BENGALURU | NEW DELHI: A willingness to take risks, accept mistakes and assume ownership for the deliverables: these are some of the characteristics that startups look for in the perfect candidate they want to take on board.
Many new-age companies have shut shop and several others including biggies like Flipkart and Snapdeal handed out pink slips as funds have become hard to come by, but it isn’t all gloom in India’s startup space. A few such as Chaayos, Netmeds.com, BigBasket, Furlenco and ixigo are hiring, and their founders say they favour candidates who fit culturally into their organisations and demonstrate an adaptability to change.
According to a Nasscom-Zinnov report released last year, India is expected to have over 10,500 startups by 2020. Having certain attributes could help you land one of the over 2.1lakh jobs they are forecast to offer.
Skill matters, but attitude is more important, said Hari Menon, cofounder of online grocery store BigBasket.
“There’s no space for old baggage – if you’re coming to work with us, you must be able to look at things differently because the digital space demands a different perspective,” he said.
The Bengaluru-based company will be hiring for its technology and product management teams across all levels over the next year.
At online pharmacy Netmeds.com, maturity and stability are the basic attitudes it looks for in candidates.
“A startup goes through various cycles – not just when it comes to funding but also the ups and downs on how a customer may react, how a strategy will be implemented,” said founder Pradeep Dadha.
In the startup world, not all experiments work and the idea is to look for people who can imbibe this understanding, he added. The 450-strong company is looking to hire another 150 across the spectrum, especially in roles of marketing and business development.
ADAPTABILITY TO CHANGE
For Gurgaon-based ixigo, a willingness to learn and adaptability to change are crucial.
In an ecosystem where the norms change continuously and so does the user experience, no one can be an expert at everything, said Aloke Bajpai, the travel company’s CEO. “A willingness to adapt is very important; intellectual humility is one of the building blocks of the learning attitude.”
The startup, which currently has about 100 employees, is looking to increase its workforce by 10-20% over the next year.
Candidates who interview with Nitin Saluja, founder of Chaayos, can expect to be quizzed on why they will be a good cultural fit in the company.
“The individual needs to have achieved something ‘insanely great’. I try to push people into a corner and want them to come out of it during interviews; this shows me how high on energy they are and if they are life-centric or not. I need to have the confidence that they want to achieve something big and are optimistic,” said Saluja.
This year, Chaayos is looking to add about 20 people to its corporate team of 65 and hire 600-700 more at the shop-floor level where it now employs 400.
At Chumbak, there are four people who are specifically trained to administer a ‘culture test’ which comes after the departmental interviews. One of the questions they commonly ask is, “If money were not an object, what would you be doing instead?”
“These four interviewers have veto powers over other interviewers; if they feel someone will not fit into the company culture, their word stands,” cofounder Vivek Prabhakar said.
The Bengaluru-based startup is going to be hiring for its supply chain, planning, retail, marketing and design teams. The 110-strong workforce will be ramped up to 150-160 over the next year or so.
SENSE OF OWNERSHIP
At Furlenco, preference is given to candidates with one-two years of experience, who can demonstrate that they will take ownership for their tasks.
“We’re in a category that’s never been there in India before – furniture rentals – so we’re all learning as we go. I look for those candidates who are smart enough to figure things out on their own, analyse requirements, and then get the job done with minimum intervention,” said Ajith Mohan Karimpana, founder of the Bengaluru-based company.
The startup has 250-odd employees and is looking to expand the headcount by at least 10-20% over the next year, as it raises its next round of funding – which it is due to begin talks for. Technology and operations teams will be ramped up, said Karimpana.
LEARNING FROM FAILURE
While success at previous roles is good, ixigo and Chumbak also look for candidates who’ve experienced failure. Ixigo’s Bajpai recently interviewed a developer, whom he asked, ‘When was the last time you failed?’ His response was: ‘Yesterday’. “I liked that, it showed a recognition of the smaller things,” said Bajpai.
Many of the people interviewed at Chumbak are those who’ve tried their hand at running a startup and failed. “They make for great additions to the company because they know what they-‘ve gone wrong at and ensure they don’t repeat those mistakes,” said cofounder Prabhakar.
Read More: economictimes.indiatimes.com