Recruit Like an Engineer: Recruitment For Tech Companies

Viraj Kalyani, Chairman, Kalyani Studio Kalyani Studio is a high strength engineering and design company that believes hat design is an endless pursuit between science and art which results in a cyclic flow of form and function..

For tech CEOs recruitment is an important business decision as you are creating technologies, products or services with people on your team. In this line of business, the talent of your team members comes to the fore. Whenever I make a business decision, I deliberate through three sets of questions, in the sequence of - Why, What and How I am cautious not to consider decision in another sequence, unless, I am doing a trial and error approach and the stakes are low, or in innovation, where I’m prototyping rapidly and learning in the process. When it comes to recruitment, it becomes imperative to take a view with a longer horizon, and design decisions keeping high stakes in mind, as every recruit is going to be a leader in some way or the other in your enterprise or mission.

Why Recruit?
Recruitment by tech companies serves a very important purpose in our society. We are building jobs of the future, and it’s important for entrepreneurs to take the longer view about their recruitment pipeline. As a technology company or a tech start-up, we are the job creators of upcoming and future skills. We are not just making a product or a software, we are here to change the world. As a tech entrepreneur, if you really mean it,you will put your money where your mouth is,and ensure your business is creating more jobs, because that is the single largest challenge of a technology ridden fast changing world.
Who to Recruit?
Once you are at one with your purpose, it's time to live up to your commitments. And recruitment is the best process to bring your vision, purpose and values to life, by bringing new lives into the company with each new hire. The word recruit means to enlist in an army to support a cause. That's the operative word you should keep in mind while recruiting. I tend to look at two major fit criteria - functional and cultural fit and in both the cases, diversity is important. You should look for diversity of skill sets and diversity of personality or perspectives. Beyond that, it's important you create your own detailed criteria which suits your company, the products your making or the work you do. There is not a one-size-fits-all set of criteria.

Keep in mind that recruitment is not a onetime activity. It is something you have to do throughout the year, especially if you’re a growing company or startup

How to Recruit Well?
Once you’re clear what type of candidates you are looking for, you should execute the recruitment process effectively. This is the tough part, where your patience and discipline will be tested. I would advocate that experience certainly helps, by which I mean good practice. Like a virtuoso artist or a pro sports player, continuous practice makes you good at your game. And whether you are a CEO, HR Head, Manager or Team Leader, recruitment is a non-negotiable career changing skill to have. Gaining this skill takes a good deal of time and energy, but based on my personal experience, I know it's worth it.

I have recruited people in over a hundred positions over the span of my career so far and personally interviewed a thousand candidates. I learned something in each interview,about the candidate and about myself as well as my colleagues who were part of the interview process. In many cases,it served as a platform for training my proteges on their interviewing skills. In other cases,I was trying to remove my biases by getting others' perspectives on a candidate. For example, if you meet candidates in an interview, try to be nice and genuinely interested to hear their story. Avoid yes or no questions, keep them open ended. If you feel the candidate is not a good fit, you can give specific feedback on how they could improve either their interview participation or their resume.

Keep in mind that recruitment is not a onetime activity. It is some thing you have to do through out the year, especially if you’re a growing company or startup. So make an annual recruitment plan and keep revisiting it. Although it may seem like a daunting process, each good hire makes it worth while, so enjoy yourself while you're at it!