How To Hire For A Startup: 10 Sure Shot Ways To Get It Right

The biggest plight faced by a hiring manager is picking an employee who’s the perfect fit for their organization. Now, this isn’t simply a question of hiring the person with the highest qualification and most experience for your startup. There are a lot of different ways to approach startup hiring.
how to hire for startup sutrahr
Being the loud-mouthed, opinionated human that I am, I’m going to list out the things you should look out for during an interview while recruiting for startups. So grab a book, read on, and take some notes!

1. Practical knowledge over grades

practical knowledge over grades
While it’s important for a potential employee to have the basic knowledge needed to get the job done, it’s not necessary he might have the perfect grades to show for it. Some people are better at doing things practically. But they might not be great at writing down a few sentences on how it should be done. You could have an MBA and still know zilch about what you’re supposed to be doing. Depending completely on these numbers is a huge risk for startup recruiters that probably (most definitely) won’t work out in your favour.

2. Look for passion

look for passion - how to hire for a startup
Keep an eye out for someone who is passionate about their work and the responsibilities that come along with it. They’re more likely to do a much better job than someone who’s working for the sake of it. When you, startup Hiring experts, talk about the job role, hear how passionate they are about actually doing it every single day and are already driven to give their best. Job recruiters hiring for a tech position, get someone who lives and breathes gadgets, technology, the geekier the better! A candidate’s excitement for the job says a lot more than you think it does.

3. Avoid pretentious people

avoid pretentious people - how to hire
Yes, they’re super super qualified. Yes, they’re so well dressed for the interview. But are they really the kind of person you would want to interact with every day? Being well-educated does not necessarily make you stuck-up, it’s just the way some people are. Watch out for them, someone who feeds on mocking other people, or someone who’s backbiting about their previous bosses is a big no! They’re not to be trusted. If they can’t even come up with two nice things to say about a place that made them who they are, you can be assured they’re not going to sing any praises about the startup opportunities you’re offering.

4. Jack of all trades – not necessarily a bad thing

jack of all trades - hire for a startup
Even if you’re looking for a person to take care of one particular role, don’t hesitate to hire someone who’s ready to dip their toes in a bunch of different fields. Sure, an all-rounder would be up for handling your PR as their job role, but they’d also be more than excited to handle social media as well. These people aren’t looking to be restrained by their designation, they’re looking to explore and learn on-the-go. And anyway, the basic motto of every startup is “Jugaad”. So, hiring someone who can juggle with ease can be a gift from the Gods themselves to startup recruiters.

5. Internship days are over – clarity of purpose is required

clarity of purpose - how to hire for a startup
Having a positive attitude towards trying new things is good for a potential employee. What’s not okay is being completely clueless about what they’re looking for when they decide to join a startup. If he/she is unaware of what they’re interested in, there’s absolutely no point in wasting time recruiting them for a startup company. The last thing a startup needs is someone who has no idea about what they want to do.

6. Body language & communication style

body language and communication
A candidate sitting with his arms folded across his chest and a pouty face does not scream, “I want this job so bad!” for sure. Fidgeting with the folds of their sleeve, eyeing the room around to avoid making eye-contact with the interviewer are signs that they could be nervous or uninterested. If they reach out for their phone in the middle of the interview, that’s an immediate bye-bye! Don’t kick ‘em to the curb, but don’t waste time with the rest of the interview either. You’ve got time constraints and much better candidates waiting to join a startup. Body language and communication go hand-in-hand. When you’re observing their body language you also need to notice the way they talk. Their tone, pitch, whether they’re speaking coherently or not. This can also give away what might be going on in their mind but not coming out of their mouth.

7. Punctuality & flexibility

punctuality and flexibility
Arriving late to the interview is a big no! Not only is it completely unacceptable to show up 30 minutes late, it also shows just how much they care about the job. While startups are usually chilled out, a level of professionalism is expected from every employee. A rising startup company cannot afford to have someone with a carefree attitude about showing up to work. Along with this, another thing to look out for would be the readiness of the candidate about being flexible with work timings. Working on a clock is for robots, and that’s not what you want. Walking away when your time is up whether your work is finished or not is exactly the kind of attitude a potential employee shouldn’t have. And it’s up to you as startup recruiters to filter them out during the interview.

