Are you ready to hire your first employee?

Before you start interviewing for your first employee consider a few things.

You’ve probably been working 18-hour days, six or seven days a week, on your start up business, and it never feels like you are even close to being on top of the workload. You think the answer is to hire your first employee but before you rush to start interviewing, consider a few things first.

What are they going to do?

Writing a clear job description is very important, and harder than you think. ‘A helping hand’ or ‘picking up tasks from business owner’ is not a very attractive role – even if it is part of the job in reality. Spend a week tracking your tasks and activities every day. At the end of each day, decide which ones you would continue doing and which ones would be the responsibility of the new employee. And now think of what did not get done. Same thing, decide who would do it, you or your new employee.

At the end of one week you should have the draft of a job description, and you can ask yourself if anyone would want that job.

Can you afford to hire your first employee? 

Salary is not the only consideration in this case, as you will have additional responsibilities like Employer’s Insurance and setting up a PAYE scheme. And there are other costs, like your time investment in selecting and training this new employee.  What about office space? Will you be able to provide an office environment, materials and equipment for the employee to do their job?

Double the salary you are planning to pay as a quick estimate for your real costs and assess whether you can really afford this?

What kind of candidate do you want for the job? 

Be careful of the ‘I’ll know it when I see it’ approach to selection. You will either hire the first person you meet, or spend weeks meeting very different types of candidates because no one is exactly the right fit for the job – or in this case, to work with you! Before you post the job description, identify 3-5 characteristics that are important for you in your first employee. Then, ask yourself how you will know if the candidate can demonstrate these.

Be wary of the Internet also – you can google interview guides, capability and competence models and find lots of resources which may be helpful. But the most important bit is your criteria for selection. Remember, this person will be 50% of your start up business.

By considering these questions you now have a job description, you know how much you can afford and what type of candidate will fit your business.

So now that's in place ask yourself again – am I ready to hire my first employee?


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