You’ve done it! You’ve made it through the days, months, perhaps years of hard work and excessive coffee drinking. Now you’re at the point where you can’t feasibly do all your work by yourself and you’re starting to have a breakdown. High five! This is what you’ve been waiting for, working for. You deserve a pat on the back, a stiff drink, and the opportunity to share the workload. It’s time for your first hire.
But where do you start? (Other than the obvious power suit outfit choice). How do you go about finding just the right fit for your now blossoming company? Let’s get to it.
Where to Find “The One?”
Finding the right fit is critical, both in terms of skills and personality. Put up job postings on online job boards that are specific to your company’s needs. Ask around your network to see if they’ve heard of anyone who fits the bill. Keep connecting and checking on LinkedIn as well—it’s like one big “find your match” pool.
What Should You Be Looking For?
Find the areas of your company where you need the most help—the skills gaps you need to fill. For example, if sales aren’t your thing, but you need sales to start happening, hire a people person with a background in getting shit sold. Don’t hire another you, you’ve already got one of those.
Trust Your Gut…
There are so many things in life we get gut feelings about. For me, it’s when I see Jeff Goldblum and realize that the perfect man does exist. In hiring, the gut instinct should feel something like a good first date.
Do you click with the candidate? Are you able to maintain a constructive conversation rather than just an agreeable one? Would you be excited to create new ideas with this person? Would you share a go-kart with them, or a sandwich? Think about it, because you may be spending a whole lot of time with this person (especially if it will just be the two of you on the team).
…But Do Your Research
Even with the gut instinct, be sure to do your research. Follow up with their references and have some questions ready about their past work experience and how it would carry over to your company. Check up on their online presence to see if it matches up nicely with the real life person you met. If you can, ask for samples of their work, or get them to complete a small task they would be doing within your company to see just what they can do on the fly.
Figure Out The Pesky Legal Details
Are you actually allowed to hire a person? Doesn’t that involve… the government somehow? And you have to give them money, right? Never fear. Quick resources here:
- The SBA’s comprehensive guide to all the legal stuff around hiring your first employee
- Allay’s tips for deciding on benefits
- Payscale, a site that can help you figure out the average income for a job
Roll Out the Welcome Wagon
Once you’ve found “the one,” make sure to introduce them to any other people who are involved in your business. Go out for a casual cup of coffee or after work brew to get more comfortable with one another—this will improve your communication and trust, both VERY important.
When it comes to onboarding, give your new hire the tools they need to succeed. Don’t just throw them into the storm and expect them to build their own umbrella (whoever invented umbrellas by the way, kudos). Make sure that they understand your company’s values, goals, roles, and norms. Do you do things differently than other companies? Do you use a lot of industry jargon or acronyms? Do you really, really hate the sound of chewing? Make sure they’ve got the lowdown on all those things so they don’t feel like the awkward girl on the sidelines at the dance raises hand sheepishly.
If your new hire understands the company culture, and understands their active role within it, you will have one happy employee and work family. Keep the communication open, the coffee flowing, and maybe have some Lucky Charms in the staff kitchen. A little luck of the rainbow never hurt.