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4 Basic Guidelines for Hiring the First Set of Employees Looking for candidates with long resumes is not pragmatic for a new business

By Baishali Mukherjee

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Hiring is a major component of any business. The process is often expensive and time-consuming – which is why it is important to do it right the very first time. But small businesses find it difficult to understand where to start; especially those who do not have HR teams to support.

When hiring the first set of employees, one should exercise caution. It is expensive to execute an employee's salary and other perks. And fledgling businesses can hardly afford to hire employees who are not willing to work full-time. Sacking a resource leads to not only laying-off charges, sometimes even litigation fees. What follows is investing further time and resources in filling the gap.

The fundamental queries that start-ups struggle with include who are the best fits, the time they should start hiring and where to find suitable profiles.

Following is a summary of some basics to help you rope in the best talents, interview like a veteran HR, and make the right decision –

What Positions to Fill First?

This will vary from one company to another and will be decided according to industry, location and the expertise of the entrepreneurs. Founders should zero down their hiring strategy to a selected set of resources who can get their product or service to market.

"High-flying managers are not necessary at the initial stage. One can wait for them till the business has experienced some major growth. "One doesn't need a Vice President for the marketing or sales department before they come up with a product. In tech start-ups, positions like acting chief executive officers and chief technology officers generally meet the requirements," shared Rituparna Chakraborty, Co-Founder & EVP, TeamLease Services Ltd.

Outsourcing and Appointing Freelancers

Serious thoughts should also be spared on outsourcing components like accounting, manufacturing, website design, marketing and public relations or getting them done by hiring freelancers.

"Factors like the nature of the task which requires hiring is important to consider while deciding on appointing an employee or outsourcing it. If it is a core business area and if the job is needed on a regular basis, hiring a full-time resource is sensible," recommended Chakraborty. It has been seen that vendors do possess better understanding and knowledge than the startups.

Whom to Hire

Flexible candidates accustomed to smaller work-environments are best suited. If one is lucky, one can rope in the perfect talent who operates with a sense of self-sufficiency and doesn't need hand-holding.

Looking for candidates with long resumes is not pragmatic for a new business. "Those who have worked in big companies where there are rules, regulations and processes to do everything, get easily annoyed in a start-up eco-system. In small organizations, the idea of designated work-assignments is a myth and often, everyone needs to do everything," warned Anuj Gupta, CEO and Founder, Adda52.

However being less officious is considered an advantage by some as they can afford more space in the work-area than they can in large organisations. In a typical start-up system, the top management enjoys a much closer relationship with the workforce and are often seen working together as a family. Another prospective appeal is the opportunity for high professional and individual growth.

How to Hire

Networking can work wonders for start-ups when it comes to locate talents. Referrals from friends and acquaintances, colleagues and advisers are highly recommended. Any such recommendation takes care of your employee selection process. Start-ups characteristically find their first set of workforce this way.

"In case of an employee recommending someone, chances are that the candidate will fit in well as he will come aware of the company culture. Also, employees will recommend someone only if they consider the candidate competent, to avoid sullying their own reputation. Go for employee referrals - it's effortless, and economical," Debaditya Chowdhury, Founder, Chowman – a chain of Chinese restaurants.

However, sooner or later the internal network gets exhausted and businesses then need to mull over online job portals. Big ones provide huge options but small organisations do not have the time or resources to scrutinise them. Local and relatively smaller sites can narrow your search extensively. Popular blogs, websites, local newspapers, trade publications, employment agencies and headhunters can also be assessed.

Baishali Mukherjee

Former Freelancer

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