How to Make Your First Hire and What to Look For

7 simple tips for hiring your first employee

Hiring your first employee is a proud achievement for any business owner: you have grown your company and now you are ready to expand your workforce.

That said, the process can be more than a bit nerve-wracking for a novice.

And, so, here are seven simple, painlessly implemented tips to help ensure your first hire goes smoothly.  

  1. Put together a job description.

This sounds very basic, it’s true. But we have included it for a good reason: Composing your job description offers you an opportunity to think more deeply and holistically about what you will be seeking from a prospective employee as well as how you envision the parameters of the role in question.

How many hours a week will this require? What skillset will it be necessary for the employee to have in advance? What skills can they pick up on the job? How much of a pay differential are you willing to entertain for more or less experience?

These are all fundamental questions writing the job description can help you answer.

  1. Work out their pay.

While it may not be the first question a job applicant asks, pay is typically top of mind—which is completely understandable. You should obviously have some idea of this in advance, balancing your company’s needs and bottom line with the desire to attract solid talent.

To do this, check the going rate for similar jobs in similar industries. You will be competing for workers so knowing what the competition is offering gives you a good starting point. If it turns out you cannot meet or exceed the going rate, consider sweetening the pot with perks and benefits.

  1. Plan the perfect interview.

First, create a list of questions around the skills your new hire needs to be successful in the role.

Next, write out a list of potential questions. Don’t edit yourself but do try to organize them in a logical order. Once you have completed your list, answer the questions yourself. This not only helps you think about what you want to learn from each answer, but also further weeds out shaky or irrelevant questions.

Pro tip: Avoid giving away the answer. For example, rather than ask whether someone performs well under stress, ask what type of work environment they prefer.

  1. Advertise.

This is probably the simplest step for most people. With well-trafficked large job websites now the norm you should be able to post your vacancy online and get plenty of qualified candidates.

  1. Shortlist Resumes.

When you have a number of applicants, review their resumes. Be reasonable with your expectations. If, for example, you are offering a starting salary you should not be requiring five years of experience in the field.

Another important thing to remember is that a resume does not represent a whole person. If you are not sure whether to schedule an interview, see if you can set up a short phone call with an applicant beforehand to get a better sense of who they truly are.

  1. Set up interviews.

First, determine location. It’s all about setting the tone—a meeting in a conference room or your office will be more formal than one at a bar or restaurant. The best rule of thumb is simply to hold the interview in a space where both you and the prospective employee will be comfortable enough to have a real and open exchange that allows you to feel whether a rapport is there or not.

Run your list of pre-written questions, but don’t hesitate to go “off-script” if appropriate. You want a conversation and an exchange, not paint-by-numbers. Ask follow-up questions and take notes so you can remember what was said. There are no tricks to this step, it is about what you need in an employee so trust your gut. Be yourself. You want a candidate that can work with the “real” you.

  1. Select your candidate.

Finally, pick the person you believe will be the best employee. Enjoy the opportunity to make that offer and bring someone new into the fold. At the same time, be kind and let the applicants that did not get the job down gently.

To learn more about hiring a new employee, check out this guidance from the SBA.

Fund your future

Need a bit of a funding assist to get the working capital necessary to bring on new team members? A small business loan or business line of credit can help make your vision for tomorrow a reality today. Idea Financial, for example, offers up to $250,000 in working capital with a quick, hassle-free application and same day approval.

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