What Do Students Want from Startups?

Monday June 04, 2012,

4 min Read

Currently, the startup market in India is at its richest and most fertile with innovation being the name of the game. A lot of people, young and old, have been setting up startups in the past few years that have made many a contribution to our daily welfare.

However, ironically, startups don’t always figure on the minds of fresh graduates and students when it comes to the job market. There is an underlying consensus that startups are only made, not joined, that too only by those with advanced management degrees from the IIMs.

Startups should focus on changing these perceptions as they can then take advantage of some of the best minds in the country choosing the path less trodden. Here are some things that you could try:

1. Erase The Stigma

Although they may be the brightest minds in the country, many students from top-tiered institutes are from rural and not-so-modern backgrounds. They are stigmatized into thinking that a company is only as good as the prominence of its name. This counter-productive thinking has to be eliminated and a significant effort is required by startups to change this fact. Displaying how your work has as much an impact on society as any other company, no matter how big or small, is key to forming this realization. That way, more and students can abandon the orthodox approaches to job placements without feeling bad around the nighbourhood Aunty.

2. Show The Freedom

Many of my friends who work in startups cannot emphasize this fact enough. The amount of work freedom and level of involvement they have is something imaginary in almost all the big companies. Whether you’re a fresher or a twenty year veteran, if you have due credibility, your opinion does have an impact. Young, motivated students yearn for this kind of intellectual involvement. They want their work to make a difference. They also like to stay away from monotony, enjoying doing different things everyday. Plus learning about the ins and outs of a startup is an invaluable experience. Showing them how joining your company can grant them their wish is a huge step in the right direction.

3. Help Look Beyond The Pay

In today’s turmoiled economy, you’d be hard-pressed to find a student who does not place the pay package on top of their criteria list for a job. But, inherently, everybody always looks at the bigger picture where personal happiness eclipses mountains of gold. As a friend of mine said, “good people will always look for good work“ and that is almost always true. If you can convince the college-going crowd that working for you can help them feel better about themselves or give them self-satisfaction that they have never experienced before abeit with a slightly lower pay, you’ll soon find your recruiting office flooded with application letters. Plus, we know you guys pay pretty well


4. Actively Recruit

Interning at a company is always a big deal for any student. The chance to test their knowledge and skills in the field is an exhilaratingly inviting thing. However, there are a great number of highly accomplished students who find themselves without this sort of a chance each year. Bringing these students on board to work for you can bolster your work as well as your reputation in the student circles. You can avail the services of these qualified students to get a lot of work done, and in return, if they enjoy the experience, they will definitely spread the word, and word of mouth has always been the best and most reliable way to advertise.

5. Publicize Yourself To Us

You may not know us, but we students really do want to know about you. Having choices is something students crave for and you are the fantastic blueberry sauce alternative to the usual choco-chip toppings we are offered. Although quite a number of students find themselves familiar with a startup via Twitter or Github, being emminent can’t hurt your chances. Simple ways to publicize yourself could be sponsoring college fests within your means, holding local student competitions and conducting workshops on your area among other things. This goes a long way when crunch time comes to decide what companies to apply for, and your pool of applicants can only get larger.

These are some basic and sure-shot ways to make yourself a bright-mind magnet. There are a dozen other methods, but in short selling yourself from a student’s point of view and making your company a truly viable option helps open the minds of students who have much left to see in the real world. In the end, however, the greatest benefactor will definitely be you.

-Varun Agrawal, Engineering Student and a Cloud Conclave Winner

This article was previously published on yourstory.in.

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