Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Stephanie Lynch from HowMuchIsIt. Her opinions are her own.
Congratulations! Your small business is booming, and you can now afford to hire an employee for the very first time. Perhaps you’re exhausted from wearing too many hats at once over the years or you need to hand off the time-consuming tasks to someone else. Maybe there are aspects of your business you don’t really understand and you would like to hire a specialist who does.
Whatever your circumstances may be, this isn’t something you will want to jump into too fast. To limit your risk of hiring the wrong person and dealing with the consequences down the road, there are eight things you should do before recruiting your first employee.
1. Figure out what you need
As a small business owner, you probably need a help with a lot of things – from running a social media campaign to answering the phones. But you can’t just post an ad that says, “I need an employee to help me do a bit of everything”!
Instead of being broad, pin it down and think of two to three specific tasks you will need to be done that are taking up too much of your time. For example, if you were running an e-commerce business, then you could say you need someone to help pack and ship. For a flooring company, you may need someone to help you gather the supplies, prep a workspace and help lay the flooring. From there, the more detailed you are with your job description, the more qualified the applicant will be.
2. Never settle – actively recruit
Today, if you post a job online, there’s a good chance you will get hundreds of resumes, especially if the job doesn’t require much in terms of experience and/or education. But unfortunately, many won’t qualify.
When you post this job, you probably already have the right employee in mind, but if you post your ad on the wrong job recruiting website or look in the wrong places, you may never find the perfect someone.
Aside from waiting for the resumes to come in, think outside the box and actively recruit by skimming resumes on LinkedIn and/or reaching out to other local businesses to see if they know of anyone who may be looking for a job. Hiring the wrong employee, according to Forbes, could cost you 30% of the employee’s first-year earnings.
3. Consider the potential
A good hiring manager will look at an employee’s past successes. But what many fail to ignore is the future potential.
While the evidence of the past can show you what kind of worker they are, the ability to see potential can make it that much easier to hire a future superstar. To find someone with a ton of potential, look for someone who has an interest/passion like yours, and of course, make sure they are good at what they do. By mixing passion and skills, you will likely find someone who can flourish as your company grows.
4. Make them demonstrate a skill
As I already mentioned, hiring a bad employee can cost your company quite a bit. To avoid this costly mistake, it’s important to make sure an applicant can prove what they say. Even if their resume looks perfect and they interview like a rock star, what happens if they can’t perform the tasks like you want them to?
Today, it’s so easy to BS your way into a job. To weed out these so-called professionals, have them prove it. For example, if you’re hiring a salesperson, ask them to sell you something on the spot. If you’re hiring a marketing manager, let them explain a strategy they would use to market a certain product. These results will be a lot more surprising than you think and should only take a few minutes of your time during the interview process.
5. The sooner the better
In most cases, so many founders of companies are reluctant to hire, even when it’s clear they are overworking themselves. As soon as you know you’re going to need to a new employee, start the hiring process, even if you feel you’re going to be tight with money at first. That extra “oomph” another person gives you in terms of work power may be totally worth it in the end. Otherwise, if you fail to act, it could take you weeks to perform tasks that only should have taken five days.
6. Interview together
If your business is shared with a partner, it’s always best to interview together. Since a company’s culture is so important, it’s best to see that everyone will get along together to avoid conflicts or those awkward quiet work meetings. Even if person A gets along with person C, it doesn’t mean person A and C will get along with person B. By interviewing together, you can share your thoughts together to make sure the new hire is a great choice.
7. Actively screen their background
Even if your potential hire meets your guidelines, what happens if they just served a 10-year jail stint for embezzlement? Is this someone who you would like to hire? A simple background screening test can cost less than $50 and can cover all your bases. In fact, some are even advanced enough to even include a personality test to get to know your candidate even more. While you can trust your gut, you will never know what their past looks like.
8. Create a policy
Since this will be a new hire, it’s important to establish a company policy before making it official. While you don’t need to write a 100-page handbook, it’s best, at least at a minimum, to include the company’s dress code, the benefits offered and the number of vacation and sick days you will offer. Make sure you let it be known during the process or else your new hire may question your management experience.
Hiring a new employee can be exciting, and yet, nerve wracking at the same time. Be prepared, plan it all out and try your best to find someone who shares your passion and work ethic. Growing your small business with a new person can be an enriching experience so be sure to enjoy it!