How to Hire Your First Employee

Being a one-man show works great when your business is small. You have a lot of flexibility regarding scheduling, building your brand, even where you set up your office. Then growth happens, and you find that it isn’t as easy to keep up with everything and you have way too many balls in the air to juggle yourself. Then it hits you — it might be time to hire your first employee. Are you at that crossroad? Not sure? This guide will help you decide if the time is right and provide some tips for finding the right talent for your business.

Are you ready to hire your first employee?
There are some tell-tale signs that will help you decide if you need another set of hands.

You find you have to turn away work. Of course, it stands to reason that if you don’t have more work than you can handle or at least adequate work that would warrant hiring someone, then it isn’t time. However, if you are turning away work, then you may need to take a closer look at your needs because it just might be time to take that step.

Are your customers feeling neglected or are they unhappy? Customer complaints can be a great tool for identifying needs within your organization. If your customers are starting to complain, it could be an indication that you can’t handle your current workload on your own and it may be time to hire some help.

You have found or are considered implementing a potential new stream of revenue. Maybe your existing work is at a level you can manage, but you have identified another revenue stream that you could hire someone to handle. This could mean adding another product or service, branching out to a new industry, or targeting a new market.

You have found expansion. Maybe you’ve decided to open a new office or want to start an e-commerce site for your brick-and-mortar establishment. These are all great opportunities for increased profit, but they also require an extra set of hands. You can’t do it all on your own, so hiring someone to help you out and even handle the expansion can help tremendously.

Not quite ready to hire? You have options.
Sometimes you need help in your business, but you aren’t quite ready to commit to hiring an employee. That’s okay. If you need an extra hand, there are a number of options available. Outsourcing certain tasks can take some pressure off of you without having to hire an employee. A virtual assistant can be a huge help for many administrative duties, and you don’t even have to give them a desk or office space since it is all done online. Contractors through services like Upwork can help out on various projects. So, if you aren’t ready to hire, this can help in the interim.

How to hire an employee.
As a solo business owner, you wear many hats — manager, admin, sales, and more. When you decide to hire your first employee, you also become the recruiter and human resource manager. This means that you add those duties to your task list as well. You will have to post the job, review the candidates, schedule the interviews, conduct the interviews, check references, negotiate salary, set up benefits, training, and all the other onboarding tasks that a human resources department does in a larger firm. It can seem overwhelming, but it is doable with a little structure.

  • Strategize your hiring process. What tasks are you struggling to complete? Where do you need help? List the things you would like your new employee to do and quantify it to determine if you need one person or more and if you should hire a full-time or part-time employee.
  • Write the job description and post it online. Use your list to create a job description. Be as specific as possible, listing every task individually. Next, post it on a job site like IAW and boost on social media to get the word out.
  • Screen your candidates. Read resumes and cover letters to see who seems a good fit and who doesn’t. This allows you to narrow your pool of applicants, so you don’t have to interview every single one.
  • Interview your top three to five candidates. Once you’ve narrowed the applicants down to just a few, begin your interviews. Make a list of questions that you want to ask your candidates to determine if they are right for the job. This is also a good time to discuss expectations.
  • Make your choice. When you make your choice, take into account not only how good they look on paper, but also how you got along with them at the interview. This is particularly important if you will be working closely with each other. You need someone you can get along with.
  • Take care of the legalities. Your attorney can help you assemble the right paperwork such as your employer identification number, labor department registration, and workers’ compensation insurance. Your accountant can help with the I-9, W4, and payroll system.
  • Onboard your new employee and get started. Put together an employee handbook with information on their job and your company. Give them time to acclimate and provide training on software, business practices, and other areas of knowledge that they need.

Think you’re ready to hire your first employee? Connect with the IAW network to find somebody that might be a great fit for your job. Visit the IAW site today to get started.

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