Start-up and Recruitment Firms

Start-ups have been springing up all around since many years now. As we have discussed in one of our earlier articles, it is actually a good idea for start-ups to take the assistance of a recruitment firm when it comes to hiring.

Times have changed a little, and now more candidates might be ready, even enthusiastic, to work for start-ups, especially the millennials and the Gen-z who are (in)famous for jumping jobs, looking for better opportunities. They want purpose and meaning, and not just a stable job.

Let us see how recruitment firms can further help start-ups when it comes to hiring.

Helps in establishing the credibility of the start-up:

Start-ups are generally in the process of creating their ‘brands’ as we have discussed in the earlier article. A ‘reputation’ is still a work-in-progress thing. A recruitment firm, with its proper process, right from the initial job-posting, to the client-network that it taps into, will help the start-up to establish credibility.

Despite the progressive attitudes, it is still tricky for many start-ups to be taken seriously. A start-up is much more likely to be taken seriously when it is backed by the strong hiring process of a recruitment firm, which is well-established and has a client network that trusts its headhunting.

Helps in identifying the start-up’s place in the market:

A start-up is an adventure. It is a product of drive, passion and dedication to be a changemaker. There is the motivation to do whatever it takes. But things can get tricky when one tries to figure out: what exactly does one need to do?

You might work 16 hours a day and still not generate the revenue you want.

You might network with a hundred people, pitch in your brand and perhaps get only one application.

A recruitment firm on the other hand, with its understanding of the market and where your start-up stands within that market, and what kind of talent would be attracted the most to your brand, can get you multiple applications with its one job posting.

Moreover, experienced recruiters have the wisdom of what the competition looks like, and what candidates are looking for, and they can guide the start-ups accordingly in tweaking job profiles and managing their expectations.

Recruitment firms can add the touch of smart work to that hard work.

Helps in understanding the smaller details:

Running a start-up comes with its own legalities and technicalities. Recruiting for a start-up too comes with its own legalities and technicalities.

For example, the various labour laws that are governed by particular countries, laws about hiring if you plan to hire international employees, laws about contracts, laws that govern full-time and part-time employees and so on. A recruitment firm can help the start-up in ensuring that these legalities and technicalities are being followed and complied with.

The importance of hiring the right people:

It is important, correction, more important for the start-ups to hire the right people. Bigger brands and companies have the advantage of higher scale operation and more manpower. This means that the company will function fairly well even with a few vacancies if someone decides to leave suddenly. There will not be any major dent on the overall functioning of the company. The workload will also be distributed in a just manner.

A start-up on the other hand, is much more volatile, and chances are, the workload may fall on a few individuals in case someone leaves. The smaller-scaled operations also mean that a few disruptions about roles and functions here and there might leave the start-up in shambles.

With such a glaring contrast, it is definitely important that the start-up hires the right people who will help in driving their mission forward and who would help in running it well. This is why a recruitment firm, that understands their brand, requirements and expectations would help the start-up in saving much time, resources and money that might go in the costly trial-and-errors of hiring the wrong people.

A start-up may decide to hire a recruitment firm, or an individual consultant. In any case, following a structured recruitment process is likely to help save up time, money and resources. It is likely to help the start-up channelise their labour smartly into more useful avenues. The recruiters will do the job of establishing their credibility, understanding their brand and tapping into the relevant market. The start-up can continue to dream and work on that dream.

Prepare yourself for- ‘Do you have Any Questions for Us?’

As a candidate, have you ever wondered what sort of questions to ask the HR or the talent acquisition team at the company you have an interview with? We have talked about something similar in one of our earlier articles, so let us delve a bit deeper into this. These questions will also help you as a candidate to understand where the firm or company that is hiring stands in terms of what it expects from you, and it will also give you an insight how the company functions.

So, what are the kind of questions the candidate can ask, and the HR should be prepared about? What sort of questions can you ask when they say ‘Do you have any questions for us?’ Note that usually, only two or three questions are entertained, so it is a good idea to pick on what matters to you the most, and think about your questions accordingly.

