There’s no question about it: you’ve worked tremendously hard to be where you are right now. The long hours, the sacrifices you’ve had to make with family and friends – these have all added up in a big way. There were no shortcuts or quick fixes on your road to success, and now it’s time to take your company to the next level.
One of the most pivotal steps in expanding your business is hiring your first employee.
It’s not just about finding impressive qualifications either. Since it’s your first employee, they need to be compatible, your right-hand person and have an intuitiveness about what your company needs.
Here are the 5 best ways you can find your first employee:
1. Figure Out Your Weaknesses
If you grew a business from the ground up, you are definitely a jack-of-all-trades type of person. You’ve probably learned accounting, marketing, interpersonal and sales all in one fell swoop. Throughout that time, however, you’ve recognized which traits at which you excel and others that are just making a passing grade.
Perhaps you thrive at marketing, but don’t find the same energy for packaging and design. You might be a math whiz, but would rather have someone else make the sales calls.
Pinpointing the things you’d like to delegate will help you fine tune the right employees to hire. Not only that, having a qualified employee help tie up loose ends will give you time to focus on making new goals for yourself.
Not sure where to begin?
You can write down a list of your most-to-least favorite aspects of the job. Or if you’d prefer an outside opinion, there are many aptitude tests that will help you decide what you’re best suited in doing for long term success.
2. Narrow Down The Job Search Engines
Posting a job can be as easy as writing a Craigslist ad. However, if you are trying to find a like-minded person you may want to consider posting your job on sites that reflect your mission.
For instance, if you’ve created a non-profit, job search engines like Idealist are dedicated to non-profits almost exclusively.
Have a start-up in tech? There are quite a few dedicated sites like VentureFizz and others that solely focus on helping new businesses thrive.
If you’re looking for someone who specializes in something specific, you may even consider tracking down a recruiter, or diving in the LinkedIn profile rabbit hole.
Finding the right candidate may mean doing more than posting a job. Doing a little research to narrow down the fields of interest will weed out the unqualified candidates and get your job posting to the right people.
3. What Can You Really Offer?
Whether you’re still in your start-up basement or have rented out a small office space, it’s important to figure out what you can seriously offer your first employee.
Realistically, it may take some time to offer company-wide health insurance, or even a space for them to work. Paint an accurate picture of what your potential hire is walking into so they don’t feel like you are giving them false promises.
Is it part or full-time? Are you looking for a freelancer or are you ready to sign a full-time employee contract? There are many freelancer websites (Upwork or Remote to name a few) that have qualified freelance candidates with ratings and a long list of previous clients.
Fear not, answering these tough questions thoughtfully can bring different kinds of people to the table. You may not be able to offer them years of security like a company who has been around for decades, but you can offer them growth and interesting projects to pursue.
This unique excitement that only a start-up has will attract people who are willing to take on that challenge with you.
4. Create Rules, but Be Flexible
You were a powerhouse of one for a long time. Now that you’re hiring someone new, creating “company rules” ahead of time would be beneficial in creating your working relationship and establishing guidelines to progress forward.
Remember, your employee can’t read your mind (yet!), so they need structure and framework on how your company operates.
You also may be spending a lot of time together, so establishing professional boundaries (ex: you’re only available between 9-5, even if working remotely) will help the company flourish without unnecessary chaos and distractions.
However, it’s important to keep in mind that what worked perfectly for you may not work as well for two or more. You sometimes truly don’t know until you try it out in real time.
Adjusting to new environments is how you got this far, so be open to the fact that circumstances may need to change with your new employee in order to create success.
5. Find Someone Passionate About Your Company
It’s a given that you love what you do. Find someone who not only is qualified and is friendly, but loves what you’ve created. When hiring a new employee, you are actively taking your company out of the “start-up” phase, and into the next stage of flourishing possibility.
You want someone who is an advocate of your company and cause, so they can be motivated just as much as you are to push things forward.
Getting a paycheck is nice, but being truly passionate about what you’re doing will give a driving force to keep moving, in spite of speed bumps along the way.
During the interviewing process, be sure to ask company-specific questions, and take note of the people who ask meaningful questions as well.
Look for someone who asks these kinds of questions.
No pressure, but hiring your first employee can make or break future growth. You’ve shaped the company into what it is today, but it will be your employees that create the company culture, and help produce future results.
With both razor sharp decisiveness and flexibility, once you delegate your duties to your trusted employee, you will have freedom to explore new possibilities and expand to higher heights.