It’s no easy task to start a company. Having done it once earlier, i thought it might be simpler.
But No! Every time it’s different.
We always knew it, but now we realise it!
As i am writing this; We - i.e. Amjad + Jaljeet have setup our very own inbound marketing agency - Synclarity.
We have been working on and off for quite some time over various projects. Early last year 2017 - I was enjoying my sabbatical after running an animation studio for 7 years. It is when Amjad started pursuing me with the idea of starting something together. We have been discussing for almost years now of how we can work together. But for some or the other reason it almost never fell in place.
This time round, things were going the same way. Till one day, when Amjad decides to pick up the phone and calls me around 8 am (ungodly hour for me at the time).
Me : Hello?
Amjad: Dude, let’s cut the crap. You - In or Out?
Me: Thinking…… Hesitating to commit and trying to beat around the bush.
Amjad: Tell me.
Me: Hmmm - In! (Decisions are usually simpler to take than we tend to think of them.)
This happened somewhere in July.
Post this - i had to wind some of the things i was working on at the time. And slowly from part-time we started working full time on Synclarity from Sept 2017.
One of the first tasks that we took up was Hiring. What was initially thought off as a process that would roughly take 1-2 months at the max. Turned out to be an never-ending endeavour that kept on getting complex as we dived deep into the mix.
Both of us have been patient with all that was happening. But beyond a point - patience also becomes pointless. And this is exactly, where we were with Hiring.
For a growing organisation, every day is crucial but even more crucial are the days one doesn’t make money. Money earned is directly proportional to the work done by the company. In other words - No Employees = No work = No money
Thanks to the goodwill that we hold in the market, we didn’t find work. But work found us. Now - hiring became more important.
There are other ways of combating the situation say - outsourcing - yes! We have been doing that all our lives. But at some point one has to draw the line and take the leap to build their own team. And that’s where we were, trying to build our own team.
Following are some points that will help you with your hiring process -
These need to be simple, direct and should really nail the details of the kind of candidate you are looking for. Keep them as clear, transparent and detailed as much as possible. We started off with a generic format but over a period of time really made it our own.
Our current format is simple and direct one pager.
- Designation | Location | Years of Experience
- The Role - Brief Description
- Essential Job Duties + Skills
Just posting a Job description is not enough. You will have to even explain it to the hiring agencies, the candidates. People don’t like to read. Don’t think that just because you have listed down the job description - candidates will read it and then make the decision that they are not the right fit. People always try to bullshit their way in. Catch them quick and drop them.
Connect with 2 / 3 agencies and quickly start judging them based on the kind of profiles they are providing. Be proactive and keep at it - constantly giving them a review of what you think of their work. Explain the kind of candidate you want. Also really nail in the numbers also.
Most notable of the hiring agencies we worked with is Talentstack - India’s fastest growing recruiting firm. Amjad contacted them over linkedin. Next day we had a quick telephonic round. Post which - we sent in our requirements and they proactively started working on the roles. Throughout our review process, they were quite patient and diligent. Based on our comments they quickly sorted out the profiles and we could close in on one of the crucial positions within a period of 2 weeks. Atif Khatri (Co-founder of Talentstack), has been more than helpful right from the start and has made sure we get the right candidates.
Bottomline - Agencies will work for you - if you work for yourself.
Never work with Friends
So friends are these crazy bunch that want to help you grow but at the same time, they can be taking you for granted. Don’t read into it, if they don’t deliver on their words. Be non-judgmental in terms of the relationship but when it comes to work - Judge and choose the best for your business.
Work with Friends
I know, i know - i am contradicting the previous point. Here’s what this means, there are friends who might be able to help you. Don’t hesitate just push them to do something that could help you get one step closer. I pushed one of my friends who was into hiring to help me with finding talent for synclarity. It was tough but we got 2 good team members out of it.
Hiring process is just 2 words but in terms of steps it’s 8 steps in all.
- Sourcing Talent | Reviewing profiles
- Sorting 1st level of Profiles
- Telephonic Interview | Reviewing 2nd Level
- In-person Interview | Review 3rd Level
- Tech Round | Review 4th Level
- Telephonic Round | Skype call
- Offer Letter
Going through these steps can really be exhausting. At times, you might feel stuck in a certain place for more than a few days. A number of thoughts can cross during this stage of limbo.
How do you go through it?
Talk to your stakeholders. Review the process - keep at it. Make changes and test what works and what doesn’t.
In our case the tech round was one such key area. We started off by giving someone a test to perform at home. And reviewing their work and basing our decision on that. This leaves out a blank when it comes to the candidate being the right culture fit for the company.
Noticing this, we started with the concept of asking the interviewee to come over and work with us at our workspace for a day or two.
Some candidates hesitated. But the ones that went through with this exercise were quite delighted with the process. This is because, it gave them an insight of how synclarity works and also meet the team and interact with them. This quickly became a must do - in terms of the process. It leaves nothing to doubt. And gives you the clarity that is required to make the hire.
What did we learn
- Hire team members, not employees.
- Think Company Culture.
- Hire Type A personalities - who want to do things.
- Hire Fast as it will take time.
- Hiring is a constant process and not a process that you do once and be done with it.
- Go with youlr gut feeling. If you ain’t feeling it - don’t spend time.
Things will fall apart
There have been cases wherein we have given out offer letters but the talent backed out. In other cases, the candidate and our offers didn't match up leading to dropping out. And this is fact of life.
Remember Murphy’s Law - "Anything that can go wrong will go wrong".