start a startup

This article has been written by Anuj Shah pursuing Diploma in Strategic HR for Startups and Emerging Industries and has been edited by Oishika Banerji (Team Lawsikho). 

This article has been published by Sneha Mahawar.​​ 


With companies growing aggressively in the last decade, hiring has evolved over a period of time. The current generation of entrepreneurs have given more importance to their teams, especially with respect to hiring in the first place. Having a proper matrix has always caught their attention and value addition in getting the right fit for the job has been a priority. Recent lockdown during the Covid-19 pandemic has also opened doors to remote work culture which has actually transformed the world into a global village for hiring remote talent. The model has been very successful except for a few challenges that need to be addressed. This article provides insight as to how remote talent must be recruited in India for the purpose of startups. 

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India – a solution for remote operations/setups

India as a country of 1.4 billion people is the most populous country of the world and a hotbed of talent. Diversity in culture spreads across the length and breadth of the country. Education is of top priority in India and people go to the extent of selling their valuables and ornaments, taking out loans with parents’ possessions to get degrees. The firm belief of getting prosperous through education holds high. Literacy in India is at 78% which translates to 1.1 billion literates. Hard work along with smart work is a culture in this country which has sprung from the socio-economic backgrounds and upbringing in most of the societies. English has become a language of choice and fluency in communication has been a major game changer in the past 2 decades. All these factors have influenced the country into the most sought-after destination for remote setups that Startups require to scale up rapidly. The availability of large pools of talent at a reasonable cost has been an icing on the cake.

The gig economy

As per NITI Aayog, the apex policy think tank, India has a workforce of 500 million and the world’s youngest population. Add to that, rapid urbanisation, adoption of smartphones and technology, availability of the Internet across the length and breadth of the country presents an Ideal solution for remote working. The government has presented some of the best measures to enable companies from various parts of the world to operate with their arrangements of getting work outsourced to India. Recent trends predict that there are a significant number of highly talented individuals looking for remote work which enables them to work from the comfort of their homes, be available for their parents and are looking for greener pastures in their homelands and smaller towns. Examples of gig workers include support roles in sales and marketing like presales, inside sales, digital marketing, customer support, finance and accounting, HR outsourcing right from employer branding, talent acquisition to policy framework, ESOPS, Learning and Development, Analytics, freelance writers and content developers, online tutors, digital marketing experts, web developers, cybersecurity experts, and many others. But the bigger shift we have witnessed is for the IT Industry where location of resources does not matter at the grassroots level until the desired work and results are obtained. So remote technology support both for Software and Hardware has been at the forefront of outsourcing to India where skilled talent is at its peak and growing at a phenomenal rate.

Women in workforce

There has been a big thrust in India on education for women in the 1990s and the number of graduates and postgraduates have grown very fast. The slogan that goes something like this “if a Man gets literate, one person gets literate, but when a Female gets literate, the family gets literate” has been doing the rounds for decades. Now when we compare the percentage of the working population of females in India it has been falling dramatically over the past decade. The simple reason being the culture where females need to take care of the house as well and raise children even in the scenario of them being more educated than their husbands. But with remote opportunities available, the resources need to be tapped where millions of women with college degrees would like to work from the comforts of their homes. 

For few skilled jobs which require routine tasks females have been found to be much better than their counterparts in delivering results. This presents startups with a unique blend of talent which comes at a cheaper cost with quality and scaling up is easy. Loyalty is also much better which is a big plus. I can vouch for the same being into recruitment for over 15 years now, I have personally witnessed that Women are better at many job roles based on Interview feedback and their availability in India for remote work is very high.

Startup culture

When we think of any startup, the funding that they have received is because they have presented a challenge in the present scenario that they are aiming to solve. This leads to different sets of demands and requirements from their teams. The workforce is expected to be part of delivering solutions by forming them in the 1st place. People need to be open to newer ideas, try them, even fail and take the onus of failure on themselves. They should not get dejected and keep working till the processes are streamlined and results are obtained. People should be aligned to the bigger picture and goals of the organisation which needs to be obtained within a stipulated time frame and deadlines are critical. 

