Beating the industry average and hiring smarter people

The way Moolya projected itself made me pick them over HP and IBM. That’s just how cool they are! We are! — Kshitij Hastu – Business Development Monk, Moolya

Kshitij Hastu is one of our best hires so far. So is Veda Prada our Business Development Manager who chose Moolya over other companies she had an offer with and were paying more than what we could.

Kshitij ran his own start-up before he joined us as a business development monk. For a company as small and as less known as Moolya, attracting top talent means competing with everybody else who is attracting the same talent.

So, if we want to hire someone like Kshitij, it means we are competing against all those top companies who are willing to pay the big bucks to hire smart people like Kshitij. We can’t compete with Google, IBM, HP on salaries. Not right now. That is not the end for us to attract talent, that is the beginning. Here is how.

Our job description

Comes from the left field. Totally unpredictable. Take a look at our JD for a VP Delivery we posted on Linkedin.

Who is a Vice President of Delivery for Moolya?

Our VP – Delivery, is a top position in the company for Delivery. Vice President of Delivery would report to the CEO. The VP would be responsible for Delivery and its excellence. The VP would interface with other VP’s in the company and share information and help each other. VP – Delivery would be responsible to understand the strategy of the company, convert them to goals and milestones for delivery, review and track the progress.

The VP – Delivery would be responsible for the excellence of Delivery, right from defining it to executing it to enabling the team to deliver. The Delivery Head and Delivery Managers would report into the VP – Delivery. The VP – Delivery would work with the managers and Delivery Heads to help bring change and excellence. The buck on delivery has to stop at the VP – Delivery.

Why do we need a Vice President of Delivery?

Our strategy has evolved. Our strategy demands a person with different skills than what we currently possess to handle it. We are a very powerful team and our power has to be harnessed in ways that help us scale very large. We have created great stories so far. However, the strategy that we have now will scale our business to billions. We need someone who can own the up the Delivery that can scale billions.

What kind of VP – Delivery do we need?

We don’t know. What kind of person are you? We are open to who you are.


Desired Skills and Experience

We are looking for the following skills in our VP – Delivery

  • One who has been there done that ( a must – at some level – at some capacity)
  • Context-driven in execution
  • One who asks good questions
  • One who listens
  • One who understands
  • One who reads
  • One who responds
  • One who stays calm
  • One who smiles
  • One who is reasonable
  • One whose ego doesn’t need treatment anymore
  • One who loves their family
  • One who is happy
  • One who has gray hair or expects it to happen soon 🙂
  • One who loves travel
  • One who loves talking to people
  • One who is customer savvy
  • One who loves books, green tea, coffee or beer. Plain water is good too.

Analysis of our job description

Makes a lot of sense, ain’t it?

Being self-critical (and not self cynical) how does saying “One who loves books, green tea, coffee or beer” tell anything about the person we need?

It doesn’t just tells the person we need, it also tells the person we are. These are things that we do.

And to add how does “One who has gray hair or expects it to happen soon :)” help?

It does. Many ways. It helps people applying understands we are looking for experienced people and also the fun side of us. Someone who applied was as humorous as us and said “I wish I could tell you I have lot of gray hair but I am bald, so am I still eligible to apply :)”

These people totally get it. They feel connected even before we have seen their application.

Is it the same with “We don’t know. What kind of person are you? We are open to who you are. ”

Totally. People who applied to us, loved it.

Follow through

I don’t play golf, my business partner Mohan Panguluri does. A concept he shared with me about it is follow through. “A follow through is an important aspect of a good shot”

When we have a JD like that, a follow through is what will help us have a good shot at getting the applicant to really see if Moolya is a good shot for them.

Take a look at our follow through

Yet again, do you want to know asking questions like “What have you unlearnt over the recent years?” help us with?

It helps a lot. It helps us learn what they think they have unlearnt and what is important for them. When we become aware of what is important for them, it helps us ask relevant questions if we were to meet them. Also, we know our organizational context. So, we know what if they haven’t unlearnt can potentially become a blocker for us and for them if we were to hire them.

