First of all, if it´s time to start hiring your first employee, congrats! That means business is going good and you are ready to expand beyond just the founder(s) of your company. However, hiring your first employee might be a daunting task, especially if you don´t have any experience with selection and recruitment. Here are some tips on what to do when hiring your first employee to get you started:
Always conduct background checks
It might be tempting to just follow your instincts and go for someone that you feel would be a perfect match. However, you have to do your homework here because you never know what kind of background someone has and you don´t want to find surprises later on. Therefore, always check for criminal records, qualifications and health because you really don´t want to know how many applicants might be hiding something that you should know before you invite them into your company.
Prepare the interview process
If you have never interviewed people for jobs before, make sure you prepare the interview process well. Be aware of what you can ask and what is legally off-limits to ask. Also, read up on potential risks in interviews, e.g. you don´t want to get sued afterwards because you made a discriminative statement without realizing it.
Hire for potential – not track record
Then, although it might seem logical to hire for the candidate´s impressive track records and great experience, make it a habit to look for potential. Skills and knowledge can be trained for, potential usually can´t. Always approach the interview with the potential question in mind. So, what could this candidate potentially grow into with the right training and support? Therefore, don´t just look for senior profiles because they have lots of experience, think about the long-term as well and if you find a more junior profile with lots of potential and a good cultural fit, definitely go for it!
Design an onboarding process
Although this may sound silly to do for just one employee, it´s never too early to start thinking about your onboarding process. This is the first real experience your employee will have with their new employer, you´re setting the tone for their employment at your company and you will want this to be a positive one. Hence, think about what kind of induction you can give them, what their first day should look like and how you can make them feel welcome. Make sure to have all the practicalities in place as well such as a work phone, a laptop, a desk etc. Nothing gives the feeling that you´re welcome more than seeing that the company is prepared and looking forward to having you join them.
Make sure it´s legal
This might seem common sense but you don´t want to know how many companies hire their first employees without any paperwork in place. Of course, this will require some (legal) research and preparations from your side but you need to be able to offer your employee a real employment contract and the right paperwork on benefits and conditions. Also, check what kind of records you need to keep on employees because there are loads of records you will need to complete and process.
Of course, these are just the basics for things you should do when hiring your first employee. If you don´t have any experience with recruitment and have no clue where to start or you need very niche profiles, it can actually be wise to get some help from a staffing agency.
Do you remember hiring your first employee? What steps did you take?