The founders need to have a culture where everyone in the organisation adapts to newer ways of working and be agile in the adoption of technology faster than in an established corporation. The Startup culture requires candidates to understand the importance of facing tough situations and come out of it successfully and each day is unique with its own set of challenges. It becomes very important for the Agency working with a Startup to present the scenarios to the prospective candidate during the Initial pitch of evaluation so that everyone is on the same page when it comes to expectations and key performance indicators. Keeping in mind the above scenario let us now look at the challenges that need to be addressed while hiring for remote talent so that it becomes a WIN-WIN situation for both the employer and the employees.

Finding the right pool of target candidates

In a country with 500 million people in the workforce, it is not easy to target the right candidates through job boards alone. Here is where understanding of job description and the local presence of the specialist in India to connect with Local Agencies, Educational Institutions, Skill Training Institutes, HR Tech firms, etc can help to target the right segment of candidates who can then be vetted on their skills to get the exact match. Experience in getting access to those job seekers is the key to finding the right fit.

Employer branding

In a digital economy where information flow is seamless, candidates get to cherry-pick the organisations since they get to choose between 2-3 offers at a time. Even before that it is vital that employer branding is in place to present the opportunity to potential job seekers and get them interested. The Agency in India needs to have a very clear understanding on the part of employers to position them with benefits and offerings along with Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.

Vetting of candidates especially for Remote work

 The process of vetting candidates has to be more thorough when it comes to remote work since the entire Interview process will be online. The Interview questions need to be well researched to get into the nature of the candidates that will filter out the ones who don’t seem to be fit for the role. Psychometric Tests and Behavioural Analysis becomes more important.

Funnel is critical – The next key steps

This is the critical part of the process where candidates who have been found to be the right fit needs to be examined in terms of the requirements for the role and the degree to the Onboarding process where handholding and subsequent training that would be required during the course of 3-6 months so that both employer and candidates find themselves at ease on expectations being delivered and being empowered to fulfil the promise. It is imperative for the talent specialists in India to understand the Millennials and Gen Z to crack the code and keep their interest throughout the process and journey.

Plan A

The requirement in any startup is an urgency to get the best possible talent as soon as possible. The concept revolves around selecting the right fit by targeting the fastest pool of available candidates. This leads to the formation of a formidable team which is vital in delivering results for the firm. Each member in the team has a good number of responsibilities that needs to be delivered within set time frames. Passive hiring can only be done for some roles that are at the core of the agenda and reporting directly to the Founders. Since there are some niche skills that require specific expertise in a particular area, they may not be available in numbers, targeted hiring can bring a solution.

Plan B

In any team game there are always players behind the scenes that are available to replace on-field game members in case of any injuries or issues. The same needs to be built on especially for remote operations where there can be resignations and resources that need to be replaced.

A single point of contact in India

This is a critical step in the hiring process which is often overlooked. A local HR or connection with the Talent Acquisition Specialist is vital since there can be smaller issues that need to be addressed all the way where employees are in discomfort and can be resolved by simple measures. Once the link between the local connect and remote employees is strong, it serves many purposes mainly on getting vibes if the employee is unhappy or is about to leave. On the other hand, the right connection can give many references of similar potential resources which can help strengthen the relationship and team. This goes a long way in building future-ready teams.

The Agency – Startup Marriage

The most critical part of the game rests on proper understanding right from the start when it comes to a Recruitment Firm in India that understands the needs of Founders at the Startup and criticalities that needs to be addressed in every point of the recruitment process from getting the right candidate, employer branding, evaluation process, offer process, negotiations, joining formalities, onboarding, handholding, training, backup and expansion plans.


As we come to the end of this article, it is ideal to state that India has forever been a startup hub with every lane having tea and fast food stalls and the owners doing a profitable business with similar means. What has happened in present times is recognition of the culture of doing business with the aim to earn profit thereby also making India benefit in economic terms. This recognition is just the beginning as a new era of startup culture has infested India in a good way. 

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