Questions like:

What is the definition of success according to this company?

What could be my trajectory in this company?

What is expected from me in the coming months/next six months/a year from now?

Such questions can help one understand the expectations the company has from you in the long run. It will also help you understand what are the parameters of success here: for example, based on the answer, you can get an idea if the company measures success through sales, or networking, or by the number of hours clocked in, or project by project basis and so on.

Understanding the parameters can also help one understand what the path to future promotions looks like. This leads us to the next point.

Questions like:

In what ways is this role important for the growth of the company?

What are some challenges related to the role?

Asking a very direct question like ‘Why are you hiring for this role?’ might come across as a little rude and blunt. Instead, the questions mentioned here might help you get more detailed answers from the HR. The answers to these questions are likely to help you get an idea about the big picture as well as the day to day to issues surrounding the role. For example, is there a particular reason why this position is open, or if there’s a peculiar challenge that makes the role demanding in a certain way. This can be a great step towards actually getting prepared for the role!

But hey, the job isn’t just about the work. One might also want to get a sense of the work environment and this leads us to the next point. While it might be tempting to ask the questions about work culture and environment, there is something about those questions that could scream as ‘Red Flag!’ to the HR and it is necessary to use your observations instead of directly asking them. Read on.

Red Flag Questions to Not Ask:

What matters to the people who work here?

What do people like about working here?

Instead of asking the HR directly, keep these questions in your mind, and try to see what is it about the place that the people are enjoying. Moving through the office keeping these questions in mind can help you get a hint of the work- ethic company values, and what kind of a work environment does the company offer. A look at the office-workers’ overall mood, any announcement boards, decorations, how welcoming the desks look, and how relaxed or stressed the people are can give you answers to these questions without directly asking.

As articles by SparkHire and SHRM put it, asking certain questions can help the HR understand that you as a candidate are interested in this job, that you are serious about it. The right questions, when asked, the right things when observed, and certain ‘wrong’ questions when not asked, can help you to understand what it truly means to work at this new place that you are planning to be a part of.

Our Journey of 35 Years

It is September, and along with the festivities of the GOD of auspicious events, a faint tune of the old song ‘Come September’ lingers around. The season of Ganpati is all about new beginnings and blessings.

For us, at United HR Solutions Pvt Ltd, it is the season of gratitude and nostalgia. Why? Because September is our birthday month!

Yes! On 5th September, 35 years ago, we started from a proprietorship concern, called United Consultants, run by a father-daughter duo. From the days when the concept of a recruitment consultancy was new in the vocabulary of the city of Ahmedabad, we have come a long way. This miniscule two-member team grew up to be a franchise network of 10 branches around the country. We transformed ourselves into a corporate structure soon, becoming United Placement Pvt ltd, and later to United HR Solutions Pvt ltd.

What was our Vision? We all had a common Vision with a Mission of Bringing people together with a Human Touch. Since the inception of United HR Solutions, we have kept the Rotary four-way test in mind, especially the bit which asks one to ponder: Is it Fair to All Concerned?

It has been our mission to ensure fairness in dealing with our clients and candidates. Openness about the process and the communication, taking ownership of the assignment to ensure that we understood the needs of the clients and the candidates, alike. We have always stood TALL for our ethics and work culture. We believe in placing the right people at right places, in the right way.

How have we spread our wings, and where has the light of our vision taken our clients and candidates? The continent of Africa had always been our starting point and continues to be the core of our journey. We continue to explore newer territories, and have shown the jyot, the Torch, to Indian professionals in 30+ countries so far. Many of our candidates thus placed have grown in their careers to ranks of GM/CEO’s. We are Proud to call these GMs and CEOs as some of our Regular Clientele.

We continue to spread the light within the Indian recruitment scenario in various hues and shades. Having tasted the work cultures of multinationals like General Motors, General Electric by doing their Turnkey staffing, we moved on to  key role placements in companies in almost every industry. Thanks to our Baroda branch, we have also tested waters in Temp staffing and excelled in Process/ speciality chemical industry recruitments.

