We have been looking for people for almost the entire year of our existence so far. There are open positions at WukiLabs on any given day of the year. But we have hired hardly any. Yes, we are a lean startup and want to be that way. But for the kind of projects in the pipeline, a team of five or six people is just way too lean for comfort.

    In a country that has some 7 lakh graduate engineers passing out every year, students are crying for employment. And in the same country that also has the Information Technology sector as the largest recruiter of engineers passing out, the industry is crying out for trained talent. Now, how is that?

    This is not a new topic. The “bridging the gap between industry and academia” has been done to death in panels discussions, strategy meetings, newspaper articles and God knows where else! So we were quite prepared for what was to come when we entered the startup hiring race: Curriculum still focuses on C and C++; in four years of engineering, maximum one progresses to is learning a little of Java basics; no one learns .Net, PHP or HTML, let alone advanced frameworks or cutting edge stuff such as Phalcon or Angular JS. OK great! So we will teach them, we said. We have training and project plans in place to beat in one month what engineering doesn’t do in four years. Bravo!

    But Nothing, I mean, Nothing, could have prepared us for what we experienced out there – on job portals, on facebook, on job seekers groups, on campuses as part of placement process, everywhere. We were caught by, not surprise, but the rudest shock. It was not the curriculum, not the system, not the economy. It was the students.

    Engineering Recruitment

    Candidates have no idea why they are applying for a role

    We have had candidates saying “I don’t know”, giggling at the question, feeling lost or saying “I want to be a team lead or a project manager because that is a high position and many people report to that person”. The least a company would expect is for candidates to have answers to why the industry, why a particular company and why a particular role within that.

    Candidates don’t know how to code

    Fine, it’s C, C++ and Java. But at least know that well. We had candidates who did not know how to open Turbo C or Net Beans or later how to save a file! We had candidates reply to us saying ‘Sorry, I am fresher, so I cannot code this” or walking out of the room saying, “This is too tough. I cannot understand” in flat 15 minutes without attempting the problem in the first place.

    Candidates want the easy way out

    We had candidates dropping out when they heard coding was part of the recruitment process and it was not a walk-in interview. We had candidates call us and ask for an interview and when we shared the process, did not even email us their resumes. Candidates want to know if they will get training once they come into the role and be taught everything from scratch.

    Candidates don’t take instructions seriously

    We have always clearly said that we need people who are passionate about their work. Candidates ignore it. We say coding will be part of the evaluation process for developers. Candidates ignore it. We say if you are not ok with taking initiative, working hard and constantly learning, this is not the place for you. Candidates ignore it. And then at different stages of the process, they get eliminated or walk out.

    Candidates have no idea what a startup is

    We have never got a satisfactory response to that one. The worst kind of response is “unlike a big company, startup is smaller so it is easier to work and make mistakes and you have time”. We have really heard this more than once and it takes effort to not respond to something like that. And we get questions like work timings, bonds and salary packages.

     

    We are not saying this is 100% of the student population. There are exceptions. However, should those be exceptions or the general rule?

     

    What we are really looking for

    If you came reading this far, you are perhaps the kind of person who should apply for a position with us or most likely, identifies with our frustration and knows someone you can recommend for a position with us. Either way, you must read this part – and yes, please believe it to be true.

    Any startup is the product of passion, spotting an opportunity and the courage to tread the unconventional path. It is the result of discomfort with a problem that is not being solved and a desire to get out there and solve it. It is driven by creativity, by perseverance, by subject matter expertise and by an unrelenting willingness to learn and be better every day.

    We are no different from any other startup at WukiLabs. We love what we do and we want to change the world for the better. We work hard, we stumble. We learn and get better. We promise not to make the same mistake again and do all it takes to make things work. We don’t count hours. We love the next big idea. We enjoy life at work and have loads of fun. We don’t have patience with mediocrity or apathy.

    We are not the place for people who don’t care, who just want a job, who want to be told what to do and will do just that much. We are a place for those who care – about their work, their reputation, putting that personal mark of excellence on anything they touch. People who care about the quality of output and get upset if someone says “chalta hai”. People who care about their clients and their end users, about their product being the best and better. People who care to take initiative, demonstrate ownership; who care about the company and the teams they work with and the world they live in.

     

    If you are one of those people, we are looking for you and would love to chat. Please email us at contactus@wukilabs.com or careers@wukilabs.com We have developer, quality/ testing, web design and graphic design positions open.

     

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    4 Response Comments

    • Prasad  May 20, 2014 at 4:34 am

      I read your blog “Startup Hiring: A WukiLabs Experience”, felt very sad about the candidates. I tried and sent my resume once, but i dint got any response from u guys… I’ve talent but wasting in a Belgaum based start-up, the only reason for why i dint got opportunities in bangalore is that, I dont have good academic score!!

      Reply
      • Radhika S
        Radhika S  May 21, 2014 at 3:12 am

        Hi Prasad,

        Thank you so much for your comment. It helped us track your application down. Our apologies for not having got back to you earlier. We always try and respond to everyone – looks like we somehow missed yours.

        It was a pleasure speaking with you yesterday and we shall stay in touch to explore opportunities.

        Thanks and have a great day!

        Reply
    • Tarun  May 21, 2014 at 2:06 am

      May be your interview process is flawed. You should first give a presentation explaining about start up culture and then interview them on their preference of language.

      Its not ideal but ‘you can’t change things by fighting existing reality. To change something build a new model that makes old model obsolete’ Some guy .

      This is the existing reality, at least 70% of good coders might be closeted it would be in your best bet to help them come out.

      Reply
      • Radhika S
        Radhika S  May 21, 2014 at 3:10 am

        Hi Tarun,

        Thank you so much for writing in. Appreciate your suggestions.

        We do both the things you have mentioned. We have a pre-placement presentation that talks about startup culture, explains what we do and clarifies any questions people have. What we are surprised by, for example, is that most people do not even check the company website before walking into the presentation.

        We also conduct interviews based on the language of preference of the candidate. Our coding challenge as well, allows flexibility to code in any language of a person choice.

        In addition, we offer internships where we think the person needs some additional training or exposure before working full-time. This also gives the candidate an opportunity to work with us in the startup environment and make up their mind about if this is what they like and would enjoy doing full time.

        If the best coders are closeted, we would be more than happy to support them to come out in any way we can. This article was one such attempt to do so. Any other ideas are always welcome.

        Thanks again for writing in. Good luck!

        Reply

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