Starting with startups can give a candidate a great foundation, as they need to multitask, take initiative, work in different teams and have mentors in the form of the experienced founders. And if all goes well, you have the opportunity to reap a rich financial dividend in a short span of time.“Most start ups are in new areas, and rarely have a talent pool from where they can hire directly. So what they do is look for aptitude-based skill sets and then mould them as per requirement,’’ says Vidhyut Panigrahi, a Silicon Valley based angel investor and seed fund consultant.So what do start ups look for when hiring?
A broad sales aptitude
Startups are faced with a serious lack of sales people interested in entering the arena. “The attitude of sales representatives in a start up scenario is different as they has to sell a new concept or approach first, and then the product /service. And there are just not enough focused sales people with the right attitude, making this a much sought after aptitude for hires,’’ says Brinda Srihari, HR head, Torpe HR Consultants. “Thus the ability to push an idea with enthusiasm and conviction with a keen eye on the value it will bring to the end-user, without being too pushy is a clincher skill.”
Cross vertical skill sets
While a decade ago a start up would play it safe and hire only an engineer, today the scenario has changed. “Though this kind of hiring still takes place, most startups today would rather go for cross-vertical skills like pure science and business combination; or commerce and computer science background,’’ says Panigrahi.
Startups are companies that are either change providers or are subject to constant change themselves or both. So adaptability to unexpected circumstances is critical. “Response to the question, ‘how have you sought to maintain or exceed results in the face of change?’ is something that we look for with interest,’’ says Srihari. “If the candidate is able to give us examples of how he handled the unexpected and managed to remain calm and re-plan, he or she is hot property.’’
Fast learner and implementer
“People working in startups cannot afford to make too many mistakes, thus companies look for a careful balance between skills and the right spirit,’’ says Panigrahi. “Someone who learns well, fast and is able to implement it correctly is much in demand. When this does not happen, companies often end up with a bunch of people who can’t work together and deliver. There needs to be a balance between skills and spirit across all hires in the set-up.’’