So you’ve been working your butt off to grow your business and now you are ready to take things to the next level, right? That’s great. But where do you start? Before you start working even more hours than you already are, it might be time to think about onboarding your first employee. Hiring your first employee is going to be unlike the hiring experience for anyone else who comes into your company later on. Much of what goes on when you hire your first employee will be done “by the seat of your pants” and you’ll learn from each other as you go. To ensure your best chance of success, we’ve put together a list of things you should consider before posting that ad and scheduling interviews.
Look for the Gaps
One of the easiest ways to determine if you need an employee is to make a list of all the things that aren’t getting done in your business. You shouldn’t hire someone just to follow you around and pick up after you. Many small business owners make the mistake of hiring an “assistant” as the first employee in the company, but you’ll have much more success – and better candidates – if you have an actual role with actual job duties set out for the person you hire. Start by looking at what’s missing in your day-to-day operation, whether it’s because you can’t get to it, or because you don’t know how to do those things.
Write a Description
Don’t just tell people you are looking for an employee. Sounds funny, but sometimes people can’t be bothered to go through the motions. “We want to be loose and fun.” Well, that’s great if your job is to stand on a street corner, but this is a business and you need to be organized…and then loose and fun if you want. Create a proper job description so the person you are hiring knows what is expected of them. If for no other reason than to weed out the people you don’t want to hire, create a job description.
Share it and Post the Description Around
Don’t just hope that the right candidate is going to find you. You might have to do a bit of work to find someone who is the right fit for the job and your company. What looks good on paper is often not the case in real life. Ask people for referrals and encourage people from all walks of life to apply. You never know who you might find. Trying to find the right employee is often like looking for a needle in a haystack so be patient.
Have a Number in Mind
When you finally set up some interviews and start talking to candidates about the role, be sure to ask about what kind of salary they want. Be open-minded to what people believe their worth is, but also, don’t promise something you can’t deliver. Many startups burn their budget in short periods of time because they offer salaries that are ridiculous in the real world. If you can’t sustain a 6-figure salary for more than 3 years, don’t offer it. Negotiation is part of the package so if you think someone is worth more than you originally planned to pay, discuss it with them. A “some now and more later” agreement might be just what is needed to get top-tier candidates into your company.
Onboard and Train Your New Hire
Whatever you do, don’t leave your new employee to their own devices. It takes a lot of effort, time and let’s not forget, money, to onboard a new employee and you need to ensure they have what they need to succeed in the role you’ve asked them to take on. Without proper onboarding, you’ll be throwing money away and stalling your own progress. There are lots of ways to onboard an employee, and if you are not familiar with them, do some research. Be frank about your lack of knowledge, but work with your employee to help them get what they need so they can do a good job for you and your business.
Stick to the Job Description
Unless otherwise specified, don’t lay a ton of extra work on your new employee. If you have included “other duties as needed” start tracking those other duties so you can see when you need to hire another person. The fastest way to get someone to quit a job is to get them to do too much work or to get them to do work that was part of the original agreement. If you run an “all hands on deck” kind of operation that requires a special kind of person to be willing to jump in where and when they are needed. But if you’ve hired a social media coordinator and you expect them to do your taxes, you’ll be a company of one again in short order.
Your second hiring won’t be like your first. And your first hire will be able to give you a lot of feedback and advice as you prepare to hire your second employee, so take heed that you’ll only ever have to do this once. Stumble through it and encourage your employee to take the lead where they can. You’ll be off the races together in no time if you are open and honest about what you want and where you want to go