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.
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.
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.
Break down day-to-day responsibilities and expected tasks.
Hard skills, education, certifications required to perform duties.
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.
Indeed, Monster, niche industry boards. Screen applicants’ seriousness.
Leverage your brand’s followers by posting on social channels.
Job Search Engines
Optimize for findability on Google for Jobs, ZipRecruiter, etc.
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.
Conduct screening calls to verify candidates’ skills and fit.
For specialized roles, use tests of job-specific abilities.
Provide a comprehensive overview of the role and evaluate culture fit.
References and Background Checks
Require and thoroughly vet references, credentials, and criminal records.
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.
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.
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.
A warm, thorough onboarding experience integrates new hires into your company and culture.
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.