From business plans to work culture, Indian start-ups have done most things very different from traditional organizations. They do it different for their startup hiring too.

To build such exceptional organizations, exceptional people are hired. Most of these business visionaries look past the usual qualities. They now look beyond capabilities, experience, or accomplishment at past employments. Like their surprising designations and strange working environments, these business visionaries also hire in a distinctive way—no more “where do you see yourself in 10 years?” or “what is your greatest shortcoming?” Rather, they get some information about petrol utilization, losing verbal confrontations, and horoscopes.

“When do you decide to let go a fellow team member?”, asks Vijay Shekhar Sharma

Vijay Shekhar Sharma, CEO and founder of mobile wallets startup Paytm, says that a candidate’s basic leadership expertise is vital. His most important question to an interviewee is: “When do you know it’s time to give up on a fellow team member and how do you reach to that decision?” Sharma finds this to be one of the most difficult question to answer and it tells quite a lot about the approach a candidate takes in difficult situations.

“Why are you conversing with us today?”, asks Richa Kar

For Richa Kar, founder and CEO of online lingerie retail startup Zivame, it is important to understand the motivation behind a candidate’s decision to work at her organization.

Kar thinks that while you are building not just a company but a market, it is important to have a team of people who believe in the vision of the founders and work towards it with the same enthusiasm as the founders work.

“Do you believe in destiny or free will?”, Paras Chopra

For Paras Chopra, founder and CEO of Wingify, a Delhi-based enterprise software startup, it is important that his employees acknowledge the responsibilities they hold for their activities. The question he likes to ask to an interviewee is: “Do you believe in horoscopes?” The following question is: “Do you think we have free will?

Chopra believes that a company’s progress or failure is the result of the actions of it’s employees. Chopra has managed to keep his 7 year old startup bootstrapped in spite of the start-up boom all over India. Chopra prefers people who display a higher sense of responsibility and judiciousness when taking important business decisions. He avoids people who give it up to destiny or blame competition for the failures.

“Sell me the water bottle”, says Rajiv Srivatsa

Rajiv Srivatsa, COO of online furniture retail startup Urban Ladder, asks the age old interview challenge of selling him a pen or water bottle. “It helps me test their level of empathy,” said Rajiv.

It tells a lot about a candidate’s creativity, presence of mind, and ability to understand customers.

“How much petrol gets consumed on the road outside our office?”, asks Nishant Singh

Nishant Singh, CEO and founder of customer relationship management startup CRMnext, throws up similar brain-teaser. Not to judge on the answer, but the approach a candidate takes.

Nishant says that once you have figured out that the candidate has the domain and technology knowledge, all that is left is to judge the attitude and problem solving capabilities. Many people don’t even try before they give up. That tells a lot about the candidate.

“Tell me about the time when you failed.”, asks Amit Jain

Earlier Amit Jain, co-founder and CEO of CarDekho, used to focus on candidates’ qualifications and past work experience, but as the company is growing it is difficult for him to keep a check on the culture that is thriving in his comapny. It is important for Amit now that people speak the same language as his because he cannot keep 3000 people on the same page all by himself.

Amit asks candidates to tell about their failures. It is not important for him to learn about their failures but he wants to check if the candidate is humble enough to realize what went wrong. According to Jain, Carekho now employs at least 50 failed entrepreneurs.

“When was the last time you were wrong during a debate?”, asks Bipin Preet Singh

Bipin Preet Singh, CEO of mobile wallet startup MobiKwik, tries to find whether the candidate is comfortable to accept that they were wrong. It tells a lot about how open-minded and easy to work with the candidate is.

“Explain crowdfunding to me like I’m a six-year-old.”, asks Varun Sheth

Crowdfunding is relatively new to India. So when Varun Sheth, co-founder and CEO of crowdfunding platform Ketto, is hiring a new employee, he tries to understand how well the candidate understands the sector. It additionally tells me about how well is the person at communication. The questions may sound simple, but according to Varun, answering them is far more difficult.

What do you think? Which is that question that will help you hire the right candidate for your organization?

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