How Droom’s hiring policy is unique for a startup


The startup has devised hiring strategies to bring the right talent on board and nurture them to grow in the organisation.

In addition to their flexible culture and innovative products, startups are known as places where employees get the freedom to take on greater responsibilities. However, if you go by the estimate of industry experts, the attrition rate at Indian startups is typically between 50 per cent and 80 per cent. Most deal with constraints of resources, excessive competition and constant change, which make it difficult to hire and retain talent. Like any other aspect of its business, hiring is crucial for online automobile marketplace, Droom Technology.

The startup is growing rapidly and has recently received $30 million equity financing from Toyota Motor Corp., one of the world’s largest auto makers.

Droom has emerged as one of the country’s largest marketplaces, by building the technology and the product portfolio to address the trust deficit that exists in the used automobile market.

Startups usually don’t follow a structured HR process and nobody has time to track employee attrition. Most startups have to deal with ambiguity and chaos to keep up with the pace.

However, Droom’s founder, Sandeep Aggarwal, believes that a startup can grow and sustain only if it has a strong hiring policy and is able to attract the best talent. At the onset of its operations, the Droom had focused on the hiring process and devised ways and means to improvise its strategy.

“Dependency on the right people is of utmost importance for a startup. Sometimes, startups grow at a much faster rate than the growth of the industry because of which the right investment in human resource is critical,” adds Agarwal.

Since its inception Agarwal has personally interviewed 250 employees, independent of the candidate’s salary, title, role, position and more. The Company has spelled out 12 core competencies and values, which include passion, energy, learning from mistakes, frugality, long-term approach, high work ethics and more. “We feel that people may come from different backgrounds, but there are some common threads that we need to figure out to unleash their true potential,” says Agarwal.

The selection process involves three–four rounds of interview, where the candidate gets the opportunity to evaluate the Company as well. While waiting for the next round, the candidate gets a tab which offers an understanding of the Company’s operations. As a consumer brand, the Company ensures that the whole process leaves a lasting impression on the applicant.

It has been able to retain most of its staff since inception, and out of the first 50 employees only three have left the firm. The startup, with presence in over 500 cities, has close to 300 employees.

Sandeep Aggarwal

Dependency on the right people is of utmost importance for a startup. Sometimes, startups grow at a much faster rate than the growth of the industry because of which the right investment in human resource is critical

It has further devised a ‘2×2 matrix’, where one axis defines whether the candidates are good for Droom and the other states whether they are suitable for the current job. Those found to be culturally fit for Droom but not for the job are still hired, but if they are good for the current job but a misfit for Droom’s culture, then they are rejected.

The interview process also checks the candidate’s body language, posture, and energy to figure out what kind of training will be required for the person after joining. The Company gives 70 per cent weightage to being Droom type, 20 per cent to skills and 10 per cent to the readiness to take on new challenges.

As part of their on-boarding experience, new joinees attend the orientation programme called ‘Dip’ which offers a sneak peek into the Company’s journey through the ‘Droom glossary’ where the milestones and other information are curated for their knowledge. They also enjoy a coffee session with the founder and get introduced to other employees through a forum, where each joinee is asked to share funny incidents or experiences. This exercise helps them open up with the staff, which promotes inclusion.

On completion of one year, the employees are recognised for their efforts and rewarded with a sterling silver coin carrying the Droom emblem. The size of the coin is doubled with each year that is completed by the employee.

Besides these initiatives, the Company also conducts employee-engagement activities to boost employee morale and productivity.

There are no short-cuts to keep the momentum going for a fledgling startup. Focus on human strategies is the only way.

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Prajjal Saha is the editor and publisher of HRKatha, which he founded in 2015. With nearly 25 years of experience in business journalism, writing, and editing, he is a true industry veteran who possesses a deep understanding of all facets of business, from marketing and distribution to technology and human resources. Along with his work at HRKatha, he is also the author of the Marketing White Book. Thanks to his extensive experience and expertise, he has become a trusted source of insight and analysis for professionals across a wide range of industries.