MUMBAI: Hiring mistakes can prove costly given the fierce pace at which startups are scaling up. Swati Bhargava, co-founder of leading cashback site Cashkaro, learnt this the hard way when they hired a senior person for online marketing last year.
They faced various issues with the hire, says Swati, including overpromising and under-delivering on his part and management styles, which alienated other team members. “We had to let the person go in three months and undo and re-do a lot of work done by him. We realised in hindsight that it would have been better to wait and look for the right person than spend so much energy, time and resources on making it work,” says Bhargava. In the process, Cashkaroestimates they lost out nearly Rs 8 lakh on salaries, training and the like.
As Bhargava learnt first-hand, the biggest challenge facing startups today isn’t getting funded – it’s hiring the right people. Attracting good talent isn’t enough – they need to be the perfect fit as well. That’s why a bunch of them, from Snapdeal and Vuclip to Cashkaro, Wingify and TastyKhana, are now deploying techniques like multi-level assessments, psychometric tests and roping in external partners to make sure they don’t end up paying a heavy price for quick, wrong hires.
“The industry is growing at breakneck speed. The margin of error of getting a wrong hire is minimal,” says Saurabh Nigam, VP – HR at Snapdeal. “We want to guarantee that our hiring is as scientific as possible.”
Recently, Snapdeal rolled out a three-level assessment test to get the right talent, in skills, aptitude, culture and fitment. There’s a standarised aptitude test with different benchmarks; after clearing which a candidate is tested on function-specific skills. In the technology domain, for instance, Snapdeal has tied up withHackerRank to test candidates on coding skills.
The final stage involving psychometric tests is to gauge cultural and values fitment, and for that Snapdeal is speaking to multiple partners besides the likes of Aon Hewitt and Development Dimensions International. All this will be in place before the company hits campuses for hiring later this year.
Cashkaro’s Swati and her co-founder husband Rohan now extensively use numerical, written and psychometric tests to measure various parameters including analytical skills, communication skills, multitasking skills and the ability to function independently. “When it comes to recruitment, we can’t afford to get it wrong,” says Swati.
Unlike large companies which have big training setups to train new joinees, startups want people who can jumpstart, says Varun Aggarwal, CTO and COO of leading employability solutions company Aspiring Minds, which works with nearly 600 startups. “They really want to avoid bad hires. For some, even one bad hire might be 10% to 20% of their total work force,” he says.
According to the Indian Startup Study Report 2014 by the Hay Group, Indian startups face a high employee attrition rate of 17%, which rises to 21% in growth startups, says its director Debabrat Mishra. “More than the direct cost, it’s the cost to business that has bigger implications in case of a bad hire,” says Anuj Roy, partner, digital practice at executive search firm Transearch.
Startups across the board agree that the success of their organisations hinges on the right talent. People who thrive in a startup are generally cut from a different cloth: they need to be goal-oriented, passionate, self-motivated, be able to handle uncertainty, think out of the box, be adaptable, open to chances and have the ability to exceed expectations.
Source : ET