There’s nothing sweeter than the moment when you’ve launched your business, it has taken off well, and you can’t seem to get enough of that entrepreneurial life. But eventually, to expand your operations and revenue, you have to let go of the urge to do everything yourself.
To take your business to the next level and remain competitive, you’ll need a helping hand from someone who’s an expert in something that you haven’t figured out all by yourself. That will enable you to focus on making important decisions and work on other things that impact your business heavily.
But hiring someone to handle something that is so close to you and impacts your livelihood can be a scary thought and sometimes demotivate you from making that move. However, there are no two ways about it: to get more done and hit those ambitious revenue targets, you will need some extra hands to help.
Hiring your very first employee is a big step and comes with a huge responsibility. There’s more to it than just finding the perfect fit. That extra hand entails a string of certain obligations that depend on many factors, like the nature of the job and your business’s culture, among others.
Here are some tips to help you get started
- Don’t make hasty decisions
Taking responsibility as crucial as this as a burden could land you and the other party in a rather unpleasant situation.
Your business’s first employee is instrumental to the success of your business, so make sure you’re hiring the right person. They are a deciding factor in setting the tone of your workplace culture, and if their personal goals take precedence over your business’, then your business is headed for a disaster.
Invite applications and carefully vet and screen them. Present them with situational questions to gauge how they would respond in complicated situations.
Plus, look for someone who you think you’ll be able to trust with difficult decisions. While it can be slightly difficult to find that out at the outset; do some self-talking and make sure you’ll be comfortable standing behind someone who impacts your business.
- Hire for a job that you’re not good at
Candidates who promise to be good at all kinds of jobs can sometimes be irresistible, but people often misjudge the extent to which they are good at each job they promise to carry out effectively during hiring.
When you hire someone for a role that you’re not good at, it will become easier to delegate tasks easily.
One more thing you should focus on is how resourceful they are. You’ll need someone with alternate solutions that you could use when it gets challenging to sail through stressful times.
- Prefer capability over pedigree
When companies like Google and Microsoft have eased the hiring restrictions, small businesses should follow a similar route. Because having the right degree and track record for similar positions doesn’t guarantee success.
Give someone who doesn’t fit into all that but shows all the signs of great potential and the ability to learn new tasks, a chance. If you can’t visualize them being a part of your amazing business full of bumpy rides, you’ll not want to take a chance with such candidates.
A new hire who wouldn’t respond swiftly to dynamic situations won’t help you much. Make sure they possess that essential problem-solving grit.
Hiring a candidate with potential presents you with an opportunity to work with their willpower and motivation to upskill. This two-pronged approach will help your new hire grow into their real potential and, in return, the candidate will reward you with the utmost care for your business and a commitment to try their best to take your venture to new heights.
- Only let-in someone who understands and loves your product
If they’re not passionate enough about your product, then they’re not the one. The single most significant element to look out for in a candidate should be their genuine care for your product and service, and their ability to envision themselves in that environment n number of times a week.
Their enthusiasm for your business can overcome any lack of skills, experience, or a professional degree.
- Run a test for cultural fit
In the last few years, the focus has dramatically shifted from hiring based on skillset to hiring candidates that fit well in your company culture. Ask yourself pressing questions that will set the tone of your workplace environment. If the foundations are not set well, the business at later stages could become a pandora’s box full of unstable people who could derail your business.
If you haven’t thought about how you’d like the culture of your business to be, do the homework. You can take the help of a psychometric test to assess and identify key personality traits to hire the right cultural fit. And if you already have the answer, see if the potential candidates will fit in nicely and help you foster that culture.
- Discuss the hire with all stakeholders
Unless your business is bootstrapped, you’ll be obliged to involve the investors and your mentors in the hiring process to get their input and incorporate their decisions to learn from their experience and avoid any gaps that you may fail to notice.
While it could sound like an unpleasant stage of the process, being on the same page will help you avoid any unnecessary friction in the business later.
- Set clear expectations, have a probation period and give proper training
Employees during the interview stages can be experts at hiding their true selves, which can later put your entire business in trouble. So make sure you set a probation period of a few weeks, if not months, to judge their true disposition and working capabilities.
Along with that, let them know about your expectations from the start and where you’d want them and your business to be by X time. And don’t forget to equip them with resources and proper training to achieve those goals.
Whether the training is elaborated on paper or 1:1s once weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly, make sure it’s all written. It should include all aspects of their job.
- Don’t forget to schedule 1:1 review meetings every once in a while
A business just doesn’t keep going blindly without everyone minding their own business once they’re hired. Everyone needs direction if they’re lost or have strayed from their role, get warnings if they’re performing poorly, and rewards for outstanding performance.
Develop policies based on rules and regulations for all the situations before hiring your first employee. And post-hiring, let the candidate know about the frequency of meetings to discuss their performance.
- Fulfil all the legal obligations
The hiring process will come with a bunch of legal tasks that you’ll have to take care of. So, be prepared to do all of that paperwork to avoid any trouble.
Here are some of the obligations (however, it’s not an exhaustive list) :
- Background check: Run a criminal background check on potential hires.
- Tax liabilities: This would include making sure of their eligibility, determining tax withholding, etc.
- Employee benefits: You are not obliged to give benefits, but there are rules and regulations if you consider doing so.
- Keep an eye on your finances
Check your books to make sure your first hire doesn’t cost you a fortune. See how much you can afford in salary and employee benefits. Your new employee will help you grow and improve your business, but that might not happen right away.
You may also consider offering equity in the case of a venture-funded business. And don’t forget to calculate hiring costs beforehand. You’ll need to invest that money in hiring, payroll taxes, and training to get your first hire up and running.