Top management recruiting

Businessweek has a nice refresher on recruiting top management. While it primarily seems to be written for large companies, the lessons are equally relevant to startups. Of course, there are some additional points one needs to keep in mind when recruiting for startups:

  • Sell a personal vision – not just of where the company wants to be, but also why the prospective candidate should get involved. Money? Significance? Career advancement? Broad-skilling?
  • Build credibility – let others speak for you. Customers? Investors? Advisors?
  • Prepare well – have a detailed view on why you need this person – is he going to feel overqualified once he comes in?
  • Hire the best – this is a motherhood statement, but one which cant be emphasized enough, especially for startups.

Any others that have been useful in your experience?

13 Responses to “Top management recruiting”

  1. Anjali Mullatti says:

    Ranjit,
    We’re recruiting a leadership team for our startup. Lots of what you’ve said in your mail struck a chord, and I’d like to talk.
    CAn you let me know your numbers and the name of your firm?
    Regards,
    Anjali Mullatti

  2. Startups can’t adopt horses for courses policy due to budget constraints. Ideal person in this scenerio is one who can do gamut of things, if not perfectly then somewhere close to it.Startups generally look for “Jack of all trades and master of some!(not none)”

  3. Ranjit Jatar says:

    I believe the “psyche DNA” of the person being hired in a start -up is critical apart from the skill set for which he is being hired. The “psyche DNA of the person being hired has to mirror the Founders DNA. And thats where there is a problem –as Bombay Currys RYK has rightly pointed out above. In an early bird venture, why should an “employee” join unless it is led by a Compensation offer that is well benched to what he can get from the market?

    I have experience in recruiting for a start-up client early this year. The VP Tech who joined them had an entreprenuers DNA. This is what my client offerred him –We insisted that anyone joining as a founder-employee has to BUY stock. The technologist who joined did invest after a due diligence exercise. He did it because after extensive rounds with the Recruiter( ie myself), with the Founders ,with Advisors and by joining into various rounds of business plan discussions, he believed in the idea and the people. His investment was about Rs 2 Lacs — not a small sum but not significantly large too in comparison to Founders equity. And , like the Founders, he got to see a large bonus in the best case scenario 18 months down the line. However unlike the Founders, he got a base salary …though below market levels (the Founders reserved zero salary for themselves till threshold profitability was reached). This “employee” would not have joined given the condition of investment had the Founders not gone out of the way to engage with the person and allow him to do a due diligence with as much intensity as was being done by the Founders on the persons being shortlisted.

    The point I am making is that it is ideal if an “employee” aquisition by a start up is structured to make the employee believe he is a founder in all aspects — the highest being risk of capital loss however small that may be in absolute amounts –including participating in the upsides.

    Completely agree with Alok too that passion itself is not enough. It is a prerequisite, but not enough. The very best skill set is needed in early bird stage employees just as all founders need to have their complimentary skill sets in full action.

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