The following questions cover just about everything you need to ask yourself before hiring your first employee.
Do you really need employees?
This question may seem pretty obvious to you, but, do you actually need an employee?
There are lots of reasons for hiring your first employee–if you have more work to do than you have hours, if you’re growing fast and you can’t keep up, if there are jobs you dislike, or if there are jobs that someone else could do better. However, just because you have a lot of work doesn’t mean you need to hire an employee to help you take care of all of it. There are lot of other options to help you shed work, like a 1099 subcontractor, virtual assistant, or even software.
If you’re sure that the best way forward is going with a hired, full-time employee, then it’s in your best interest to know exactly what kind of help you need. “Someone to do my extra work” is too vague.
Break down what you need into roles that you can clearly advertise: help in sales or operations, a programmer, or even something as simple as a full-time cashier. The more you can break down your needs, the easier it will be to outline the job’s roles and responsibilities and advertise the role to potential hires.
Who will hire, fire, train, and manage?
Speaking of hiring new employees, who will be doing your hiring, interviewing, and official job offering? You?
How about your firing and managing? Take some time to flush out what that process might look like and decide if you’re ready for it or not.
In my experience, most employers don’t want to fire because they don’t want to hurt other people. Ironically, they forget that one of the biggest ways to avoid firing an employee is to set high standards when hiring. Hiring right is the best way to avoid that uncomfortable firing process—which, in my 30 years of business, has never gotten any easier.
Of course, there are a lot of steps between hiring and firing, and for that you’ll need a good manager. And if this is your first employee, that manager will be you.
Keep in mind that your first employee will not come into your operation knowing exactly what to do. You’ll need a plan for onboarding new employees and continually training them. How good are you at explaining why and how your business runs, or the processes that go into making it successful? If that’s not your strength, you may want to change your hiring process to reflect this, targeting applicants with years of experience. Or, perhaps you’ll need to break down the jobs for which you’re hiring into smaller, more easily understood and managed roles.