Hiring Employees for the First Time

Hiring your first employee(s) as a first-time employer can be a huge step for your business. Not only is there a sudden sense of responsibility (there’s nothing that says responsible quite like being in charge of another person’s livelihood!), it is a sign that your company is doing well and that it has merit. After all, your new employees will have turned down other job opportunities to come aboard your company, something that comes with a degree of risk.

Before bringing on your first employee(s), you need to understand that the hiring process entails a whole new series of challenges, liabilities, expenses, and legal obligations, among other things.

Hiring Isn’t All Sunshine and Rainbows

That’s not all, though. Hiring mismatches can bring about a high turnover rate, bad reputation, absenteeism, and higher costs for your company.

To help you navigate the often stressful and long-winded role of hiring your first employee(s), we have put together a number of key steps and precautions* you can follow and draw inspiration from. These will help you make more informed decisions and handle the hiring process better… it’s not as if you can pass the buck to HR just yet (you need to hire them first!)

*We are not going to cover the legal ramifications and considerations of bringing a new hire on board in this article.

1. Hiring sooner rather than later is better (if you can afford it…)

If you know you need a role filling, it is better to hire for it sooner rather than later. The caveat to this, however, is to only hire if your business can afford it. The last thing that you want is for your business to grow steadily and for it to remain a one-man operation.

Founders that are reluctant to hire, even when it is clear extra manpower is needed, end up regretting it later when they realize how much they didn’t get done while they were delayed handling tasks that a new hire could complete.

2. Look at potential, skills, and aptitude, not just education and track record

When hiring, it is important to look towards potential, not just evidence of past success, education, and grades. This is particularly important when you are making your first hire(s) because you will want to hire people who have the strongest genuine interests and passion for missions and causes that are similar to those of yours and your business.

Don’t be afraid to turn down applicants with master’s degrees and PhDs if you think a candidate with less education and/or experience may hold more potential in the long term.

3. Fully map out the organizational structure you want

You shouldn’t embark upon the hiring process while blind; it is important to know what sort of structure your business will have, even if it’s just a rough one. That way, you can visualize the roles and responsibilities that will need to be hired for, preventing you from hiring unsuitable and/or unnecessary employees, or hiring for certain roles too early.

A good way to do this is to create an org chart of the business structure you would like to create and the roles that this structure should include. Using org chart software with a variety of different functions, you can create fluid org charts that can be plugged into existing systems and populated with information that you can use during the hiring process.

4. Design an efficient onboarding process

Your onboarding process should be more than an hour’s informal conversation on your new employee’s first day. The more comprehensive and efficient your onboarding process, the better your new hire will feel about the job role and they will be more equipped to hit the ground running rather than being hesitant.

The ideal onboarding process is ongoing during your employees’ first few weeks in the job. Examples of how you can make an onboarding process better include delivering seminars and sessions that cover company culture, a single place of reference for internal policies and procedures, and the use of org charts to map out all other employees and what their roles are.  

As your company grows, the onboarding process will naturally grow more refined and substantive.

5. Have your legal affairs in order

Employment contracts. Minimum wage. Pensions. Workers’ rights. Taxes. Employers’ liability. These are just a few examples of the many things you need to research, be aware of, cover, prepare for, and more before you make your first hire.

We can’t stress enough how much we do not recommend even considering hiring your first employee(s) before you have all this nailed down. The fact is that not all hires work out, and the last thing you need is a legal headache if you need to terminate a new employee because they are unsuitable for the job, or worse.

Knowing that you are legally squared away means that you can focus on what matters most and potentially save a lot of time, money, and stress later on.

One Huge Step for Your Business

Your first hire(s) is a huge step for your business. It is important to take plenty of time to do things the right way. This will help ensure that your first employees will stick around for the long haul as some of the greatest investments your business will ever make.