Making that first hire has to be one of the most stressful things any new start-up owner can do in the early stages of their business. While there can be a sense of relief at having an extra pair of hands involved, there may also be fear of losing some control and worries about ‘getting it wrong’. Making the right hire often requires the business experience you may be lacking in those early days, so here are ten things you need to remember when you’re searching for the perfect hire.
The first is the hardest
Your first hire will always be the hardest, because you may be doubling the headcount overnight. When you’re used to flying solo, adding another person into the mix with their own opinions and ideas can be a scary prospect. It does, however, need to be done. Remember that hiring that first person is harder than hiring ten, twenty or even a hundred at a go, largely because it’s more personal.
Be honest about your needs
Whether you’re hiring someone into a specialist role or recruiting a general office administrator, you need to be up front about what you expect from them. Remember, they may not step into the role fully formed and you may need the patience to shape them into it, including providing skills training. Also think about what you need from them. Ask yourself whether you want someone who follows orders or someone who is willing to challenge and bring forward their own ideas – ultimately that comes down to where your own headspace is.
Be open about how you work
Explain as soon as possible how the systems and processes work within your business, how you will treat them and how you expect to be treated in return. The sooner you can establish the sort of workplace culture you want, the sooner you’ll be able to see if this new hire is a good fit.
Prepare for the long-haul
Unless you are very lucky, you’re unlikely to find the perfect hire on day one and it pays to take your time and get it right. Whatever position you’re recruiting too, the range of candidates is going to be broad. Finding the ideal person cannot be rushed and shouldn’t be an overnight decision, so take your time.
Accept you will get it wrong
However long you do take, you also need to accept that you won’t always get it right. Every entrepreneur will make a bad hiring decision at some point, but recognising that is crucial if you’re to lead the company in the right direction. It’s fairer to all involved that you recognise a poor judgement call then set it straight and move on. If someone doesn’t develop or adapt, or just sees work as a pay cheque, then it isn’t going to work out.
Pay them first
Your employees’ salaries take precedence over your own, always. Those early days may be tough and you may need to take the financial hit yourself as the founder, but others show up to work with the expectation of being paid, so they must always come first.
Know your selection criteria
You should aim to hire on three main criteria – competency and the skills they bring to the business, their value in development and their overall fit with the culture you wish to create. Follow these as a rule of thumb and you can quickly whittle down the talent pool.
Learn how to fire
If you’ve learned how to hire, you also need to learn how to fire. It may be a brutal and unpleasant task, but it’s a necessary one. Know the processes you have in place for letting someone go and be prepared to implement them if things don’t turn out as planned.
Understand the admin
Never underestimate the admin involved in hiring that first person and subsequent recruits. You may be tempted to let it slide while there are only one or two other people involved, but that can come back to haunt you when you start recruiting in greater numbers. Backdating paperwork can be tiresome and time-consuming the more people are involved, so try to start as you mean to go on when it comes to filling in the paperwork.
Know your obligations
As soon as you make the first hire, your obligations as a boss kick in. Make sure you understand everything there is to know about what you offer your employees in terms of sick pay, maternity and paternity leave, holiday entitlement, National Insurance and more. It may not be the most exciting of tasks, but it is one of the most important ones.
For the smooth running of your start-up, consider hiring an external CTO to oversee everything. Find out more about how Atom CTO can help, by visiting our website today or getting in touch with our expert team.