EventHQ's Approach to Hiring and Nurturing Talent

Jan 1, 2024

As the founder of a rapidly scaling high-growth company, I've often reflected on our approach to hiring, especially when it comes to fresh talent. At EventHQ, we've taken a path less traveled.

Maintaining a Lean Team and Better Pay per Person

At EventHQ, we do not believe in hiring people as a solution to solve problems. We believe in people who can automate processes as much as possible as solutions to problems in place. I have seen the fastest growing SaaS companies in India hire resources worth more than $25K per year to create a shortcut and search bar feature, for which we purchased a product for $99. This saves time, money and cost of maintenance.

What it has helped us do is reroute the budget, originally allocated as salary for employees who must have been hired, as salary for the existing team. This has become a win win for both parties as for the company, it is a smaller team at the end of the day that is putting forth its best performance and for the employees, it is higher salary because they took the extra effort to implement a solution that is smart and timesaving.

Internships as Stepping Stone

Our internship program is not a mere formality; it's a crucial part of our talent acquisition strategy. It allows us to assess an individual's skills, adaptability, and, importantly, their cultural fit within our organization. This period is critical – it's when we determine whether the intern has the drive and commitment that EventHQ demands and if they align with our forward-thinking ethos.

Clarity and Fairness on Hiring Experienced Professionals

When it comes to hiring experienced professionals, our approach at EventHQ is defined by clarity and fairness. We have established salary slabs that correspond directly to the number of years of professional experience. This structured approach ensures that expectations are laid out transparently right from the interview process. Regarding salary negotiations, our policy is straightforward. We do not engage in negotiations; if our offered salary range aligns with the candidate's expectations, we move forward. This policy is rooted in our belief that candidates should be compensated fairly based on their experience and skills. If our offer doesn't meet a candidate's requirement, we respectfully step back, acknowledging that such a scenario would not be conducive to long-term job satisfaction. This level of upfront honesty ensures that both EventHQ and the candidates make decisions that are mutually beneficial and aligned with their professional goals and financial expectations.

Our Expectations from Talent

It might seem that I am circling back to transparency and discipline, but there is a reason to it.

Acknowledging that everyone has a blend of good and bad traits is crucial. These qualities make us human. The critical factor for us at EventHQ is compatibility. How do these traits fit with the team and our company's values? In many of my interactions, people have insisted that the 'compatibility' can be ascertained during the interview process itself and if we get to know that there is incompatibility at a later point, the company is at fault. But here's the thing: The company's interaction with an interviewee is heavily limited to just a few hours. During interviews, it's a common human tendency for candidates to present their best selves. This is completely natural and expected. However, it means that the true extent of a candidate's compatibility – both technically and culturally – can only be fully understood once they are working within the team. It's only then that we see the whole picture: their strengths, weaknesses, work style, and how these align with EventHQ's ethos and expectations.

A very recent example of this happened to me in the form of a technical interview where the candidate performed great until the very last round. Fortunately, the candidate admitted to have had her friends help with all answers during the previous interview rounds. While we appreciate the honesty, it is her who will be questioned for non performance and not the friends. Being frank, we would have had better chances of a successful interview if we had interviewed one of the friends!

We believe in hiring quickly but are equally swift to let go if an individual is not a good fit. This approach might sound harsh, but it’s deeply tied to our commitment to maintaining the promise we have made to our investors, customers and most importantly, the team itself.

Full hike or nothing

I have always believed in a dynamic approach to talent evaluation. In my experience, I have seen employees who take the initiative to upskill and show results, and all the while taking a step towards supporting the team and actively attempting to function as one unit rather than an individual. Often, these are the kind of people who do great as people managers. At EventHQ, these are the kind of people who get promoted to the position of people managers. They get to grab the people manager hike in addition to the standard yearly hike.

While exhibiting people skills is not always the expectation, fulfilling 100% of one's responsibility and upskilling technically is. Those who take the initiative to learn and grow are not only securing their position but are also eligible for the standard yearly salary hike.

People Manager - To Become or Not to Become?

There’s a common belief that climbing the ladder to a people management role is the hallmark of success. I’ve witnessed various career paths and have come to appreciate that this traditional view of professional advancement isn't the only path to success. I believe it's crucial to understand that becoming a people manager is not the sole indicator of career growth or capability. The decision to become a people manager is significant and not suitable for everyone. Management roles come with a unique set of responsibilities and challenges that differ vastly from those of individual contributors. It requires a shift from focusing on one's work to supporting and guiding a team, which is a different skill set and not necessarily a natural progression for everyone.

I have known individual contributors who have 15+ years of experience. He had tweaked his offering in such a way that their outcome is the same as that of a team's. Anything related to a customer- be it support or solutioning or upsell, he will take care singlehandedly.

An individual contributor who continually hones their skills and delivers exceptional results is just as valuable as a people manager who excels in leading a team. Both roles are different but equally critical to our success.

Mutual Expectations and Growth

Similarly, our approach to performance and growth is transparent. Just as employees expect fair and timely compensation growth, we expect our team members to continuously upskill and stay ahead of the curve. Those who don't show this initiative or growth potential may find themselves out of sync with our fast-paced environment.

This might sound stringent, but it's a two-way street. We are upfront about our salary slabs and work expectations. Our goal is to foster an environment where driven, passionate individuals can thrive and grow. In return, we expect our team members to contribute proactively to our collective goals and taking an effort to go to the next step by continuously upskilling themselves and taking an effort to go to the next step.

On the flip side, if we keep providing the same incentive or hike to an employee who has not upskilled over a year, then it means we are rewarding non performance and this affect the morale of high performers who carry the major weight. We also do want to have different hike based on performance as it gives room for personal bias.

It's a journey of mutual growth and ambition, and one that we navigate with clarity and purpose.