It's a major milestone in the life of your business: hiring your first employee. Whether you've been a one-person operation until now or if it has been you and your partners, there is no doubt that a new hire can have a massive impact on day to day operations.
Here are a few tips to consider when you are planning to make your first hire that will see you through the process successfully.
Consider beginning with support
One of the best choices for a first employee is to hire someone to handle support. In most cases, this will be a customer support position. Having an employee who is dedicated to serving your customer's support needs will free you to focus on the other important aspects of running your business.
Consider tapping into your customer base
A customer who is passionate about your products or services can be a welcome asset to your organization. It can also make the training period go smoothly since they will already be familiar with the ins and outs of your product or service. They will naturally convey their admiration and appreciation for your product to the public.
Any shortcomings that your new hire may have in terms of experience can easily be overcome through their passion, as they are likely to be more teachable and understanding when it comes to your own inexperience dealing with employees.
Hire someone trustworthy
The first few employees you hire will be working very closely with you. As such, they may have access to very sensitive knowledge about your business or money. You'll want to make sure that you can trust these people. Ask plenty of questions during the interview and if you feel for any reason they are being less than honest with you, trust your instinct and keep looking.
Avoid hiring your friends or family
Of course, there are exceptions. But in most cases friends and family make poor choices for first employees. Given their closeness to you, they may be less inclined to take direction from you which can lead to awkward situations.
Don't be afraid to look beyond your local area
If the position you are looking to fill is one that requires a high degree of special knowledge or experience, you may need to cast your net a little wider than your local talent pool. A website like Gumtree can make the search for the perfect employee much simpler.
Don't rush the process
If your search doesn't turn up any suitable candidates at first, don't assume that you have to settle for less than the ideal employee. There is plenty of talent available, but the hiring process can take time. Rushing to hire the first person who comes along, no matter how unsuitable, could be a decision that you'll later regret.
Hire someone who is strong in the areas where you are weakest
Given that your business is still small, an employee whose strengths lie in areas where you may be weak can add much needed balance. For example, if you don't consider yourself a ‘people person,' hiring a friendly receptionist to charm clients and customers would be a great choice.
Hire someone who shares your vision
Working closely with an employee who has very different ideas of how your business should be run or the types of customers you should serve will make your working situation more uncomfortable than it needs to be. Someone who shares a similar temperament as yours and is on board with your vision and mission for your business will be a valuable asset to you.