One of the responsibilities that I have been given at Drizzlin include hunting down and hiring a solid tech team to handle all technology related interventions across clients and services. These include projects which are outsourced, improving internal projects such as our web properties. Considering the fact that we are a digital marketing company, a stellar tech team is actually a fundamental aspect and we have finally begun working in this direction.

Now, this is not the first time that I am hiring people. I have, in the past, hired and worked with several people – writers, techies, designers and managers. But they have all been freelancers. Hiring a 9-5 guy who will fit into one’s company’s culture, who is talented and who is willing to invest 40 hours a week to realising your vision – that is a totally new ball game. However, I wasn’t aware of this so I jumped head first into the hiring role, excited about the fact that I was being trusted with a huge responsibility.

After working at it for precisely 33 days, I must admit that it has been quite a challenging, but rewarding task. And to add to this, the difficulty level went up a few notches higher when I had to execute this within a minimal budget (a frugal mindset does work in pushing you to accomplish things creatively).

Bunch of things that I did

  1. Asked all my immediate friends – Quite obviously, I first went around and asked all my friends. I called, messaged, Facebook messaged and asked my colleagues to ask around if they knew anyone in tech circles. Unfortunately, I didn’t get any leads since  very few of my friends had a tech circle.
  2. NIIT and Aptech – These are India’s top IT training institutes. However, 3 long phone calls later, I found out that NIIT, apparently, only places freshers and we were looking for slightly experienced professionals. so when I asked them to give me a database of their older students who were looking for a job, they told me they would get back to me. Still waiting their reply. Aptech asked me to fill out an online form which was buggy, so it probably didn’t go through. When I called them, they asked me to send them an email. I called and emailed again. They didn’t respond. At all. Unfortunate. These companies should work harder to give their talent a better job if they want to grow!
  3. Posted on HireRabbit (Facebook and Twitter) – It’s a paid social hiring service which we have already signed up for. They basically help you create job listings on your Facebook page. I did get about 5-6 resumes but none were good enough.
  4. Posted on HasGeek – HG is one of the best techie job boards in the country. I posted quite a few times and managed to collect about 11 resumes but none which were good enough. Here are the posting if you want a look – 1, 2, 3. After some researching and talking, I realised the Job posting could have used better and more relevant information. So I worked with a colleague who had better writing skills, and drew up another one here which I posted after 15 days. This one was crisper and included a video and managed to get me 12 resumes alone!
  5. Posted on Quikr, Olx, Sulekha, Craigslist and Click.in – These are all free classified services. Surprisingly, the response from Olx was –  5 resumes!
  6. Posted on Elance, Freelancer and Odesk – Global freelancing websites. I thought it was worth a shot. However, it turned out to be wasted effort because no one wanted to work full time and they were all asking for insane salaries!
  7. Put up flyers – SDA market is one place where a lot of IITians pass by so I thought it was worth a shot. Nothing came off it though.
  8. Cold mailing on Linkedin – Another random tactic I tried was to look up programmers at good tech companies in India such as Cleartrip, Zomato, Flipkart and digital agencies such as Foxymoron, Gozoop, Skarma, Webchutney, etc. and send them an email with a better job offer. I tried this with about 12 people and none of them reverted, so I gave up.

I realised that if I cannot do more, perhaps I could increase my knowledge about hiring. So I started reading up articles and blogposts from the Indian community which were quite helpful:

http://bestengagingcommunities.com/2012/06/27/hiring-for-startups-one-perspective-on-what-works-in-india-and-what-does-not/

A real eye opener: http://swaroopch.com/2010/11/22/reasons-indian-startups-struggle-hiring/

Did a lot of helpful reading on Quora – http://www.quora.com/Startups-in-India/

On StackExchange: http://programmers.stackexchange.com/questions/33816/how-to-recognize-a-good-programmer

Searching the Naukri.com database

After my search for a programmer on

You become super judgemental about names. What are you supposed to think when you see a person called Prince Saxena or Monika or Ramsingh Prakash? You want to hire web developers who are well versed with the latest technologies so if you come across people with such names, you instantly back to the 80s or 90s. Lal Saheb,

Further reading:

On sorting resumes, phone screens and interviewing.

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