In our 35-year-old journey, our strength has been our people. As the name UNITED suggests, they have remained United with us, some of them since the early years of inception. We are filled with a new wave of nostalgia as we realise, we also have people associated with us for close to 20 to 25+ years.

We value their association and are proud of their accomplishments. It’s after all the TEAM which makes the COMPANY, as TOGETHER WE ACHIEVE MORE.

Money v/s Learning: What should it be, Fresher?

In our earlier article, we talked about the pros of hiring a candidate with limited or no experience. To summarise it briefly, hiring such a candidate with limited or no experience is likely to bring in new perspectives and ideas to the team. They also bring in opportunities for mentorship, along with their eagerness to learn and prove themselves. Moreover, it is also less expensive overall to hire a candidate with limited or no experience. As mentioned in the earlier article, ‘a candidate with more experience will demand more salary, because they will have the credentials to do so and naturally, the cost of hiring them would be more. Whereas someone with less or no experience would be ‘motivated by finding a job in the first place, and they might actually not demand a high salary. Their motivation is to learn and gain experience; the motivation of an experienced candidate is to get a better job, a better pay.’

Let us change our point of view here; let us think from the perspective of a candidate.

Is learning and gaining experience always the only motivation? Should it be the only motivation? Is money really not, or should not be that important to a candidate with limited or no experience? As a candidate, have you found yourself wondering how important should the role of money be in your job search?

Like most things in life, the context, the situation and individual case matter. Let us delve a little into this: how important should money be to you as a candidate with little or no experience?

Peer Pressure:

Often times, recruiters have heard candidates ask for a certain salary simply based on what they have heard their friends might be earning. While it is understandable that peer pressure, a certain competition with people of similar age groups might lead one to expect a certain salary, the question one can instead ask is:

At this point in my career, is the learning, the skillset-building, is the experience more important or the money? Many a times, a peer who has landed a cushy job with a fancy designation ends up earning a lot, but not learning so much. In the long run, their resumes might not show that many improvements when it comes to learning and skill-set. If you are someone who is mostly looking for learning and experience, giving too much importance to money might not be the best way to exercise your choice.

This is not to say that you should reject a cushy well-paid job if it comes your way! Read on.

Case by Case:

Instead of thinking in terms of comparison, it is best to take things case by case, where factors such as location, overall living expenses, immediate concerns are considered. There are some people who might need a certain amount of salary because they might be living away from their homes, and hence a significant portion of their salaries might go into accommodation, travel expenses and other expenses needed to run a household all by yourself. Learning and skill-set building is one factor but setting up a base on your own at a new location is another thing. Are you someone like this? Or are you someone who doesn’t have to keep these things in mind? It is a good idea to think about these case-by-case factors when it comes to your decision about how important is money to you.

There are also people who might be the sole earners of their family, and for them too, more salary becomes something that ends up taking higher priority.

It is important to think about one’s own life situation and that of their peers and colleagues before deciding on how important or not important is money for them, especially if you are someone who is just starting out, or are starting out afresh.

Finally, it is natural to want the best of both worlds– we want to learn more, gain skills AND we want to earn more and gain some financial cushioning. It is possible that interviewers might ask a question that whether money is important or learning. Most of us as candidates might end up giving roundabout answers, unable to say anything concrete.

A fairly ideal example of answering this question by an article on the website CollegeGrad sums it up well:

“Yes, money is important to me, since it’s both a measure of my value and it helps me to take care of the personal needs in my life. But the opportunities for growth and advancement which would be offered to me are even more important to me than money as I grow and succeed in the role. Can you give me some examples of how others in this role have advanced in their careers over time?”

 For the ones, who have the privilege to think about these choices, it is best to think about the personal answer in the long-term: once enough learning and skill-sets have been achieved, it is but natural that more money will follow. Learning leads to opening up of new avenues for one’s career development, inevitably leading to higher salaries. If learning is important to you, money will automatically follow.

Offices of India @ 75

The Indian Independence Day is right around the corner. It is the Amrit Mahotsav this time- we are celebrating 75 years of independence! As we look back, we realise that after all these years of churning, the Amrit seems to have finally come out as we get the sense of an ever-evolving sense of a nation and self.

