SocialHelpouts is now CutShort!

Yes, that’s true. After a year of experimentation and learning, we are changing our name to “CutShort”.

Why? SocialHelpouts was a great name, but only when we had explained it to someone for a good 10 minutes. When an average attention span is less than 10 seconds, asking for 10 minutes online is like asking for someone’s life.

“CutShort” is short, sweet and just explains our mission well. After all, we want to cut short your long winding path to the right jobs or candidates. Really short.

It took us about 10 days to rebrand our system. And it will give us an extra 10 minutes in our conversation with users. Not a bad bargain.

What should we use those extra 10 minutes for? How do you find CutShort? Eager to hear your thoughts!

 

 

 

Our hiring hacks

Like many of you, we have spent a fair time in hiring & faced several challenges. So many calls, so many meetings – all have yielded nothing. But recently we were able to hire someone in just 3 days flat, from start to finish. Upon reviewing the process we discovered some hiring hacks that we inadvertently used.

(Thanks Tarun Markose from Teemac for prodding into it and making us answer our own questions!)

  • We had done our homework. We knew exactly what the role was about and what qualities to look for. Not only me or Anubhav or Vinit. All of us had a clear idea of the impact this role will bring about. It’s amazing how fast you can move with your hiring when all your stakeholders have 100% clarity of the role.
  • We had set right expectations: We recently wrote an open letter to all prospective employees and the gamble paid off. Yes, it has turned away 90% of candidates, but has got applications from those who fit our culture better. The blog also sets an expectations of high level of transparency and honesty from both sides. Pretensions are checked in at the door.
  • Brand awareness: This was critical. Over a period of time, we have been able to establish our brand and company values. Bonus points if your potential hires have used your product and have had a positive experience with it.

Energized with this hiring, we took a longer look at our hiring process and laid down these rules:

  • Don’t hire for the status, hire for the trajectory. This means choosing people who are smart, hungry and have a point to prove. Not necessarily from IITs or big brand companies.
  • Don’t hire if your gut says no: Many times we were tempted to hire experienced people who struck the right chords, but were not really aligned with our vision.  We’re glad we didn’t give in to this temptation. Yes, one can always fire them later, but that’s a high risk gambit that we avoid.
  • Don’t over-convince people: By your means, sell them your vision and try to get them excited. But after a point, just stop. If you have to convince them too hard, they are unlikely to stay with you for too long anyway.

So what are your hiring lessons?

Why we didn’t raise funding early on

 

race-for-funding

Are you guys funded?

Everyone loves to ask this question. People at startup events, college buddies on WhatsApp groups and even co-passengers on flights.

And sure, I get it. In the world littered with umpteen startups, funding reflects a certain external validation and “seriousness” of your venture. So nothing wrong with this question, really. But what gets to my nerves is the way the conversation goes next:

I: No, we are bootstrapped.

The guy: Uh oh. Yeah, funding is a big problem these days.

Wait a minute. I only said we are bootstrapped.  Did it automatically imply that we failed at raising funds? Is raising funds the only way to build a startup?

Of course not. There are many successful startups that bootstrapped to success including the likes of Mailchimp and GitHub. But these are heady startup days and most people equate “funding” with “success”. In an emotional post recently, Sumanth Ragahvendra put it this way:

We no longer care about what a startup has achieved or aims to do, the problems it solves, the benefits it provides or the impact it has had.

We only care about one thing — how much funding has a startup raised. And that amount determines where you are slotted in the startup caste system…

At SocialHelpouts, we decided to skip raising funds early on. Our product idea could be applied to many markets and we were not sure which one would work out better. And even after choosing a market (“network hiring”), our biggest task was to figure out what problems we would solve best for which segment of that market.

At early stage, our biggest task was to choose a market, test it and find our sweet spot. Funding was not going to do it for us – we had to do it ourselves.

