So your business is growing and suddenly you find you have more work than you can handle on your own. Congrats! This is a pleasant problem to have! Now it’s time to take that next step and go from solopreneur to employer, and make your first hire. The thing is, making your first hire tends to be easier said than done. In fact, many entrepreneurs say hiring is one of the hardest things to do. That said, we've got a few tips...
When you’re overloaded with new work and need help sooner rather than later, it can be all too easy to hire the first or second candidate—even if that person isn’t the right one for the job. You needed help yesterday. Well while that may be true, hiring is a process and you need to go through it systematically, regardless of impending workloads. Try to set reasonable deadlines for projects and align client or customer expectations.
But the last thing you want to do is indicate to a customer or client that you don't have the resources to get the job done, right? Instead, do these two things:
- Buy as much time as comfortably possible. Enough to make the right hire, but short enough to ensure you don't lose the work.
- Double down on your hiring time spend. If you're in this sort of pinch, don't let hiring eat into your day. Instead, bookend your day with hiring activities. Meet for breakfast with candidates. Have post-work beverages. Hiring just might have to happen off the clock.
Don't Underestimate Cost
If you're looking at your business bank account and are confident that you've got enough in there to spend on a new hire, double check. The cost of hiring isn't always just the money you pay out to the worker. If they're full-time and on the payroll, bringing on someone new will not only affect your payroll tax liabilities, but also the cost to process your payroll. Similarly, is there the expectation of benefits? That'll cost you, too. Do they need to be outfitted with new equipment such as a laptop? Rarely is the cost of a new hire the amount that winds up in their pocket—so be sure to consider the entire compensation picture. A good place to start? Review the reports in your online accounting software and determine what your total cost is to the company. While it's unlikely the amounts will be the same between you and the new hire, doing this sort of measurement will help you gauge things.
Don't Be Vague
Before you advertise that you’re hiring, take the time to sit down and create a specific job description. This will help you avoid the tendency to just hire the person you "liked best."
Now writing job descriptions can often feel foreign. You know what you need, but it can sometimes be hard to communicate. So do this: define three things you'd need your new hire to do every day. Then define the three things you'd need them to do every week. Then think about three types of people this candidate would interact with on a regular basis and what those interactions are. Envisioning the new hire's day will help you refine your job description.
Use Extreme Caution in Hiring Friends or Family
Yes, it's convenient that your nephew just graduated from college and is looking for work—but that doesn’t make him the best candidate for the job. The same goes for your close friend that just got laid off. You never want to hire someone you will have trouble firing.
Don’t Hire Cheap
After all the long days and too little income it can be exciting to find yourself suddenly flush with cash. Don’t fall into the trap of hiring the cheapest and least experienced help you can find just so you can keep that bank account robust. Value costs money. And on top of that, keep it in the back of your mind that your new hire might (should) one day be revenue generator.
Consider Culture and Work Style
Sure, there can be too much focus on culture in business these days, but it’s still something to keep in mind. So before you even evaluate the candidate's work style, you need to define your core culture. How does your business work? What allows it to thrive? What hinders it? Usually the answer to questions like these tie directly back to your individual work style and culture because, after all, it's just been you so far! But defining your company culture is a must if you're hiring. Take the time to capture five to 10 core cultural values that you can then mash up against candidates. If they align, you've got a potential fit. If they don't, it's on to the next!
Don’t Hire Someone With Limited Skills
You might have a specific need for a client right now, but your next client might need something different. If you’re hiring someone to work with you for the long haul, make sure they have a well-rounded skill set and are adaptable to whatever is coming next.
With all this in mind, it’s time to place that ad and start collecting resumes. With time and patience, you’ll find the right team member, and then you can add “job creator” to your own resume. Good luck!