Ensuring Culture First Hiring while
Blitzscaling a Technology Company

Culture First Hiring while blitzscaling a technology company

Blitzscaling technology hiring often comes along with the pressure to fill positions at high velocities. And often when the company is looking to have a much higher hiring bar in the process, it presents various challenges. In a recent Forbes article, it was said that one of the key challenges is ensuring culture fit while hiring quickly. At the same time, there is a popular HBR blog that dismisses the concept of hiring culture fit. We decided to ask Praveen Nair, Head of Talent, about this subject in our episode of Hiring Diaries – our series of live discussions with the top 1% talent leaders. 

Prior to heading the talent at Meesho (an Indian technology unicorn), Praveen has been involved in the scaling hiring at several companies which are now some of India’s most notable technology recruiters. These include Indian e-commerce giant Flipkart, and Uber’s rival, Ola. Along with this, Praveen has also had a big impact on talent acquisition space through his leadership role at Bounce, Diageo, and the founding of GreyFlex Consulting, a consulting firm that advises Asian enterprises on HR practices.

Mudit Srivastava, Host: 

As a live audience member, Nishanth from Postman has asked the following question. And my question was similar to Nishanth’s so I’ll probably club. When I was reading some of the works published around Blitzscaling Tech Hiring at companies, I saw an article by Forbes stating that culture-first hiring is the number one issue companies face. During the same period, I came across another HBR blog that said that one should stop hiring for culture fit. So do you advocate hiring based on culture? In the context of skewed supply and demand, where talent is scarce, what do you think is a culture-first hiring approach that works?

Praveen Nair, Guest Speaker Meesho:

I think it’s a no-brainer question because you cannot think of compromising culture over skill set alone. After all, as I said, you know, you would have your first ten engineers or 20 or 50 engineers who will solve the problem for you initially and get to a validated proof of concept and get a business problem going on right or business option going on. 

But it is the growth, and it is the sustainability of the scale of development, which allows you to compete in a very fiercely competitive market. So whether you become a Flipkart competing with an Amazon or become an Ola competing with the likes of Uber in India especially. And we like, for example, Meesho, fortunately for us, we’ve had a very significant tailwind. So we kind of had a great last two years to grow by. And we believe that you know, it will take some time for our competitors to scale up. But we think that culture differentiates us and that you can not compromise. 

While you want to have the best of engineers, you want to make sure that they know how to hire and grow good talent, that they can stand up and speak their mind that they do have a bias for action that they do believe in respecting others, they understand what the business is all about. And, they can scale up, right. All of this only comes in when you assess people on the cultural points. 

We at Meesho, whether it is an engineering or a product, hiring or whether it is a business hiring, you know, we make sure that each person is assessed for culture. And that happens either through the business themselves or through collaborative companies, you know, we do check that the person has the right stakeholders management capability, the people, whether the person is respectful of each other or not. And if the culture doesn’t match, the capability can be 100 out of 100. And it still wouldn’t cut ties with us. 

So yes, you do want the best talent. You do want people who will be able to, solve problems for you and our problem first is a mindset as well. But at the same time, the people part of it, or the culture part of it, or the values that we call as has to be ingrained in them. And if that is not visible or demonstrated enough during the interviewing or assessment pieces, then we don’t proceed with such candidates.

Mudit Srivastava, Host: 

Is this typically taken into account? How do you educate your engineering counterparts about the best practices for ensuring a culture fit while hiring for technology teams?

Praveen Nair, Guest Speaker Meesho:

Yes, you know, in the last, in the last year and a half or so, at Meesho, we have run a series of engagements, and we continue to do that because we’ve also grown in like four times the scale that we were able to a year back. So, the virtual scale-up, like, you know, others have been saying, has happened to us in the last year-plus. Therefore, it’s been a conscious effort to skill up all our interviewers to have the proper conversation. It has been deliberate, conscious thinking from our point of view to have the right candidate experience in place. And while we do this, you know, we make sure that we do assess people on all the value for it. In fact, as a practice since the last year, you know, culture has formed a big part of our assessment practice even for internal employees. So, the inner growth of employees is also dependent on how well they demonstrate and how well they exhibit these cultural values diversifiers.

Watch the entire conversation with Praveen Nair

This was an excerpt from a one-hour candid chat with Praveen in our recent episode of Hiring Diaries. In this conversation, we discussed several things including –

  • The best practices for optimizing hiring funnels at scale.
  • Culture-first tech hiring in a time of skewed supply-demand.
  • Surging recruitment with the right technology stack
  • Forging the right partnerships at high velocities
  • Preparing for hiring sprees at growth-stage startups 
  • And more.

To view it now, visit here – https://skllspace.ai/hiring-diaries-203/

More about Skillspace.ai and Hiring Diaries

Skillspace.ai helps you deliver better experiences for end-to-end technical assessments at scale. This is meant to improve hiring and retention metrics for growth-stage companies. On Skillspace.ai, you can conduct employee engagement initiatives and you can hire tech talent through coding assessments, AI challenges, take-home assignments, 1-on-1 interviews, and much more. All of this is offered in a highly condensed and simplified manner. From early-stage startups to Fortune 500 companies such as Cisco, Alibaba, and Capgemini, we have earned the trust of companies across all industries. 

We have created Hiring Diaries to support the engineering and talent acquisition communities that have entrusted us so far. Hiring Diaries is a series of live discussions with the top 1% of talent and technology leaders who share our passion for giving first. It covers a variety of topics regarding scaling technology teams and hiring the best talent. You are welcome to attend any of our upcoming events.

Visit https://skillspace.ai/hiring-diaries/ for more information.