So in last 10 months, we evaluated different markets problems and experimented with different solutions to tackle them. We played with positioning and tried different ways of acquiring our users. Along the way, we worked on creative initiatives such as easyConnects, helping laid off employees form PubMatic and Foodpanda and doing highly focused hiring events such as JoinTheRocketship. These things not only helped us test different approaches to solving problems but also helped us identify our own strengths and weaknesses as a team.

Yes, angel funding exists to solve exactly this purpose. But finding a good angel can still take months and cause distraction away from the much needed customer discovery process. We had sufficient funds of our own that we found more convenient to dip into.

But let me add some caution – bootstrapping can be hard. Expenses on even simple things like hosting and office space can add up quickly. The reasons we have been able to do this are:

We had a lean and cross functional team: We have had only 3 full time employees to cover the entire gamut of operations – development, marketing and support. We all believe in our mission and are happier with more equity than cash.
We had sufficient funds to last 12+ months: This is not about just surviving 12 months. You should be able to provide a great experience to your users. For instance, we spent a disproportionate amount on our website infrastructure, customer experience (Intercom!) and an air conditioned office that kept our team productive.
There was a tangible path to revenue: We were operating in a proven market with a clear revenue potential (hiring companies). Companies will pay for a hiring product that helps them hire, there was never a doubt about that. To at least survive, we just had to build a decent enough product.

Your situation might be different. May be you need to raise funds early or may be you need not. But whatever you do, please don’t just assume you need funding because everyone’s seems to be raising it.

What do you think? Do you think startups are focusing more on getting funded than working on achieving product-market fit?

 

An open letter to people who are interested in joining our team

First of all, thank you for showing interest in joining us and even more importantly, reading this post.

In this post, let us candidly answer a few things we typically discuss with most people in our first call. We hope it will help you decide if you really want to join our team.

Is CutShort a job board?

No. CutShort is one single place for your professional growth. We let you find jobs, attend relevant online events, discover recommended services, find mentors and so on. All of this have one common thread – we cut out all the noise to give you the right results.

What’s our secret sauce? Well, we use Aritficial Intelligence, gamification techniques and network intelligence AND tons of unconvential creativity other startups just can’t copy.

Like LinkedIn, SocialHelpouts is open and free for everyone to use.

Our current status (aka traction)

We have users from 1600+ companies from across 10+ cities who are hiring on our platform. These include bigger companies such as Microsoft, Paytm, Veritas, Time and MakeMyTrip and premium startups such as HackerRank, BrowserStack, Amazon, NowFloats & so on.  Our current network size is close to 1mn and user growth rate is really exploding with $0 spend on advertising and marketing.

Our financials

We are proudly bootstrapped. That means we have deliberately not raised funds. Why? We explained it here. In a nutshell, we have focused on just one thing – making a winning product that solves the problems of our users. It also has made us work smarter and avoid throwing cheap money at every possible problem.

And this seems to be paying off. of Nov’16, we are close to becoming profitable and plan to put all the profits back in the user growth and R&D.

Kind of people we look for

We are very selective about people we hire. In fact, we have only hired 2 out of well over 200+ people we have talked to.

Beyond your job specific skills, we look for people who are ambitious and fearless. People who may not be from IITs, but think they are just as good as them. People who aspire to build successful products and globally recognized companies.

What will CutShort offer me?

We are a small but highly creative & productive team. With us you will:

  • Get 10 times better in your interest area: Get to do everything on your own. Brainstorm with the team and get complete freedom to implement your ideas.
  • Learn how to build a kickass product and a solid startup: We are a lean startup and routinely hack together side projects that solve a specific problem. See an example here. You will learn how to validate, build upon and scale new product ideas.
  • Unmatched compensation: We have decided to cap salaries of all our team members to 30K per month. To compensate for the risk, we offer unmatched stock options to all our employees. This is a simple calculation to calculate your stock options:

Your current market salary: 8 Lacs
Your salary at SocialHelpouts: 3 Lacs
Salary cut per year: 5 Lacs
Salary cut over 4 years (assuming 10% increment each year): 5 + 5.5 + 6.05 + 8.64 = 27 Lacs
Minimum stock options value: 27 Lacs
Multiplier to adjust for "startup risk": 4
Stock option to be given worth: 27 * 4 = 1.08 Crore

ESOPs are highly risky but we believe our “profit first” approach along reduces the risk in realizing this amount enormously.

