Hiring First Employees

Hiring First Employees

Hiring First Employees
Hiring First Employees

Hiring First Employees

Expanding your startup or small business by bringing on your first employees is an exciting milestone. But hiring also brings major responsibilities and risks. Follow these tips to hire successfully as you build out your team.

Determine Your Needs

Before recruiting, determine what roles you need to fill to support your growth.

Assess Gaps

What skills, expertise, and bandwidth do you currently lack? Hiring should address specific business needs.

Map Out Priorities

Which initiatives and workloads should new hires tackle first? This defines must-have qualifications.

Weigh Costs

Factor in total costs beyond just salary, like employment taxes, benefits, and training. Set a hiring budget.

Clearly defining needs focuses your search on suitable candidates worth the investment.

Write the Job Description

Convey your needs accurately and appealingly in the job posting. Include:

Position Title and Department

Succinctly capture the essence of the role.


High-level description of the position’s core responsibilities and objectives.

Key Duties

Break down day-to-day responsibilities and expected tasks.

Must-Have Qualifications

Hard skills, education, certifications required to perform duties.

Soft Skills/Traits

Work styles, qualities, and values important for fit.


Compensation, perks, work setting highlights.

About the Company

Brief background on your business, culture, and mission.

Thorough descriptions help candidates assess fit and attract qualified applicants.

Post on Multiple Platforms

Cast a wide net by advertising openings through diverse channels.

Your Website Careers Page

Central hub for all your openings, easily shareable.

Job Boards

Indeed, Monster, niche industry boards. Screen applicants’ seriousness.

Social Media

Leverage your brand’s followers by posting on social channels.

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Job Search Engines

Optimize for findability on Google for Jobs, ZipRecruiter, etc.

Professional Networks

Post to LinkedIn, trade association groups, alumni networks.

Diversify beyond major players like Indeed to access more passive candidates.

Set a Hiring Process

A structured hiring process results in higher quality hires. Steps to consider:

Initial Application Screening

Review cover letters, resumes, portfolios against required qualifications.

Phone/Video Interviews

Conduct screening calls to verify candidates’ skills and fit.

Skills Assessments

For specialized roles, use tests of job-specific abilities.

In-Person Interviews

Provide a comprehensive overview of the role and evaluate culture fit.

References and Background Checks

Require and thoroughly vet references, credentials, and criminal records.

Final Decision

Compare top choices head-to-head. Sleep on it before extending an offer.

Documenting consistent procedures brings rigor and fairness to hiring.

Review Applicants Carefully

With strong processes in place, executing hiring well comes down to thoroughly vetting applicants.

Seek the Must-Haves

Verify hard skills, credentials, and specialized knowledge required through testing, probing questions, and document reviews.

Screen for Soft Skills

Assess work style, personality, and other soft skills through behavioral interview questions.

Identify Transferable Skills

Consider applicants with capabilities from seemingly unrelated roles that could apply.

Gauge Culture Fit

Determine if candidates’ values and work styles align with your company culture.

Confirm Motivations

Ask about what draws candidates to the role and company to determine longevity of fit.

Follow Up on Red Flags

Investigate any concerning gaps in work history, vague explanations, or questionable online activity.

Taking time for careful due diligence reduces employee turnover and legal risks.

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Make an Offer

Once you’ve selected your top choice, move forward with an offer.

Agree on Compensation

Research market rates and internal equity to set fair, competitive pay, and negotiate if needed.

Share Benefits Details

Explain all benefits offerings thoroughly so candidates understand the full value.

Set Start Date and Onboarding Plan

Collaborate on a ramp up period and initial training agenda.

Get Commitment in Writing

Issue an official offer letter stipulating key terms requiring acceptance via signature.

Notify Other Candidates

Let all others who interviewed know the role has been filled. Maintain goodwill.

Manage the offer process professionally to start out new hires on the right foot.

Onboard Thoughtfully

A warm, thorough onboarding experience integrates new hires into your company and culture.

Prepare Workspace

Set up equipment, access, contact info so the basics are ready on day one.

Schedule Ongoing Check-ins

Book regular meetings to touch base on progress and get feedback.

Assign Onboarding Buddy

Pair new hires with tenured team members to provide mentorship.

Introduce Tools and Systems

Train thoroughly on core platforms, procedures, and resources.

Review Performance Goals

Align on key results expected for the role in the first 30/60/90 days.

Encourage Team Interaction

Facilitate introductions and connections to integrate new hires.

The effort you put into onboarding results in more engaged, productive long-term employees.

Bringing on your first hires marks an important evolution for your business. With strategic planning, effective processes, and care put into onboarding, you can build an outstanding team poised to take your company to the next level.

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