I recently met with Indian futurist Arjun Khanna — he’s had an interesting background representing the Indian presence of multi-nationals such as CBRE, A.T. Kearney, Hewit Associates and Mercer.
Heck, he was even Chief Happiness Officer of Bennetton Group in India.
I asked him for recruiting tips for businesses choosing to launch a new presence in India.
Below are some of his ideas. Enjoy!
1) Hire Senior First & Junior Later — Go after the senior guys first to help attract the younger folks – ensure you have the right leaders in place before you start building your team. We often see founders and SME hiring a bunch of young developers who get the job done, but often lack the experience to have an overall view of the product or solution being built. They function more reactively and build solutions to address immediate concerns.
2) Beware of “Packs” — Do not pick up a team (a “pack”) because it could really disrupt culture. – when you hire senior folks – they may encourage you to pick an entire team from their erstwhile company. This is a complete no-no as you would bring in culture from their erstwhile organization. Apart from that hiring a pack has its own set of challenges including tracking progress of the team, as each team member may cover the other.
(Note: Re: hiring packs, see Stripe Announced That Groups of 2 to 5 People Can Apply as a Team)
3) HR Follow-Through (Up) — Even after people confirm, you have to really follow up (techies have tons of opportunities and many HR people in India are not good at following through) – NO SHOWs by candidates are a way of life. It’s also beneficial to build a talent pipeline and have a back up plan. One would imagine this issue is less prevalent at senior levels, but you’d be surprised.
4) Only the Big & Profitable will Survive — Many startups in India are winding down because of cash crunches (investors are turning on the heat). They are asking tough questions: Where is the money? Where are sales? A number of eCommerce startups had played the valuation game, but a very competitive market has not helped. The market landscape has witnessed tough times and consolidation in industry has begun. Only the big and profitable will survive.
5) HackerRank — This is a coding platform where loads of coders are. Competitive Recruitment is the new norm where you let candidates battle it out for a given challenge or project. Competition platforms like HackerRank and Yooth.me help you hire for demonstrable results. They are far superior to any interview or competency test. You need teams that deliver results.
6) Evergreen Jobs — When you’re hiring 10 of the same job, you need awesome job descriptions to help you build a strong talent pipeline. It’s important to attract a large number of people when you hire in numbers. Ongig gives you that platform that engages candidates and makes them spend 500% more time on your career page than your ordinary text-dominated job descriptions.
(Note: Re: evergreen jobs, see Evergreen Jobs )
7) Know the Laws of the Lands — If the founder is not Indian, it’s advisable that they know the laws of lands – Laws in every country are different. India is a hotbed for Software talent, however it is very important for founders to understand the laws before they start hiring. It helps to have a local adviser who can assist them with tough questions. While talent investment may be relatively cheap compared to the US – laws like sexual harassment at the workplace, company law, and labor laws are important laws to know.
8) Hire Hometown Candidates — Hire locally. For instance, if your company is based in Bangalore you will have coders coming from all over but you might want to stick to people who live around Bangalore because a lot of people like to go back to their native place. India is a land of many diversities including cultural. While a number of metros are a melting pot for talent – it is a good idea to hire talent locally. Hire people who have been residing in the city or keen to come back to their hometown. Experience shows that the local team member is more tenured and engaged.
9) “Not-so-Great” Schools are Ok — Don’t be stuck on hiring just from the top schools in India (good coders come from not-so-great schools). Students from less known schools often work harder as they want to make a mark and prove their worth. Research shows that top students from lesser known schools perform far better than mediocre talent from well known schools.
10) What to do About Freshers? — For a startup, be careful not to hire too many Freshers because they learn at your experience and are likely to jump jobs (the average tenure for a programmer is 8 months to 2 years) (Freshers are better for larger companies that can train more) – Startups need to focus on what’s important – avoid hiring talent that will learn at your cost. You don’t want to be stuck trying to figure out the problems – you need the job done and experience counts.
11) Promise International Exposure — If you are an organization that has offices around the world with international opportunities – you must spell that out. You would attract good talent as international opportunities are considered good learning opportunities and may pique the interests of certain candidates.
12) Project Management — Ensure you have strong project management guidelines and principles laid out for your team. Using tools like Asana and Trello help keep virtual teams on track and organized.
About the Author — Rob is the Co-founder & CEO of Ongig which is on a mission to help you hire the best talent faster through the world’s best job descriptions. Ongig’s cloud-based solution includes dynamic microsites you can launch in any new city or country. Yelp, Autodesk, Verizon Digital, GoDaddy, Ten-X and BMC Software are among the early customers of the Ongig SaaS.