggers.

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