As an entrepreneur, you will be faced with situations where the decisions you take will affect you for years to come. Hiring and recruitment is one such critical decision. When I first started out, the very thought of hiring new people for my company was daunting enough. As a start-up, every hire, every recruitment could either make or break the deal. But how do you know the person you’re hiring is right for you? After all, you’re just a beginner testing the waters. And more often than not, the people you’re hiring are not much older than yourself! This makes it even harder. You could learn a lesson or two from Jack Welch, he believed-
“If you pick the right people and give them the opportunity to spread their wings and put compensation as a carrier behind it, you almost don’t have to manage them.”
However it is picking the “right people” that makes the difference. You should hire people who share the same passion as you to help you grow. The first employee you take on board will accompany you in your journey to the top; and since I have seen first hand how stressful this can be, I decided to make your job easier for you- I have come up with a few hints to guide you while hiring your first employee.
Ask Yourself the Right Questions
Throughout your career as an entrepreneur, you will need to ask yourself some questions, the answers to which you will find within yourself. While hiring your first employee, you need to ask yourself if you really need them.
Read this article: Brain Hacks to Make You a Better Entrepreneur
You may have been spending all your nights in the office, just trying to cope up with the workload. But that can’t be reason enough for taking on this responsibility! What is it exactly that you expect your employee to do? Do you want him to look after the slight affairs while you concentrate on the complex matters? Or do you want an expert on board to help you out? Lee Lacocca believed in this policy,
“I hire people smarter than me and I get out of the way”
Do you think hiring an employee will help you in the long run? If the answer is yes, only then should you proceed with recruitment.
Don’t Blindly Follow Your Instincts
I know of a few entrepreneurs who made the blunder of hiring someone because they “looked the part”. Now you have to accept the fact that it is really easy to trick an interviewer into believing you’re capable. The right clothes, the degrees and the right attitude can get one a job in a jiffy. But what one needs in a start-up is a dedicated employee with creativity, innovation, passion, willingness and resilience. Don’t judge a person by his resume, they’re mostly likely to contain inflated facts. You have to be able to trust your employees, and to do that you can carry out background checks on them to know more about their past. You must also screen them for substance abuse and make sure they’re able to abide by your codes of discipline. Better safe than sorry, and you simply cannot take someone at face value.
Most importantly, do not let yourself get carried away by track record. As a recruiter, you should be able to identify potential in others. You were offered a chance to prove yourself, why not do the same for others?
Examine Your Finances Before Taking the Plunge
You must realize that you’re not simply giving someone a job, you’re also taking responsibility of his livelihood. And let me tell you, this responsibility can quickly become a burden if you’re not ready for it. Apart from a salary, you will have to look at other expenses like office costs, mobile plans if any, travel expenses, software and other technical aspects and so on, and let’s not forget payroll taxes.
There’s no reason to lose hope just yet, in fact, if you look at a company like ReWork, it took them a year to stabilize themselves and hire their first employee. On the other hand, you can just go for the cheaper option- hiring freelancers or part time employees. There are hundreds of college students and other people looking for part-time jobs to support themselves. As Edwin Booz said,
“Often the best solution to a management problem is the right person”
And who knows, this right person may be a passionate freelancer who can contribute when and if you need him.
The Legal Side
If you thought you could just hire someone and wash your hands off the matter, think again. There are a lot of things to consider here. You must get an employer’s identification number or EIN. You also need to register with your state’s labour department. You need to be well acquainted with all the federal and state laws regarding employment before hiring someone. You must also fix your employee’s payroll beforehand, based on his position in the company and his value to you as an employer. There are certain aspects like sexual harassment, equal employment, medical insurance coverage, wage laws and hour laws which you need to familiarize yourself with. Any wrong step could result in an employee suing you, which, needless to say, is terrible for business.
For more details, you could look up this article called Hiring Your First Employee: 13 Things You Must Do
Ask for Advice
Steve Jobs went on record to say that,
“The secret of my success is that we have gone to exceptional lengths to hire the best people in the world”
But do you think Jobs mastered this tricky art in just a day? You’re bound to make mistakes, and that is why you shouldn’t be ashamed to ask for help. If you’re lucky, you will have people who have expertise in this field willing to come to your rescue. Ask around and ask for references; listen to what others have to say, and make an informed decision.
This is a quote by Steve Jobs, which I hold very close to my heart,
“When you’re in a start-up, the first ten people will determine whether the company succeeds or not. Each is 10 percent of the company. So why wouldn’t you take as much time as necessary to find all the A players? If three were not so great, why would you want a company where 30 percent of your people are not so great? A small company depends on great people much more than a big company does.”
Early on, each step you take will be critically examined and in the end, you are responsible for the way your business turns out.