You might be doing fine running your business solo now, but there will come a time that you need to have another person on your team. Hiring the first employee for your startup is a crucial step. Hiring the wrong person can hinder your growth and even derail your operations, but when you hire the right person for the job, you can finally achieve the goals you couldn’t reach as a one-person team.
Naturally, hiring your first employee can seem like a daunting task, but it’s not as difficult as you think it is. With these tips, you can hire the best first employee for your startup:
1. Use the proper tools
Where are you going to find your pool of candidates? How are you going to assess applicants? What type of pre-employment skills test are you going to use? Determine the kind of tools you would need to find the best candidate for the job to go about the hiring process as efficiently as possible.
2. Hire someone before you need them
Rushing the hiring process can be a costly mistake, so avoid it at all costs. If you can afford it, hire someone before you need them. This will give you enough time to choose the best candidate, orient them about your business, and train them on their tasks. Otherwise, you can end up with an employee that doesn’t turn out to be the best fit for your company.
3. Prioritize passion and potential over experience
A candidate’s experience and qualifications are essential factors. Still, if they don’t really care about your business, you’re just going to be disappointed when you realize they are not as passionate about your mission as you are. That said, hire someone who shares the same passion as you and has the potential to grow instead of someone who has a flashy track record. Even if they lack the experience that other higher-qualified candidates have, choose someone who can learn from your company, grow with it, and, hopefully, stay loyal for years to come.
4. Choose someone who can address your weaknesses
It’s tempting to hire someone that excels in the same areas that you do because over time, they can be the ones to take over while you focus on other aspects of your business. However, remember that you’re hiring your first employee. Do you need another you to run the business? Probably not. So instead of hiring someone with the same skills as you, choose a candidate that can help you with your weaknesses.
For example, if you’re not that good at speaking to clients, hire someone with the charms to do it for you. If social media is not your forte, find a social media marketing specialist. Your first employee should not be a carbon copy of you but rather a person who can help balance things out.
5. Be careful when hiring someone you know
For many entrepreneurs, the first instinct is to hire someone that they know personally. But unless you have worked with that person before and understand how they do things, you can’t be sure if they will be a good fit for your startup. So if you’re thinking of hiring a friend or a family member, be extra careful. Not only can this affect your business, but it can make your relationship awkward in case the set-up doesn’t work out.
6. Test their skills or aptitude
It’s easy to fake one’s way through an interview. You’ve probably done it before yourself. So aside from the interview, test your applicant’s skills or aptitude to determine if they are fit for the job. For example, if you are hiring an operations manager, give them a specific scenario and ask them how they will handle it without your help. If you are hiring a customer service person, do a mock call and see how they will handle the situation.
Whatever exercise you decide to use, it will give you a better insight into the applicant’s skills, aptitude, and knowledge. Moreover, it will help cut down time wasted on applicants that are under-qualified for the job but decided to apply anyway.
Hiring your first employee is both an exciting and scary experience. You don’t know for sure if they will be a great fit for your company until you take them on board. But to reduce the risk of choosing the wrong candidate, refer to these strategies before you start looking for people.
Are you planning to hire your first employee for your startup? If you have questions, don’t hesitate to leave them in the comments below!