separation does not amount to divorce

March 25, 2016 0 comments

An organization is made up of individuals—people who might be different from one another, but are true to a shared goal. In a fast-growing setup such as Zomato, the enthusiasm is unbridled and there is a bias for action. To put it bluntly, talent and perseverance are tested here like nowhere else. What this means is that there is a palpable urge to accomplish something, quickly every day and all the time. Everyone is responsible for driving things forward in such a scenario, and the quality and efficiency of the work being done has a direct impact on how fast the organization grows. Here, the recruitment team has one of the hardest but most important parts to play—finding the right talent.

what talent means

660-1In a startup (more than in an established corporate), ‘talent’ means people who love to push themselves to go the extra mile. In our fast-paced environment where we are breaking

and making things every day, people are encouraged to take up new challenges and step out of their comfort zones. The reward is autonomy in decision-making and exponential growth and learning. Not everybody is cut out for such an environment and thus we are quite specific in the kind of talent we seek.

In general, hiring the right people for a startup is an incredibly difficult task—identifying and wooing the kind of talent you want and need is quite challenging. One’s aptitude is as important as one’s attitude and culture fit. We need people who thrive in chaos, deliver more when challenged, are willing to push boundaries and achieve more. In short, we need people with a steep learning curve.

the right fit

The story does not always end when we find someone who fits the bill. Sometimes external factors play a role and people end up leaving the organization. We at Zomato feel grateful for every such person’s contribution to our growth story as they were the ones who worked with us in building the company. So they are not just colleagues, they are family. And so, they are always welcome back.

If the person was not a wrong hire in the first place, then there is little chance that s/he would be a wrong re-hire. So if an ex-Zoman decides to quit only to return, we would consider all possible options to bring her/him back. Of course, the conditions should suit both the parties. When a person is re-hired in Zomato, we focus heavily on the level of trust—it has to be the primary consideration for re-hiring. The bar for hiring is set high at Zomato, but the bar for re-hiring is even higher.

introspection mode

While considering a re-hire, we consider the following aspects from a recruitment point of view. What made the person quit in the first place? What role s/he had when they were working with Zomato earlier? What kind of cultural ambassador s/he must have made for Zomato during their hiatus? What role will s/he fit in?

Once the above questions are answered with absolute clarity, we do not wait to wave the ‘welcome back’ flag. But the process does not stop there. After they rejoin, we closely follow their progress. If a person is rejoining an organization, chances are s/he might feel a little out of place initially because of the changes in the system since their last stint. It is like missing a part of an ongoing movie, and hence require catching up a lot and that takes time and patience.

side effects?

So far, there have been no evident side-effects of re-hiring. We have re-hired about eighteen Zomans in the last seven years. And they belong to senior as well as not-so-senior roles. People who return are always the ones in love with the company and want to make a difference and that is evident when they are back. Hence sometimes, as an

organization, we just need to take that leap of faith and bring them back home again. Our organization is built on the foundation of trust and that is what works for us.

In conclusion, yes, it is imperative for a startup or even an established organization to keep the re-hiring bar high but an equal emphasis has to be placed on creating an environment which makes people come back.


home run

Karthick Gopal (33) was the company’s first Products Head. He quit in 2011 and moved on to technology companies in Europe.  He has re-joined and is presently the Recruitment Head.

“Over the years, much has changed at Zomato. New goals, new people, rapid progress, and a much larger canvas to paint on. In traditional companies, the larger you are, the slower you move. Zomato was in between—not a large corporation, yet no longer a startup. Zomato had become larger, and a little softer.”

Akshar Pathak (26) quit the company in 2015 to join AIB (All India Bakchod) in Mumbai. He is now back at the Gurgaon office, enjoying his second stint as Art Director.

“There’s something about life at Zomato that gets you addicted. Once you get used to it, I don’t think you can ever forget it, let alone walk away with a happy face.”


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