7 Essential Tips When Hiring Your First Employee

In the early stages of starting a business, most people are working independently, over long hours and performing several roles. While this is a great way to get things off the ground with minimal expenditure and to keep the business aligned to your vision, as the business grows this set-up can become unsustainable.

When the business gets busier, and you’re in a more financially stable position, you should consider taking on your first employee to both lighten the load and expand your capacity. This could not only benefit the business but should also give you some time to take care of your own mental and physical health which is probably long overdue.

When the time comes, here are seven essential tips to help your first hire run as smoothly as possible.

1. Start recruiting as soon as possible

Hiring under pressure is rarely the best way to get the right person for the job, so start the recruitment process as soon as you can. You will need to create a job advert with a description of the role (see point 2) and interview several candidates, possibly more than once.

Even when you’ve hired someone, they are likely to need to give notice at their current position and may need training before they are up to full-speed for your business. 

2. Create a clear job specification

Make sure you’ve given your job advert careful consideration before posting it as it will help you to focus on what’s essential in a candidate and what is not. For example, if you need someone who can work flexible hours and weekends to cover you, this needs to come across in the description.

Is their personality and work ethic more important than having experience? If so, maybe don’t specify that experience is needed. The better your description of the role and what will be expected of the person, the better the quality of the applicants.

3. Consider your management style

You should also think about whether or not your management style is likely to be compatible with them. You don’t want to advertise for someone who is an independent worker if you are likely to be monitoring them very closely, and if you take a more hands-off approach, you may not be the best manager for someone who relies on praise and regular feedback.

4. Preparing for sickness or accidents

You may need to find insurance as an employer such as cheap workers comp insurance which will protect both your business and the employee in the event of an accident, illness, or death should they occur while working for you. If there is an issue, the employee and/or their family would be financially covered without financially impacting the business. You should also consider how much vacation you are legally obliged/prepared to offer as well as how you will manage absence through sickness, e.g. will you provide sick pay?

5. Think about performance reviews and disciplinary processes

It’s important to consider how you will manage the employee’s performance standards. For example, if they are not performing their role to satisfactory standards, how will you approach this? You need to have a written policy from the beginning, which outlines what is not acceptable behavior such as excessive absenteeism or inappropriate conduct. On the other hand, how will you acknowledge and reward positive performance? Make sure these policies and processes are in place from the beginning.

6. Carry out background checks

If your employee were to break the law while working for you, then this could have disastrous consequences for your company. While you can’t predict the future, you can mitigate the risk by finding out if a prospective employee has a past of criminal activity by carrying out a background check. This can be done via an insurance provider, a lawyer or the local police authority. The applicant will need to provide written consent for you to carry out this check.

7. Write a training policy

When you have hired your first employee, their training can begin. This could take many forms such as one-to-one shadowing or the reading of a training manual, but it’s essential that both you as the employer and the employee are clear about what is expected of both parties.


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