New ventures in India struggle to attract top-notch professionals

startup hiring copyNo wonder, India is at the cusp of startup dawn with a number of new companies being launched and funded every day. But with people wanting to be their own boss today – the very fact of working for someone else – and that too with a small company doesn’t interest many.

For most of the startup founders, the number one challenge they find during their entrepreneurial journey is not raising money, closing deals, doing sales or finding partners. It’s hiring people.

Running your own startup is a challenge that never ends and as time goes on and the company scales, bringing in employees is one of the inevitable and difficult task – especially in India, where working with a startup doesn’t get considered as an honourable status quo. Result ? New ventures in India struggle to attract top-notch professionals.

Risk taking in India is mostly confined with investors or the startup founders. Other factors that keeps young professionals away from working with a startup could be low regard of startup jobs in society, less attractive salary package at start and high risk of job security among others.

“Startups don’t have the ability to pay big salaries, but they have the ability to build great wealth for the participants,” claims, Gurpreet Singh, cofounder at Browntape a 10 months old startup. According to Gurpreet, a startup employee might not have salaries up to the level of people working with industry leaders, but could get equity in return, which over a period of time turns out big. “Not everyone understands this trade-off” said Gurpreet. The startup has been trying to hire the developers and the architect for over a month now.

According to Brijraj Vaghani, founder at Birds Eye System, a Mumbai based startup which recently secured funding from Matrix Partners, it is difficult to find people who can adapt the startup culture and like to work for one. Moreover, big company offer a counter offer which is something very hard for a small company or a startup to match. Currently a team of 13, the startup is now looking to hire more people to increase the team size to somewhere around 30.

According to Ashpi gupta, AVP at Mumbai Angels some of the best practices which startup founders could adapt are provision of ESOPS for employees against low salaries, referral hirings and focus on skills and attitude while hiring. She also believes that startups should consult to various recruitment agencies who hire particularly for start-ups. Their fees is usually success based, hence taking their help can very often help identifying a suitable candidate quickly. SutraHR and Jombay are few such agencies who offer their services and innovate ways for startups to find some talent.

HiringMonk, another such HR recruitment consultancy for startups is now operational from last 7 months. With over 50 companies under its clientele list HiringMonk has managed to place just about 20-25 employees so far. According to Preetam Salian, cofounder of Hiring Monk, job security, equity options and other job benefits are the three most influential factors that keeps people away from working in a startup.

There should be provision for sharing of wealth, either by ESOP or variable pay linking to milestones believes Anil Joshi, a Mumbai based VC and former President of Mumbai Angels. “ESOP helps retaining talent as they grow along with growth of company. Moreover a business owner should always follow participative management practice and encourage professional to take decision, making them owner of their action, ” added Anil.

Finding good people for your startup is a tough job to do. But is it because of the inability of entrepreneurs for not being able to convey the excitement of a new venture to others ? Experts believe it is. To some extent.

It takes great presentation skills and passion about the kind of business they are into to attract quality talent, believes Pearl Uppal, founder, 5ideas Startup. “When you are coming to work with a new startup, the ESOP’s don’t hold much value and the salary is comparatively less than MNC’s. It of course depends on the risk taking ability of the employee but its the founders who help employees develop the kind of attitude which say — this is a passionate startup, I love founders and I like to be the part of the early team.” added Pearl.

Startups also rely on help from peers when it comes to urgency to fill a specific position in the company. But its not always a good approach. So what should startups do to fulfill urgent hiring needs ?

Entrepreneurs should articulate their vision to all existing employees, as employee referrals help in bringing quality talent. Moreover, if one needs to hire a specific set of people on an urgent basis, there’s no choice but to spend money either to buy a database or instead hire a recruiter. But its always best for a startup company to keep looking for people even if the need isn’t of high priority, as this gives enough time to the company to hire the perfect match and correct any hiring mistake.

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