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December 06, 2012

Extreme Startup Hiring

I was recently a guest at the Insead "India Business Dialogue" event at Bangalore. The event aimed to provide Insead grads - who are naturally mostly employed at large corporations - on starting up, attracting venture capital and, if the entrepreneurial plunge is too much of a risky leap, getting hired by a startup.

If the grads thought getting hired by a startup sounded safer, they had anothing think coming. The last session (on joining a startup) had one representative each from a VC firm, a HR Services firm and a veteran entrepreneur. And here's a sample of what they had to say about startup hiring techniques:

The Entrepreneur: One of my friends makes sure to pour coffee on the candidate and takes a call based on how the candidate reacts.

The HR Person: We offer to send a cab for picking up the candidate. And we generally don't bother to. We - and out clients - like to see whether the candidate turns up late and cribs about the taxi or figures out an alternative to reach on time - including, if required, to hop into an autorickshaw.

The VC: The founder of one our investee companies does hiring interviews only between 1 am and 2 am.

The Bottom Line: If the candidate needs too much structure and cannot deal with ambiguity and uncertainity, he's not a good fit for a startup.

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