8. Understanding of the job title

understanding of the job title
During the interview, asking the right questions is a must. This will assist you in figuring out whether the candidate really knows what they’re applying for. No job is easy and they might just be taking it too lightly. A candidate who is inquisitive about his role and is eager to know more is easily remembered by job recruiters compared to those who seem to be baffled listening to questions about what they plan on bringing to the table.

9. Preparedness & work culture

preparedness and work culture
Apart from what they understand about their job role, as job recruiters, you also need to inquire about their knowledge of your startup company. Do they know who the Founder is? Do they know what your company does? Do they know the basic details about your startup company? Are they perplexed when probed about the simplest thing to know about your startup? It might feel like you’re grilling them, but the perception behind this is to see if they’re honest. Truthfulness is an important quality to possess. Lying about knowing something or talking nonsense to pretend like they do can be caught when asked about these things.
Candidates are more likely to be unaware of the work culture inside the office. Which is why it’s in your hands to recognize if they would easily fit into the work culture or if they would have a hard time adjusting to it. Your insights as startup recruiters play a huge role in this.

10. Personality & resourcefulness

personality and resourcefulness
Being a startup, you would have problems arising now and then. For situations like these, new startup companies anticipate hiring employees with proficiency. Having problem-solving abilities in a startup is always a benefit. A person who is ready to switch things up, take a risk, rock the boat and try something totally new is a person worth working with. A great personality would work wonders down the road when it’s time for him/her to step up and be a team leader. This is also something to keep in mind when hiring for startups. A person with the ability to carefully assess the risks in his job and jot down how he could contribute to the progress of the startup company is like a bucket of gold at the end of the rainbow.
Startup recruitment isn’t easy anymore. Times have changed and more and more people are looking out to join a startup that they’re passionate about. People are exploring, experimenting, handling more than one thing at a time. No one is looking to work because they have to, they’re working because they want to. That’s the big difference these days and keeping this in mind is imperative if you’re a startup company. Filtering out people that aim for excellence from the uninterested, mediocre ones can be a tough task for a recruiter. Basically, what I’m trying to say is, hire only the practical and passionate ones who can get things done.
Hope these tips on how to hire employees work out well for you. These startup hiring best practices could help you in the long run as you’re certainly looking to hire someone full-time.
Now that you’ve got these incredible startup hiring tips down, let us help you in finding the right candidates for you to interview! Give us a call at +91 87 67 427 427 or drop a mail to buzz {at] sutrahr.com and we’ll help you out! 🙂


Startup Hiring: Insider’s View Of SutraHR’s 7-Step Work Process


A lot of you might be wondering how we managed to get ourselves amongst Asia’s top talent acquisition firms for startup hiring, and we’re nothing if not mind readers. So, we went ahead and did what we do best – made an infographic about hiring for startups in India!

SutraHR has always taken pride in the efficiency and result-driven mindsets of all of its employees, and this has played a major role in our success for startup hiring. Another reason behind our success is our loophole-free work process.

SutraHR Startup Hiring Process

At SutraHR, we always aim to achieve the best results, because there’s nothing we hold closer to our hearts than startup companies – our beloved clients. It can be a difficult task to juggle between running your startup and overlooking the entire hiring process. Here’s where SutraHR has your back! Knowing you might be apprehensive about working with us, being completely unaware of what goes on on the inside, we tried to make it as simple as possible for you to understand exactly how we help you hire the best employees for your startup.

With this simple 7-step process, we assure you will end up with nothing less than the best possible workforce for a startup company. SutraHR’s incredible workflow is designed to cater to your specific needs, no matter what the hiring requirement may be. Getting rid of any hesitations you might have about associating with us for your startup hiring needs is important to us. And to do this, we could think of no better way than to put our hiring process for startup companies out in the open.

We hope this eliminated any doubts about SutraHR’s hiring process for startups in your mind and gave a clear cut view of our workings. We aim to set the bar for startup hiring in India higher than it already is and are always taking things up a notch. With SutraHR, you always get exactly what you were promised and the promises we make to startup companies hiring in India have proved to ease hiring struggles that startups face these days.

Are you looking to expand your business, got some doubts, or just want to talk about startup hiring? Give us a call at +91 87 67 427 427 or drop us a mail at buzz {at] sutrahr.com and we’ll help you out! 🙂


Startup Hiring Tips: How to Keep a Check on Relocation Fallout Candidates


Startup Hiring Candidate Relocation“I am sorry, but I can’t join this firm. My wife isn’t comfortable with relocating”. Does that line strike a chord with you? Fallouts for jobs that require relocation have proven to be a constant headache, whether it is an HR firm or a startup.

