Hiring for start-ups | SupportBiz

Human Resources

Hiring for start-ups

The start-up ecosystem in India is fast developing, though it is in a nascent stage, as more and more enterprising entrepreneurs are taking the plunge. With the start-up ecosystem falling in place, the younger generation is looking at various options in entrepreneurship. This augurs well for India, as this will create more jobs and add to the economy.

The onus of job creation for millions and millions of Indians will be shared by home-grown giants, MNCs, and the new breed of start-ups. This presents with it a myriad set of opportunities as well as challenges. The biggest challenge is that of hiring employees and individuals suited to work in the dynamic and ever-changing environment of a typical start-up. It is crucial to hire the right talent and, more importantly, the right HR personnel, who buys into the ethos of the start-up and is able to recruit the best talent. In most start-ups, the entrepreneur himself/herself dons this role.

The HR personnel need to understand that the skill sets, attitude, temperament and qualities for a person joining a start-up are very different from a person joining a large firm. Unlike a structured work pattern in a big firm, the start-up will have many teething issues, and both the employer and the employee have to be prepared for this. As the start-up has to be nurtured till it comes to maturity, both the employer and the employee have to work hard, irrespective of time, finance and other constraints.

An employee who is typically used to a stable 9 to 5 existence, with a red carpet being laid out from the day he joins, would ideally be weeded out by the HR head of a start-up. With most of such employees having an expectation of being continuously spoon-fed by their superiors, there is hardly any chance of creativity growing and leadership traits getting fostered. It is difficult for such employees to pursue a career in a start-up, as it might topple their pre-conditioned mindset of uniformity and structure. There are no standardized or ‘written-in-stone’ selection criteria for hiring for a start-up, hence the HR personnel has to use a lot of tact, gut feeling and foresight while doing so.

Historically, entrepreneurs are a rare breed of people who tend to chart their own destiny and avoid following the herd mentality. Their vision and goals need to percolate to each and every member of the organization; hence a start-up ecosystem breeds a very different culture and mindset among its employees. The ones who adapt to it are not necessarily the top performers or the front-runners of an organization, but those who imbibe the subtle nuances of leadership, innovation, planning, organizing, being a team player, and networking. The intensity of these attributes might fluctuate from one organization to another; however, start-ups breed future entrepreneurs who have a latent need and desire to create, innovate, and think of ideas. For instance, many of those who had joined start-ups early on in their career, be it a Wipro or an Infosys, have started their own successful enterprises across India and abroad.

The start-up ecosystem is unlike any other ecosystem. It strives in uncertainty, and derives its value and meaning in doing things differently and innovatively. Hence, while it is a tough task to hire people for start-ups, it is also very easy to get swayed by the number of people showing an interest in joining them, especially for those looking at it as a stop-gap option to working with a bigger organization. Unlike in a big organization, the value and importance laid on each and every employee in a start-up is significantly higher, and a high level of attrition or fall-out can be disastrous to the company. Therefore, selection criteria in a start-up should also look at those employees who will show a long – term commitment to stay with the organization, without being bound by a contract.


A former management consultant at Infosys BPO, Yeshasvini Ramaswamy has built her expertise in people management areas such as People Structuring and Audits, to help organizations track their ROI on Human Capital. Over the years, she has trained around 2700 people in areas pertaining to leadership principles.  She has been instrumental in building robust recruitment processes, which has hired over 3500 employees. She has also managed migrations "Build Operate Transfer" models from USA, Australia and England. 

A visiting faculty at IIM-B and other reputed Schools, she has been widely quoted in press. She was a member of the CII – Women’s Business Leaders Forum (WBLF). She is currently assisting Nasscom in its Diversity Initiatives. A certified Psychometric Analyst from Thomas International, UK, she has obtained certification in the Basics of People Capability Maturity Model® (P-CMM) V 2.0 from Carnegie Melon University, USA. 

She has been recognized as an “emerging future world leader” by GIFT an initiative supported by the Clinton Global initiative. She is currently the Managing Director of e2e People Practices, Management Committee Member of the Computer Society of India – BC, Chairperson CHRP, Anchors the School For Leadership Excellence (the only emerging school for CEOs in India) and Directs AABC (An initiative started by Dr. Shashi Tharoor) @ Tiruvananthapuram, Kerala, India.