Tips for Hiring Your First Employee

By Brandi Brown , last updated November 3, 2011

Hiring your first employee is a major step in any small business. Before you commit to a specific person, take the time to research the process and know what you want from the experience. Don’t jump at the first person that comes along. Instead know that you can be choosy about who you pick to be part of your company.

Once you make the decision to hire someone for your company, you should write out what that person will do. Create a job description for your first employee that is as specific as possible. While most descriptions have a vague clause along the lines of “other duties as assigned,” the bulk of an employee’s work responsibilities should be spelled out.

Take some time to decide who would make an ideal candidate for the job you have available. Perhaps you want someone with an associate’s degree in business and two years of work experience. You may prefer someone who is bilingual or who has professional certifications. Use this “perfect candidate” profile to help guide you along the way. But be prepared to scale down those expectations to a softer version of the “good enough candidate.” Make the qualifications for that person the basics to publish in your job advertisement.

Cull resumes down to a dozen or so people who fit the basic requirements. As you begin to interview these people, rate them against both the “good enough candidate” and the “perfect candidate.” Use your intuition. If something about the person doesn’t jive with you during the interview, hiring that employee may result in personality conflicts.

Remember that you are not obligated to hire anyone from your initial pool, and you can hire someone who doesn’t have all of the qualifications but you think would be a good fit anyway. The key in hiring your first employee is to make sure that the person will help the image of your business.

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