All the time invested, from generating the leads, conducting preliminary interviews, scheduling the main interview rounds with your client, and following up goes down the drain with that one phone call. What’s worse is that this also strains your client relationships.

It’s time to pause and look at the problem from a bird’s eye view. Is there a way to circumvent the incidence of candidate relocation fallouts? If not completely circumvent, is it possible to avoid them? Here are some startup hiring tips:


There’s always a way. We’ve got one right here!
You could start by conducting a simple, internal study to understand the situation better. We suggest you get inputs from all the HR representatives who have experienced relocation lead fallouts. You could have a meeting with all of them. There are chances of it getting chaotic and loud, but as long as someone’s penning down every relevant thing that is being said, all is well. You could send a quick mailer to your representatives for the same.

The main purpose of this discussion would be to get a list of reasons that have been given by the fallouts (Read excuses). One more hiring tip is that you could also ask for specific information. Include not just the reasons given by the fallouts, but also details like which city to which city the fallout was required to relocate from. There are many ways this list can help you in. First up, it’ll be possible to notice a pattern, if any exists. For example, a regular reason that leads candidates from the north refuse to relocate to the south is that ‘you don’t get (good) food’. Identify what point in the recruiting process do these fallouts, well, fall out. It’ll help devise a strategic method for nipping the problem in the bud.

Place personal questions craftily
The best tried and tested way of reducing the number of fallouts is making a standard list of queries for relocation candidates. Jot down everything you need to ask the candidate before forwarding the profile to the client. Mellow down the outrageous questions, but be sure to ask them. Let’s say you want to check if this person from North India is going to have food issues when asked to relocate to a city in Southern India. How does an HR representative go about it? Ask him if he’s worked in that city before. If he hasn’t, ask if he’ll be comfortable with the change in lifestyle, food, or other small but relevant things.

What really hurts an HR firm is not the fact that the lead has voiced certain reasons for not wanting to relocate, but the fact that they voiced their reasons too late. By the time they’ve thrown their hands in the air and shook their heads, your client is already sitting on the fallout’s profile. That is what we need to cut down on. So we ask them questions on the very first call itself. We give them a chance to voice their hesitation before you’ve forwarded the profile.

We’ve got a few suggestions / hiring tips about what you can put into the questionnaire. These are based on an internal study conducted by us at SutraHR. The relevance of certain questions may vary depending on the candidate / scenario:

1. What’s your permanent address?
We want to know what city the candidate grew up in, or where his family may be located.

2. Marital status (married/engaged/single)?
If yes, their partner may have a major influence over their relocating decisions. Also, check if the spouse is also working. Their location compatibility would matter in that case.

3. When do you plan on getting married?
The wedding bells will also announce long holidays.

4. Your reason for relocation?
A strong, practical reason will indicate that he is serious about the relocation.

5. Who will relocate with you?
The apprehensions about relocating will increase with the number of people relocating.

6. Do you have any children of your own?
Ask about the age as well. If the child is old enough to attend school, the candidate may quote school admission difficulties and related issues as a reason for refusing to join.

7. Are you aware of the cost of living in the city you may have to relocate to?
A gentle reminder that it will differ from the one he’s living in now and that they might want to look it up.

8. Do you have any friends or family in the new city?
If yes, a candidate would be more comfortable with relocating.

9. Have you worked in any other city?
Has he relocated before, is what you’re trying to ask. You have lesser things to worry about if the answer is a yes.

10. Can you check with your family and get back to us?
This serves two purposes. One, they sense that they can’t take this posting lightly and two, they do get time to consult. If your client wants the profiles on the same day, give the candidates a smaller span of time before you follow up. This way, you’re disarming them of the “My wife said no” excuse.


This questionnaire can also be sent via mail. The catch with mailing the questionnaire is that not all candidates may reply on time. Mailing the questionnaire is also redundant when it comes to senior positions. The most efficient and dependable method is to ask all the questions over the phone. Display copies of the questionnaire around the space from which your HR representatives operate. Let them keep copies of it on their desk so they could use it as a checklist. As long as your recruiters follow the method diligently, the number of your relocation fallouts will go down. Again, this is one of the many tips of keeping relocation fallout rates in check.

Feel free to share any additions you’d like to make, via the comments section below. We’re all ears for suggestions and feedback.

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