In my previous blog on this topic (https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/hiring-internet-companies-cracking-code-arvind-pandit/) I spoke about how hiring for an internet company is fundamentally different and needs a non-traditional approach and mind-set. Challenges that new-age companies face are – inability to attract the brightest and the best, paucity of talent for in-demand skills, challenges in candidate assessment and difficulty in explaining start-up salary structures.
Here are four mantras for achieving hiring success at your company
CEO/ founder is your best ambassador: There is no better brand ambassador than the promoter/ founder/ CEO. Their personal involvement in hiring for critical positions cannot be stressed enough. Their ability to share their conviction in the company and clarity about the company mission can sometimes be the sole reason why candidates agree to join. When personal involvement of the founder is not feasible, having credible advocates to represent your firm, those who share your conviction and can authentically represent you works very well.
Hire from adjacent industries: Lack of people with the right skills directly impacts your ability to scale, be competitive and to innovate. I have seen tremendous success in hiring from adjacent industries and in case of consumer internet, traditional industries such as CPG, telecom and financial services can serve as treasure trove of talent. Another smart way to increase your target talent pool is to go beyond skill match and look for culture and value fitment. Sometimes you will find a candidate that might not be a perfect skill match but their culture fitment makes them a better hire.
Extensive reference checks: Conventional tools fall short (see why in my previous blog) when you are assessing people for start-ups and internet companies. Invoke your network, or find a partner who has a deep network in the industry to do extensive reference checks. A rigorous screening process especially for soft skills (entrepreneurial mindset, critical thinking, problem solving) is worth its weight in gold.
Break down salary structures so candidates understand: Candidates are most familiar with cash compensation. Make candidates understand their total compensation (and not just the cash component) to help them arrive at a decision. Additionally express non-cash component such as ESOPs or stock as an annualized cash number.