How this year-old startup gets the right talent on board

This year-old startup believes in taking a different route to success, focussing on unlearning the old to make way for the new


The last decade has witnessed a surge in the number of entrepreneurs. The massive growth in an entrepreneurial work culture and environment can be attributed to the fact that startups allow freedom of innovation, and have team members who are quick to respond to task responsibilities and do not shy away from taking ownership of their actions. These are the very traits that have helped Vaaree, a young home-furnishing startup, find the right talent needed for the company.

When one hears the term ‘hiring’, it is natural to think of social platforms such as LinkedIn that can be relied on to find suitable talent. However, Vaaree, uses a different social platform that is not only helping them get the right talent, but seems to be working much better than any platform when it comes to accuracy and suitability.

“We post most of our job openings on Instagram. It works amazingly well for us as we do get the right creative people we generally need for the roles,” declares Garima Luthra, CEO, Vaaree.

How does Vaaree go about it? Well, the process is rather interesting, interactive and straightforward.

Instagram: Luthra shares that they post a design on Instagram as a reference and then request other designers in their network to provide their feedback on the same. They then engage in further discussions and consider potential candidates. “We present the design and ask them to suggest ways to improve upon it, and if we like their suggestions, we hire them,” states Luthra in a matter of fact manner.

Referrals: The second most important channel to source the right talent is referrals. “We often receive employee referrals as a means of recruitment,” admits Luthra.

The company relies heavily on referrals from existing and former team members to expand its workforce.

Additionally, the company has also organised many small-scale events at schools and colleges to attract talent. However, it’s not the primary source of recruitment.

Prioritising intent over skills: The primary focus of the company remains to hire potentially strong candidates and then guide them towards the right direction. “Vaaree follows a different approach to hiring compared to other startups. “We focus on hiring younger people for their energy and positive attitude, even while providing them with mentorship programmes for guidance,” states Luthra. She goes on to explain, “We prioritise intent over skills when hiring candidates and believe in building consistency and quality instead of working long hours. We also offer wellness programmes and team sports to help the team empathise with each other, get to know each other better, and work together more effectively. We have a group of experienced operators who provide guidance and advice to our team and candidates,” reveals Luthra.

In its endeavour to build a vertical marketplace for homes, Vaaree requires to fill several crucial roles. These include, positions on the buying and selling side, development of technology, social media and branding, as well as finance. Additionally, the company also requires category managers to oversee all operations, as the majority of Vaaree’s partners are manufacturers. “To succeed in these roles, candidates must have a strong understanding of the manufacturer persona and be able to balance the demand and supply sides of the marketplace,” points out Luthra. Overall, the company is looking for talent to fill key roles across various areas to support its growth and success.

Mentoring: The company has a mentorship programme, where mentors are available to provide advice to employees when needed.

Traditionally, marketplaces have been approached in a certain way, where brands sell on the platform and the marketplace takes a cut. However, Vaaree has taken a different approach to stand out in the crowd. The approach is based on the strong belief that manufacturers need to be taught how to list and catalogue their products, as well as manage their finances. In order to do this, everyone must unlearn the old methods and biases and approach this new journey with a fresh perspective. This is where Vaaree’s mentorship programme differs from any other company’s. “Since this model is new and unexplored in India, it is easier for us to start from scratch without being tied to the old ways of doing things,” explains Luthra.

Vaaree operates as a work-from-office company. With more Gen Z in the workforce, the grasping power and speed of learning is quicker. The management prefers the work-from-office model “because many of our employees are new to the workforce and lack relevant experience. And we believe that working together as a team is the best way to provide them with the necessary exposure and experience”. However, the company does offer a flexible leave policy that allows employees unlimited time off. “We want our employees to act like owners and not have to ask for permission to take time off. This is the culture we strive to create. It is important to note that our work policy is purely work from the office,” adds Luthra.

Having said that, the company still manages to help employees achieve the right work-life balance. It has implemented wellness programmes, including sports activities where all the employees and the leaders participate and spend quality time getting to know each other better. “As a sportsperson, I believe that winning for the team is more important than personal achievement, and this is a lesson that only sports can teach you,” shares Luthra. They play a variety of sports — basketball, football, badminton, and more — together every Wednesday, as part of the ‘Playful Wednesdays’ initiative. This helps the team members empathise with each other, get to know each other better, and work more effectively as a team.

Amidst so many young startups struggle to survive in the marketplace or make it big, Vaaree is moving forward in the right direction to take its game high. Till now, the startup has been running with a workforce of 24 people, but that hasn’t stopped it from making a statement in the marketplace. The year-old startup has shipped over 50,000 products already, which is truly commendable.

Talking about future plans, Luthra shares, “In the upcoming quarter, we plan to pause and evaluate whether we need to hire more staff, specifically in the areas of technology, product development, and social-media branding.”

She observes, “We tend to receive the most job applications for creative positions, which is where we initially focused our development efforts. We ran campaigns where we printed and sold designs created by candidates, which resulted in a lot of engagement and shares. We often receive applications for UI and design positions from candidates with NIFT backgrounds.”

It’s worth noting that 60 per cent of the company’s workforce comprises women, and 50 per cent of the leaders are also women. “We believe that women leaders bring a lot of attention to detail, and helps the operations run faster than expected with the level of understanding they bring,” concludes Luthra.

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