This anecdote is a part of a series from the People Matters June cover: Travails of Team building. The story focuses on learning the first principles of attracting and enabling the core team from entrepreneurs. Read it in two parts Travails of team building: Learning from startups and Travails of team building: Enabling, not retaining.
We take our interview process very seriously. Hands-on interview right from the start. We do play some silly games and we ask every interviewee to come and have lunch with us. We ask them to come for an interview at 12 PM and after the initial round of interviews, we take them to the cafeteria and have lunch with them. We figured it’s a great way to understand the character of the person and what value they bring to the table. We have what we call the KNOLSKAPE Mental Ability Test and it has a serious tone to it but it also has a set of silly tests, which really helps us to see who the person is, how he reacts to informal environment and whether he will fit culturally or not.
I don’t go with references blindly. With references, the person might be great in one context but might not be great in another. Just because he is a superpower in one company doesn’t mean he will be a superpower in another. It depends on the culture and a lot of other factors. One thing we brought in was that we decided to bring all the stakeholders who will work with the person in the interview process. So the opinions of all the stakeholders are important. We have now increased the number of people who are in the interview process. Also, right now we check the technical skills but what is most important is the culture fitment.
At times what happens is that a person wants to be part of startup but what s/he doesn’t realise is that startups don’t have that kind of infrastructure that large companies have in terms of presentation. Basic things that you take for granted in large organizations are not there. We try and tell everyone upfront about it. It’s important to know with whom you are working. It’s a two-way process. One thing that I emphasise on is the culture.