Your business is now growing and it’s possible that the workload has increased, too. This means, it’s time to transform your one-man show. It’s not an option, it’s imperative. But that’s a good thing—you’re now scaling.
Hiring your first employee is an important milestone for your entrepreneurial career and you need to get it right. Setting off to a bad start when building your first “real” team can affect your business growth quite severely. It could result in poorly executed tasks, catastrophic business decisions, and wasted company finances.
Meanwhile, sifting through a plethora of applications without knowing exactly what you’re looking for can be a cumbersome task. So before you consider the step-by-step process to hiring an employee, you need to educate yourself with the “do’s” and “don’ts” when selecting your “right fit.”
Know the Role
This may sound obvious, but you’ll be surprised at how easy you can find yourself waffling when trying to explain the specifics of a position.
If you can’t explain the job description concisely, chances are, you’re unsure of what tasks you’d want the candidate to perform. Your employee will most likely carry out his or her position casually. After all, if the boss has no clue, then why should they go the extra mile to help your business grow?
Even before creating a job post, determine what tasks you require from a position, how often and at what extent. After all this, you will then get a good idea of how well each candidate can carry out the tasks at hand during your interviews.
Look beyond the Numbers
You see an applicant has a First Class degree, scored 99% in their qualification papers, and can speak five languages. Academic achievement may be an important box to tick off on your checklist. But it’s not the only thing you have to consider.
Aside from the qualifications, numbers, and impressive resume details, you need to ensure that the potential employee is a perfect fit for your company’s culture.
The only way you’re going to move forward as a company is if there’s a unified desire to succeed. Each person needs to sing off the same hymn and reflect your company’s values. This will guarantee a strong work ethic from your employee as he or she will have an “us”, rather than an “I” mentality.
During the recruitment phase, you should consistently reiterate your company’s values. That way, potential candidates are already knowledgeable about your brand’s concept before they’ve even started.
Keep in mind that, aside from the candidate’s great attitude, superb qualifications and appreciation of your company’s vision and mission, you’ll also want to hire someone with good personality that won’t be troublesome down the line. The last thing you need so early on in your entrepreneurial career is to deal with growth-inhibiting individuals.
Get a Job-Specific Demonstration
The truth is, applicants lie. Getting a job is competitive, so therefore, fabricating resumes and interview answers are normal and expected. That’s why you need to delve deeper when interviewing a candidate so that you can get a clearer indication of how well they can actually perform the required tasks.
During the recruitment phase, do test projects or let them handle job-specific situations through role play. If you’re hiring a salesperson, have the applicant sell you something. Perhaps your pen, mobile phone, or maybe you could sell them something and request feedback. If the applicants pick up on the curve balls you throw at them, put a positive check against their application to note their ability to recognise what makes a good or bad sale.
Just remember that an interview provides you the perfect opportunity to go beyond the candidate’s resume. Take advantage of this time.
Set an Appropriate Salary and Classification
Federal laws provide clear guidelines when it comes to paying and classifying a new employee.
If your employee is more likely to be a fresh graduate than a Chief Financial Officer, make sure that you are aware of your country’s labor laws. Don’t risk paying under minimum wage as it could give you a bad reputation at the very least, let alone face potential legal consequences.
And for tax purposes, you must categorize your employee appropriately by:
- Independent contractor
- Statutory employee
- Statutory non-employee
- Common-law employee
Each category comes with its own requirements, i.e. hours, privileges etc. Failure to classify your employee correctly can lead to fines. So be sure to do your research!
Implement an On-Boarding Process
To get your new-hire ready to hit the ground running from day one, you should implement a comprehensive on-boarding process that provides sufficient training and prep work.
Proper induction provides better opportunity to orient people about your company culture. You can also assign them a “homework” they could do or provide handbooks that communicate your company’s objectives so they can seamlessly ease into your business jigsaw.
Forget to Check References
It can be easier to neglect this step than to actually contact an applicant’s previous employers. If you make your decision based on the resume and/or interview, you might just be missing out on crucial information that can save you a lot of hassle in the long run. You’ll be surprised at what your applicant’s references have to say which could give you a better insight whether or not he or she is the one.
In any case, avoid asking questions involving personal issues, race, and disability. You only need to know if they are good for the job. The private information has nothing to do with how one can be a great employee.
Make Decisions without Consulting
If you have a co-partner or a fellow executive member, be sure to get their views on potential employees. As tempting as it could be to try and control all aspects of your business, it’s often wise to get a different perspective on matters such as recruitment.
Go a step further and ask your wider network of business contacts about the methods they use when employing someone or what candidate-traits, in their hiring experience, provide the best results.
Go with Your Gut
It’s difficult to ignore your gut instinct, but you have to condition your mind into standing firm and taking your time to deliberate over a decision.
Try these two tips to avoid completely listening to your gut instincts when hiring an employee:
- As “perfect” as the first interviewee may be, don’t be tempted to make an offer without seeing more candidates. You never know what you might have missed if you make a rash decision.
- Go beyond the interview. If your gut tells you that “candidate number one is perfect”, set another casual phone conversation to be sure. Again, hire only when you’re 100% aware of the facts.
And That’s It …
Once you follow all the do’s and don’ts, you’ll be well practiced when it comes to hiring your first employee. In fact, the above guide could be followed in all of your recruitment endeavours.