What is your tech stack?

As a fast growing startup, our tech stack will rapidly evolve as we gain scale and add more capabilities. Currently, we use Node.js, Express, Python, Angular.js, nginx, MongoDB/Redis and host everything on Amazon EC2 cloud. In near future, we expect to invest heavily in data science and machine learning technologies.

Are we missing a question? Post it as a comment below!

Interested? See all our open jobs on this page: https://socialhelpouts.com/company/socialhelpouts

Startup hiring: How is SocialHelpouts different?

Startup hiring is hard. Not because there are not enough hiring solutions but because they deliver more noise than actual results.

For example,  it is not uncommon to get 100+ applications on job posted on say LinkedIn, Naukri or HasJob. But most of these are irrelevant or come from fence-sitters. No wonder that one of the startups hiring on SocialHelpouts reports a ratio of 600 applications to 1 hire!

We have designed SocialHelpouts to make startup hiring easy and efficient. Here’s how:

  • Smart matchmaking

startups hiring made easy with a strong matchmaking

SocialHelpouts heavily uses matchmaking to suggest only the jobs or candidates that fit your needs.  This saves time and increases the quality of interactions that get initiated on the platform.

  • No spam. No frivolous messages.

Thanks to our unique credit system, a user can initiate conversations with only a limited number of people. So,  a candidate can only reply to a handful of jobs and an employer can only contact a limited number of candidates. This cuts down on noise drastically.

  • Referrals from your entire network

startups hiring on SocialHelpouts get referrals from their entire network

SocialHelpouts unifies ALL your existing connections on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. This means a candidate can find mutual friends across different social networks. For a hiring startup, it means not only your current employees but your entire network may introduce an interested candidate to you.

  • Unleash the power of your trusted network

Network recommendations- the key part of startup hiring

SocialHelpouts gives you valuable intel when someone in your network starts looking for new opportunities or recommends a candidate that matches your needs.

But that’s just a start. Startups can also involve their trusted network of friends, colleagues, investors and mentors in hiring.  With SocialHelpouts, these users can easily recommend and refer interesting candidates without doing a lot of hard work. It’s like putting referrals on  autopilot.

Result? We have happy users such as Gaurav Misra from Letsintern.com, who was able to close a critical hiring in just half a day.  Or Abhimanyu Bhosale from LiveHealth who was able to hire 4 key employees in just 2 weeks. Or Gaurav Sava from Adkarlo who closed 2 key positions within 2 weeks of using SocialHelpouts.

Try it yourself and let us know how can be improve: http://socialhelpouts.com

Meet the SocialHelpouts team!

Hello,

Great to see you reading about us. 🙂

We will keep it short and direct. On the right it’s me (Nikunj) and on the left is Anubhav. Individually, we have had very different paths but are united by one goal – to build products that are useful and delightful while always upholding the trust that people put in us.

team

Your time is precious, so we would skimp on our personal details. But we would love to engage with you – just click the links below.

Why did we build SocialHelpouts?

Like you, we had an awesome group of friends but often failed to get their help when we needed it. In our experience of hiring or finding jobs in particular, we found the process cumbersome and ineffective. Social networks should have made it easy but with all those viral videos and vacation photos, the signal/noise ratio is too daunting.

SocialHelpouts is a natural response to this noise. You should be able to use your entire network – no matter which social networks have your connections. Helping your friends connect with your other friends should be effortless, effective and automatic.

A personal promise

Unlike many social apps out there that overzealously spam your friends (Farmville and Candy Crush: we are looking at you!), we will always ask you for explicit permission before writing anything to your friends. You can really trust us on that.

We would be delighted to hear your thoughts, feedback and even more importantly – criticism. Without that SocialHelpouts just can’t become an awesome service that we’ve set out to create.

Nikunj & Anubhav