What about the question of “What did you learn from your spouse, kids or family about how to do your work better? How have you applied them?”

This question had great responses. I wish I had the email id of their spouses to send them an email to inform how beautiful the response was. This question connects applicants to understand how we value our families and importance to be balanced.

How about this one: “You will be reporting to the CEO, what information would you provide to the CEO to enable the CEO to make powerful decisions?”

This helps us learn “what” have they done before and or “how” they want to do it. We test that against our context to see if there is a match.

Finishing the follow through

We have 300 applicants so far. It isn’t an easy job to say No to almost everybody who looks promising for the role we have. We have top VP’s from top Fortune 100 companies and ex-co-founders of start-ups and people who have mastered being a VP applying to us. Here is how we finish the follow through.

With that way of finishing the follow through, our applicants are rest assured, we have received, seen it and read it. They also wrote to us how excited they are to be going through this process.

This is no one rare instance for them that things are coming from left field. It is consistent. That tells them their job is no ordinary and we don’t think traditional. We want people to come to us to change things, as a result change their lives. That is happening.

Taking a stand

It is a beauty, irrespective of whether you play golf or not, to see a perfect shot and the way the golfer stands after a good shot is done. So is our process of taking a stand.

Colour codes

As you can see. We color code their responses. After going through each one of them, we color code the responses.

Our color codes are

Blue: Awesome

Green: Good

Orange: OK

Red : Not OK

Now, to short list the people whom we want to talk to, we go for someone with all Blue color codes and then to Blue Green colors and then to Blues, Green and Orange colors. Some one can have many Blues and one Red. They do stand more likely than someone with all Green. No, not that easy. There is a weight-age to those questions. So, it makes our job simple to first color code the heavy weight ones.

Welcoming them for a discussion

Every step is carefully crafted. An email like the one below is sent after fixing up an appointment.

Hi Person,


It is our pleasure to be talking to you for a potential opportunity to work together and scale Moolya to a company that disrupts the space of testing.

Our CEO, Pradeep Soundararajan would love to talk to you to explore this opportunity further.

Please find below the details that matters.

Person to meet: Pradeep Soundararajan

Contact Number : 9xx51xx1xx

Place: A coffee shop, X Location

Potential discussion time: 60-75 minutes

Time: 11 AM on 17th Nov 2014

Our CEO is looking forward to meet you.

Have a wonderful day,


Recruitment Team

The meta of discussions

Listening is the best thing you can offer to an applicant when you call them for a discussion. Listening to them tells about them. So, I chose to listen. Having learnt from wise people like Jerry Weinberg, I pay attention to more than what is being said. When my ear and all senses of my body picks up different parts of the story and combines it, the story becomes cogent.

Then maybe a follow up discussion with my business partner or someone else within the company. More or less we are done.

For the applicants, they go through an experience that they wish to create for others or most likely the world. They are bought into the vision of Moolya. After that it becomes their vision too. They join us to see the vision become reality, faster.


I mentioned to Kshitij that if this post gets to the eyes of lot of people, he would be tempted with offers from a lot of people to which he said “I will choose Moolya, all over again”.

Kshitij was hired with a similar process of job posting, follow through, discussions and putting. He helped us revamp our website, improve our SEO, get our online marketing strategy going, improve our inbound leads and now on to something equally cool. Veda helped us get shape to our follow through to enterprise business leads and is working on a GTM for our new focus areas. We know enough that having Kshitij and Veda on board made this possible. Money didn’t dampen our hopes to hire this cool talent. Someday, money will be an added plus to work with us.

Beating the industry average

Job statistics

We have had 1741 viewers on our job posting in Linkedin. 374 people clicked on apply button against the industry average of 23 people. 178 people filled our form. I received about 14 InMails from people who didn’t click the apply but wanted to talk to me about working together. I had 10 connections of VP level who are not looking for a job and wanted to connect with me purely based on what they have seen in the JD and exploring to work in future if they want to.

That according to Linkedin is way above (a humble 16 times more than) the industry average. Someday, our company will be valued the same way and some of these people who applied to us, will make it happen. And the rest, will possibly become our customers.

Thank you LinkedIn.

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