Startups are on many people’s radar, not just venture capitalists, but also those looking to be gainfully employed in sectors that are new, where opportunities can make dreams come true in a short span of time. But then, there is the dark side of uncertainty too – startups are known to fold-up and vanish without a trace, leaving employees in the lurch.
In 2015, a large number of young professionals are going to decline lucrative corporate jobs to venture out into making their own dreams a reality. With a vision of the future, seven figure salaries are being turned down, for a stake in a start-up and the chance to make a difference.
“Start-ups are going to be the engines of growth for 2015. The entrepreneurial spirit, backed by strong education, ample capital and economic policy support is going to be the engine that drives India into its next growth cycle.” says Vivek Madhukar, COO, TimesJobs.com.
In 2014, nearly 55 per cent organizations witnessed candidates changing jobs to work in startups. However, it’s not easy for a candidate to evaluate a startup offer. In fact, accepting an offer from a startup is one of the most difficult decisions for any candidate, especially when he/she is already employed with an established brand or corporate house. So, how do you decide whether to take the plunge or not?
A TimesJobs.com study involving ‘High-tea’ sessions with industry leaders, answered such questions.
Here are some valuable expert insights from the sessions:
1. Money matters: Remember that compensation is directly related to what value-add you bring to the start-up. “Startups have increasingly become competitive pay masters compared to established large companies. But expectation from the role would also be high” explains Anand Subramanian, director-communications and lead-internal communications & employee engagement, Ola Cabs.
Specific to the offer, while comparing salary structure and benefits, be sure to factor in ESOPs (employee stock ownership plan) and possibilities of gaining ESOPs with tenures when deciding on a startup job offer.
While it is true that early stage startups might not be able to match the benefits given by big corporates, well-funded and successful startups can do so!
2. Culture talk: A start-up is not a corporate set-up, look for your peer-group and culture at the start-up work space to ensure that you are able to fit-in and be productive. Since the company is in the early growth phase, be ready for stretched work hours. If possible, try meeting the people you are going to be working with. They could well be the make or break decision point!
3. Accepting change: Be open to change. While large companies have intense detailing in terms of organisation structure and processes, in a startup it is likely that you might be the one putting these in place! That’s a lot of responsibility. “Domain knowledge and prioritising work sensibly will help you sail through the long work hours,” advised Saurabh Nigam, VP-HR, Snapdeal.com.
4. Being accountable: Ownership and owning-up are important. Taking accountability for what you are expected to deliver, at times even deliver what is not expected! In larger organizations, there could be a peak and a trough in the case of most businesses and this is because they have been fairly established. “Be ready to give it all you have if you are choosing a startup over a large company. The industry is constantly looking for people who are passionate and have fire in their belly,” said Upasana Nath, chief recruitment officer, Zomato.
5. Factor-in risks: Risks are greater in start-ups, so do your research on company, use websites such as JobBuzz.in to assess relative strengths and weaknesses across the industry. Don’t be afraid of seeming intrusive, after all it’s your career! “Don’t be hesitant to ask questions about revenue, profitability, competition and other such things during the interview process. And, always have a Plan B in place, in case the stint at the startup fails.” summarizes Vivek Madhukar, COO, TimesJobs.com
Jobs in startups are increasingly attractive for candidates. While they offer great opportunities, there are pitfalls too. Before you consider taking that offer from a startup, ensure it is the right call.