How Startups Can Build a Strong Team by Hiring Interns

Hiring interns is the most efficient way of recruiting and evaluating potential employees

By Sarvesh Agrawal


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The Indian startup ecosystem has seen a significant boom in the last decade and is on its way to becoming one of the top 3 largest startup ecosystems in the world. Aspiring to create the next big thing, ~1500 new startups (Source: Nasscom Report 2018) are founded every year in India; however, only 10per cent of them manage to thrive.

Now, the immediate concern is why do the remaining 90per cent fail. Various analyses have been done to understand the same and a series of reasons have been found for the same, ranging from the absence of market demand and limited funds to not being able to build the right team. Yes, you read it right! Many startups fail because they don't have a strong team.

Why do Startups Fail to Build a Strong Team?

As per an analysis conducted by CB Insights (Source), 23per cent of the startups does not succeed because they fail to build the right team. Now, what could be the reason for this? Well, the major reason is that startups, especially the ones not having a structured recruitment system, often end up hiring wrong fits or fail to hire the right candidate at all.

The usual process followed is looking at the candidates' achievements and prior work experience. However, hiring is a lot more than just finding a person with the right competence for the job; it is about finding the perfect fit for your organisation. Also sometimes, being short on finances, startups have to cut down on hiring expenses which sometimes makes it difficult to hire the right people for the job as they can't afford to pay the expected salary. Over the years, a lot of startups have scaled up by hiring interns.

How Could Hiring Interns Help?

It is difficult for a recruiter to recognise the right fit for the team through a few assignments and interviews. Here, the ideal approach would be to hire candidates as interns on a short-term basis; this would give you enough time to mentor them, observe their work and their will or perseverance to get things done and to understand if they are able to collaborate with the team and their suitability for the work environment. Running an internship programme lets you evaluate a candidate's performance thoroughly and helps you in making an informed decision while onboarding a permanent team member.

It also enables you to judge if they fit in the fast-paced and dynamic environment of your startup and how well do they handle work pressure. Apart from this, an internship period gives you and the interns enough time to determine if they are able to work in synchronisation with your existing team since even one member's inability to work along with others, could bring down the whole team's workflow and would result in inevitable failure.

While you are building your first team, you want to hire people who are excellent in their respective fields, and apprehensions regarding hiring interns are certain to be there. Though it might seem like a lot of work to mentor the interns, if trained well, they could prove to be an asset to your company and become an essential and strong part of your team.

What's The Best Thing About Hiring Interns?

Interns are usually either college students or fresh graduates who are excited to start their career journey, work on something disruptive, and are always eager to learn, which makes them the perfect fit for a startup. They have a zeal to learn and excited to prove their worth. In addition to this, interns bring a fresh perspective to the problems and new ideas to solve them. For instance, if you are planning a new social media marketing strategy, students being highly active on social media would be able to understand the latest trends better and assist with the planning and execution in an effective way.

Sarvesh Agrawal

Founder & CEO, Internshala

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