Multiple themes have been declared this time around by the government- Ideas @ 75, which aims to bring into focus key concepts and ideas that have formed the core mosaic for us and will continue to guide us even twenty-five years from now. Achievements @ 75 aims to bring into focus our legacy, efforts and contributions. Actions @ 75 emphasises the actions being taken to put policies into implementation. Resolves @ 75 reminds us about our individual and collective resolves that will help us further our commitment to better our motherland.

Despite the 75 years mark, there are still times when we glorify western ideas of the office life, often disregarding our own merits and unique perspectives. In the light of the spirit of pride and emancipation of mental shackles, let us have a look at some of the ideas, achievements, actions and resolves within the Indian office as we step into the Amrit Mahotsav.

Ideas @ 75:

India has always been a blend of tradition and modernity. And it is about time we think of this idea as a source of pride. A little anecdote from an old magazine comes to mind: imagine a boardroom with quiet murmurs and occasional spatter of words that one can hear at a workplace. It’s a pleasantly lit room. Suddenly one hears the sound of ‘payals’ or anklets. Does it feel like an interruption?

It certainly isn’t. It is a well-accepted normalcy in our country, and it is thanks to our understanding that tradition and modernity aren’t necessarily mutually exclusive.

This blend suggests something more. Where there are international struggles of sexism against women at workplace, where women feel like they are in a ‘masculine’ work environment, the normalcy of the twinkling anklets is more than just a pleasant sound- it encapsulates a pleasant idea of a workplace that has space for the ‘feminine.’

The rakhis on the hand, the leftover decorations for Christmas and Diwali on some of the office walls too are signs of blend of tradition and modernity.

The Indian way has always been about following the traditions, celebrating the festivals in harmony with the daily life, rather than seeing festivals and traditions as respites from the drudgery. Let us think of this idea that harmonises tradition and modernity with a sense of pride. There is no need to hide the celebratory spirit, nor any need to hide the diversity that stems from various points of view.

Achievements @ 75:

Many companies in western countries are trying hard to achieve ‘diversity’ within. Special Diversity and Inclusion officers are being appointed to ensure there is a diversity of voices and the cultural minorities do not have to face challenges because of their background. It is no less than an achievement for India that the diversity within our population has long been recognised and it is almost always taken for granted. And that it is reflected in our offices. Whether it is the diversity within age, education, language, cultural and religious background, the Indian way of interaction has always accepted diversity in others. It is so obvious and natural to us that most of us don’t even think of it as an achievement.

To think that such a diversity exists, where accents and dialects change every few kilometres, where regional and cultural influences on dressing styles are seen within the same city, and to still find everyone united- it is no mean feat. The famed unity in diversity of our country can be seen in our well-functioning offices, with staff members from multiple background.

Actions and Resolves @ 75:

As we acknowledge our unique harmony of tradition and modernity, our inherent diversity, we also need to acknowledge the existing problems. As we mentioned in one of our recently posted articles, the state of mental and physical well-being of employees in India needs serious consideration. We also need to see if we are giving a level-playing field to everyone, or if we are favouring our ‘contacts’, a.k.a, we need to ensure merit, and not nepotism is the guiding force for our choices. Dignity of labour, leave policies, overwork and burnout, instances of sexism etc are some universal issues to be solved. These issues need our action and resolve to ensure our future generations of employees and employers do not end up inheriting our problems. This is where we need to use our hindsight to improve our foresight. This is where we need to think beyond our own individual selves, keeping the present and future collective in mind. Miraculously, when we keep the collective benefit of the nation, the ‘desh hit’ above everything, ‘sarvopari’, the benefits will seep into our individual lives as well.

This Independence Day, let us look back and take pride in how far we have come. Let us take pride in our achievements, the gifts of our culture that translated into our offices. Let us acknowledge and resolve to take actions against that which needs to be improved, because by no means, the churning of the Amrit should stop.

Team UHR wishes everyone a very Happy Independence Day!