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Startup Hiring: 5 Hacks Every Founder Should Know When Recruiting Key People

So you went from holding an idea in your mind to turning it into a business for real. Now you have a good team, you have reached certain scales, and the demand for your product has never been more evident. You’ll have your mind on taking the product to the next level. This time around, you can afford some expertise (well, almost). You’ll look to hire someone who’s been there, done that.

Hiring key persons into the organization – the impact of the founder versus the impact of an HR manager/ recruitment specialist

1) Making an offer the prospect can’t refuse

While an HR manager’s approach to the prospect’s profile is designation oriented, the founder‘s approach is Return on Investment-oriented. He can identify the prospect’s potential in contributing to the organization’s growth and even decide to offer higher compensation to bring the prospect onboard. Also, the founder knows the cash-in-bank details and equity structure like the back of his hand. He will ensure that the investor’s interest is protected. That puts him in a better position to relay the information and make an enticing offer to the prospect. The HR manager may not be able to do so as efficiently.

2) Aligning the prospect’s ambition with the organization’s goals

Such converging of interests helps quantify the expectations of both the prospect and the organization. The founder is the flag bearer of the organization’s vision and goals. The HR manager may not convey the vision and objectives of the startup as clearly as the founder would, more so when it comes to merging them with the prospect’s own targets. Also, while the HR manager looks for a person to fit into a role, the founder may create a role if he finds the right person for the organization. Such authority does not lie with the HR manager.

3) Hitting it off on the right note

The founder, unlike the HR manager, can judge the suitability of the prospect in the startup from the way he negotiates. Secondly, at the end of the day, the prospect will be working closely with the founder in all regards. It is important for the founder to meet the prospect and see if they hit it off. Healthy chemistry between the two is essential! An HR manager may not be able to foresee the prospect’s compatibility with the founder.

4) Hear it straight from the horse’s mouth

Having built it by himself, the founder knows the throb of the organization like no HR manager would. He will have the best answers to erase the prospect’s doubts and apprehensions. A direct dialogue between prospect and founder also gives the former a sense of importance. The same cannot be evoked when the HR manager is the prospect’s closest contact with the organization.

5) The finishing stroke

By this stage, the prospect would already be an important investment to you. The founder building a relationship with the prospect works a longer way than an HR manager doing the same. The influence unofficial meets and follow-ups by the founder have over the prospect’s decision to join the organization is undeniable.

While the HR manager/recruitment agency can identify the right candidate for the key positions, closing the deal is a task meant solely for the founder. It can be compared to today’s system of arranging marriages.  The parents and matrimonial sites can only go as far as finding a suitable person for you. But only the sparks flying between you and that person will determine whether the marriage can take place.

The information provided here is useful for all startups that have proved their viability and are now scaling up. If you know any such startup, share the article with them. Who knows, you might just save them from spending significant capital and still ending up with the wrong key person! Also, if you belong to the ‘growing startup league’, share your feedback with me. I always welcome a good discussion.

By Waqar Azmi, CEO & Founder of Sutra Services Pvt Ltd

Author Profile:

Waqar is India’s favorite startup enabler, having established Sutra in 2007. An engineer by degree but an entrepreneur by heart, Waqar leads Sutra to enable all startups and SMEs in India to efficiently hire the best talent and effectively manage their human capital. Sutra Services Pvt Ltd comprises SutraHR (Asia’s top exec search firm for new-age industries such as Mobile VAS, Digital Media, Technology, and eCommerce), SutraLite (India’s first fixed-fee, low-cost recruitment agency for startups and SMEs), and sumHR (Affordable SaaS-based HR & Payroll automation solution for startups and SMEs).

If you require help with hiring or anything else at your startup, you can reach Waqar on waqar@sutrahr.com or call him on +91 9222 299 360.

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