How Should Startups Think about Hiring in Today’s Tech Talent Crunch?

Pearl Agarwal
Eximius Ventures
Published in
3 min readAug 19, 2021


Tech hiring has surged by as much as 166% since Q4 2020. However, the lack of sufficient talent, combined with foreign companies hiring remotely from India, creates a significant gap between supply and demand, leading to what we now call a tech talent crunch.

This scarcity has given tech talent an upper hand, who are receiving as much as a threefold hike in their salaries within a year. It isn’t surprising then that a large portion of startup capital is primarily getting spent on attracting talent.

As we make our way through this hiring surge and wait for more talent to upskill, there are a few practical ways to ensure that you find and retain superior tech talent:

  1. Creating Your Brand

Today, tech talent looks at not just compensation but also the values of your startup. Create an employer brand that reflects opportunities for personal and professional development, upskilling, as well as challenging work.

Even if you are an employer who offers these values, the only way you can be recognized and stand out is by actively promoting yourself by:

  • Organizing events and community meet-ups for developers to interact, engage, and learn from each other.
  • Providing value-adds to the community, such as 2-day projects, hackathons, paid retreats, exposure to global companies, etc.

Bonus tip: Leverage LinkedIn or similar platforms to share updates and network with developers in other emerging markets, like Southeast Asia, Ukraine, Latin America, etc. This will also help you immensely during the next step of hiring.

2. Hiring — Playing the Odds Right

Once you have established your brand and are ready to attract talent, a good next step is to calculate backwards. If you want to hire for 1 position, you should be able to give at least 5 offers, which means you should have 20 prospects to begin with.

Here’s how to make it efficient:

  • Try to source candidates through references. This ensures a sense of reliability at both ends right from the first conversation.
  • Move fast and conduct all the interviews within a week if your bandwidth allows you to.
  • After making an offer, give incentives to keep them connected with the brand, such as goodies, a laptop, joining bonus, invitation to company events, etc.
  • Meanwhile, keep other prospects warm and engaged until a candidate joins the company. Try to keep their joining dates at intervals to accommodate multiple offers.

Bonus tip: Extend a joining bonus on the day of signing the contract. While every signer cannot be expected to join, this prevents your startup from getting stood up on the joining date, since returning the bonus can be a big consideration for prospects.

3. Learning Opportunities

Hiring talent is one thing, but retaining talent is another, and by extension, equally, if not more, important. As shared earlier, people today want a holistic work environment that encourages their growth.

To make your employee(s) feel valued and to be a building block in their growth, you can enable them to:

  • Engage in networking and leadership sessions in their field.
  • Evolve from an individual role to a more empowering, management role which would consequently lead to a deeper sense of ownership.
  • Groom in the right direction keeping their career plan in mind.

Bonus tip: Set up one-on-one informal sessions at regular intervals to understand their personal and professional plans, so that you can assign them to projects or introduce them to people in your network who can give them development opportunities.

Despite all the efforts, hiring tech talent may not be as straightforward or easy. Thus, it is beneficial to keep an open mind and also focus on hiring freshers with the right basic qualifications, and consequently creating an internal training program to groom them in the right direction.

In the end, hiring is a two-way street. If you want to reap great quality, you should be willing to sow some time and thought.



Pearl Agarwal
Eximius Ventures

Building Eximius Ventures ($10 million micro VC fund) | Angel Investor (15 Portfolio Companies) | Previously at $78B PE Fund, Merrill Lynch & UTIMCO | UT Austin