Through Founders Lens

Hiring In Early Stage Startups 

Setting up a startup and hiring in early stage startups can be challenging as it requires the businesses to find the proper funding at the various stages, from Seed to Growth and IPO. Alternatively, finding the right talent to fit their required roles can be challenging and competitive. In the early stages of their development, startups have difficulty attracting talent. So, to fuel their organizations with talent, startups and their hiring managers must rethink and revise their hiring strategies. Here, there are certain steps to follow while hiring for startups in the early stage.

As part of #ThroughFounder’sLens’ fifth episode, Arihant Jain and Ishwar Sundaraman shared their experiences while hiring experiences for early-stage startups. Arihant is the CEO of Wubba Lubba Dub Dub. It is one of the few marketing firms that truly understand the untapped potential and market-dedicated memers have created. The company describes itself as the ‘world’s fastest advancing meme company’. It has successfully blown up a niche market through numerous iconic meme-driven campaigns. In addition to OLA, Poco, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+ Hotstar, and Durex, the company has a diverse portfolio. Among the marketing goliaths, it has established itself as a serious competitor. 

As he puts it, Ishwar is a serial entrepreneur. He has started four companies in the last decade. Unsolved, his most recent venture, is almost one year old. In his words, the Unsolved.network is a platform for influencers to launch micro courses. He also founded Furdo, a startup that specializes in interior decoration. The Promont and Mahindra Lifespaces are just two clients he has worked with. But more importantly, he has turned profitable in two years.

Key Highlights of the Discussion 

We start by focusing on Arihant’s views on hiring for his startup in 2018 and his approach to building a team. He thinks that while hiring the core team, the first few teammates should be people he knows and from his network. Arihant talks about uploading a post announcing the decision to hire for a post for his new company and highlighting the information to friends and acquaintances. 

He adds that the initial workforce in the early stages normally comprised people he knew. He also used social media to raise awareness about hiring. Arihant Jain also confirmed that access to meme pages on social media always helped him to share his intention to hire with a global audience.

“However, we faced a problem finding individuals to fill higher management roles. It was difficult to find people who could lead sectors and departments. Moreover, it was difficult to onboard talent since candidates from the advertising sector were sceptical about joining an organization specializing in meme marketing”, Arihant said.  

What do Founders Look for In Suitable Candidates?  

On being questioned about what founders look out for in people before letting them into their ecosystems, Arihant claims they get along based on the shows they watch. According to him, one of the fundamental questions to ask a candidate is, “How do you consume pop culture?” or  “We need to know which YouTubers and comedians they are familiar with”, he reflected. He continued that Linguistic Abilities were, in the meantime, valued in organizations like theirs, in addition to the hard skills required to contribute to the organization in any capacity.

On the other hand, Ishwar Sundararaman believes that all employees have no one thing to look for. It is very role specific. “Our requirements and expectations change depending upon the capacity we are hiring the workforce for”, he continued. He went on to add that there was a demand in his company for problem solvers because, as an early stage startup, they had zillion problems across Marketing, Product and so on. 

“What we ideally want are people that can solve problems that come every day. They should also be able to learn rapidly. In simple terms, I prefer “I will learn it all” over “I know it all” in my employees”, he concludes his answer to the question. 

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