How to Hire Your First Employee

If you’ve decided now is the time to hire your first employee, the prospect might seem equally challenging as it is exciting, You’ve worked tirelessly to see your small business take off, working endless nights to stay above your bottom line and avoid becoming another startup statistic. It’s only natural for you to be concerned about who you entrust to take care of your fledgling business—you need to bring someone onboard who cares about your company as much as you do!

Feeling a little overwhelmed? Fear not. Armed with these tips on how to hire your first employee, you’ll be well on your way to “growing your business, increasing your margins, and placing the fate of your startup in trustworthy hands,” according to business lawyers at McQuarrie.

  • Consider Your Motives for Hiring

If you’re feeling inundated with work and wishing like you had a virtual assistant to streamline tasks, it’s easy to start frantically searching for staff members. Avoid putting out a premature job offer by considering which tasks you can easily automate. In the 21st century, countless business owners are turning to online scheduling, digitized secretaries, and outsourced payrolls. You might need to eventually bring these rolls in-house, but while you’re struggling to stay in the green, you should save money anywhere possible through online assistance. Your first employee should have a tangible role that nobody else could replicate. If you need help with a one-off job or project, like designing a company logo, think about hiring a temporary freelance worker until you need to fill a full-time position.

  • Scour the Best Talent

When you reach the conclusion that bringing on a team member is an absolute must, you’ll need to strategically scour the best talent you can find. Larger companies might be able to hire a recruiter to find well-qualified leads, but for now, you’ll have to put in the elbow work. Start with free sites like Craigslist that don’t require money for you to post a classified, but expect to have your inbox flooded with emails from candidates who didn’t fully read through the role’s responsibilities. To attract more qualified candidates, turn your sites to platforms like LinkedIn or Glassdoor where professionals are actively seeking to grow their careers. In order to avoid wasting time with pointless interviews, make sure the job description clearly identifies the expected qualifications, skill sets, and daily duties.

  • Vet all Your Candidates

You’ve crafted a well-written job posting and the applications are pouring in. Your next step is to filter through that stack of resumes to narrow down candidates who meet your qualifications and level of experience. Once you have a batch of seemingly good prospects, you’ll need to vet all applicants with pre-employment screening. By conducting a pre-employment background check, you could discover some potentially alarming information that saves you from hiring a bad bet. Criminal histories and poor financial track records are not traits you want in your first employee—especially if your business deals with cash or sensitive data. If you’re drowning in work, you might feel pressured to hire quickly and extend the job to the first person who seems fit, but don’t skip this step! Although you want to assume the best in everybody, it’s imperative you safeguard your small business by bringing on a team member who you can confidently trust.

  • Incentivize Your Offer

You’ve honed in on the top candidates who you feel good about offering a job. Their resumes are to the nines, they knocked their interviews out of the park, and they passed their background checks with flying colors. The next step to hiring your first employee is to illustrate why they should want to work for you versus the next guy in your industry. Attracting young talent is easier said than done, so you’ll need to incentivize your job offer to make it clear that your company is their best avenue for future success and fulfillment. If you can’t offer competitive salaries, try these strategies:

  • Offer benefits such as health insurance, paid time off, or a retirement savings plan
  • Incorporate flexible hours or remote work-from-home days
  • Cater lunch on Fridays or breakfast on Mondays to keep your employee happy and fed
  • Allow your staff to bring their dogs to work
  • Make a path to promotion clear and attainable
  • Foster a positive work environment in which employees feel eager and driven

Congrats! If you follow these steps closely, soon your small business will be a team of two. Just remember to keep these tips in mind when business starts to boom and you need to bring on your next employee!

Adam Torkildson