Talent Acquisition

Hiring Tips for Founders: An Interview With Sid Baveja, Founder and CEO of Humanery

Sid Baveja, CEO of Humanery

Hiring. A challenge each and every startup comes up against, from building an employer brand and finding the right candidates to making sure your business remains cost-effective throughout the whole process.

It’s not easy, to say the least.

Luckily, there are founders out there whose experience and skill translate into some amazing advice to help you on your journey.

One such person is Sid Baveja, the CEO and founder of Humanery, an online marketplace for men’s grooming and self-care products. Baveja has also worked as a commercial leader at Just Eat, a director of sales and international expansion at Viagogo, and an investment banker.

Naturally, Baveja’s impressive background means there’s plenty to unpack.

Without further ado, let’s dive right in!

Before we talk about the challenges of hiring, what’s your founding story?

The story of Humanery was inspired by a personal challenge during the tail end of the pandemic. When the world’s crumbling around you and you feel like you have no control, you turn your focus to your loved ones and yourself.

This meant I started taking self-care more seriously and realised there was a glaring gap in the market. Men’s self-care products exist, of course, but they’re not all in one place that customers can access.

I knew there were guys like me out there, guys who were interested in self-care but felt like traditional beauty had a very feminine focus. I wanted them to have a destination, so I set out to create an online marketplace model that targets a more masculine need for self-care products – Humanery.

Tell us a little bit about Humanery’s mission, please.

Our mission is threefold. First, we want to make the discovery and access to these amazing products more available. Second, we aim to educate men on self-care. Many men have the desire to engage in personal care but don’t really understand how these things work.

If you ask them if they wear SPF every day, which is one of the basics when it comes to protecting your skin, they say “no” because it’s not sunny outside. This is why education is a big one.

Finally, we want to give people an incredible shopping experience that makes everything seamless and easy.

Altogether, our mission is to move away from the idea that self-care is only for the feminine user. Let’s normalise that beauty is for male users, too.

How did you go about hiring your first ten people?

It was a combination of finding people through my previous network and approaching people on various online networks like LinkedIn.

First, I opened up a sort of consulting project. I wanted to be fair to people who were joining at a very early stage and mitigate risk for both parties, so I started out by hiring people as contractors or consultants. This way, they could walk away without any issues.

Two days a week turned into four, which turned into full-time employment. I’m really enjoying how the team’s growing.

Was there anything that you’d change looking back, anything that didn’t work with that specific approach?

We did get a few things wrong, and as a result, we codified three things we always look for in any potential new team member.

Number one, curiosity and a desire to learn. We want people who keep trying new things, pivot if something doesn’t work, and don’t necessarily rely on pre-existing playbooks.

Number two, speed. The world we live in moves fast, and the unique value we have as a business is that we move drastically faster than the large incumbents when it comes to providing services to vendor brands. We look for people who love speed and fast movement.

Number three, the ability to take true ownership and accountability. In a startup, you have to be open to picking things up where you see a need and driving the company toward an outcome. We find missionaries, not mercenaries.

What are your biggest pain points in relation to hiring in general?

The first pain point is just getting the word out there, letting the world know that you’re hiring for a so-and-so role. Half the battle is the employer brand – if it’s really strong, people will gravitate toward you.

The second pain point is being able to convince good-quality talent to come join you at prices that aren’t always the “market rate”. As a startup, you don’t have a lot of cash to pay, so you incentivize new joiners with employee stock options and equity, which helps them see the upside in the business’s success.

But the key is an emotional hook as opposed to one that’s number-driven. You want people to see the long-term picture.

If you could go back to day one, what advice would you give yourself when it comes to scaling and hiring?

Don’t wait to find good people. My business has grown much faster after good people have joined as opposed to my trying to do everything on my own and with a small team. Cheap hiring won’t save you money in the long run.

My second piece of advice is to constantly maintain a pipeline of great people to fill roles as and when they open up. This way, you won’t always have to start from scratch.

If you had a magic wand, what problem would you fix in hiring?

That’s a fantastic question. I think the first and only problem I’d want the magic wand to solve is the pipeline of strong candidates.

My boss and my CEO at Viagogo used to

say in jest, “The best people are usually not available.” This is because they’re doing well in the jobs they already have.

I think this is the number one challenge when it comes to hiring fantastic people.


Thanks for reading! To see the full interview, click here. Don’t hesitate to check out Humanery or follow Sid Baveja on LinkedIn.

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