how to hire

Making your first hire is exciting – but it can also be a pretty daunting process. Getting this right could be the key to taking your business on to the next stage – helping you to work at a greater scale and speed or even launch a new product or service. Getting it wrong, however, could dash those dreams and turn into a very costly drain on your finances.

Here are some of the things you should know before you jump into recruiting.

Decide if you’re ready to hire

As any owner of a startup will know, time and money is important and should only ever be invested in something worthwhile. There are many reasons why you might need to hire someone new. You could be missing a certain level of skill or just need an extra pair of hands if you’re struggling to keep on top of the current workload. If you’re having to turn down orders and pass up work then this is a pretty good sign that you need to invest in manpower.

Another reason you may want to make your first hire is you can see the company growing to a place that surpasses your capabilities. For example, in a marketing company you may find that your clients are asking you to cost up designing a new website and you don’t have the skills to quote for the work.

Your work calendar is important too. If you have future projects in the pipeline and have identified a clear need for extra resources then you should hire before you start (and definitely before it becomes a problem). This will keep you focused and ensure you won’t have to slow down mid-production due to a lengthy recruitment process. 

Finally, you can’t decide you’re ‘ready’ until you’ve looked at the finances. You need to calculate the cost of hiring a new employee and ensure that doing so will not knock your finances off course. If you can’t afford it, you’re probably not ready.

Publicise your vacancy at minimal cost

Recruiting can be an expensive business so it’s a good idea to utilise free online platforms to get the word out about your job opening. One of the best ways to do this is to use social media and your company website. However, if you’re advertising your job post on social media, in forums or on your blog, you will need to differentiate your content to ensure you’re making the most of the benefits of each platform.

Regardless of where you are posting remember to write a clear call to action at the end. This can be a link to a recruitment portal, or an email address. Just make sure it’s clear that the audience knows what to do to get in touch.

Also, remember to keep the posts professional and true to your brand. If you’re unsure how to do that, have no fear as we’ve written a blog post on it.

Don’t wait for them to come to you

On top of social media, you need to know where to look for potential candidates and where to post your job description. One of the best ways to do this is through industry-based groups. Not only will these groups be able to lend support during the early years of your business growth, they can also be a goldmine for recruiting. Search for local groups in your area on social media and LinkedIn.

As well as the big three business platforms you can utilise (Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn) there are other alternative platforms that may attract the right candidate. Consider platforms that are the right fit for your business and the type of people you wish to attract. So, if you’re in hospitality use photo-driven Instagram and Pinterest. If you’re in the finance industry follow the news platforms on Twitter and business folk on LinkedIn. If you’re a design, events or arts company, the new platform Vero hosts a user-generated sharing space for creatives. In the production industry you should have a wealth of experience in video on YouTube and even photograph content on sharing platforms such as Flickr, VSCO and Shutterstock. In the right context, all of these platforms could be used to get word out that you’re hiring and all without much expense.

Conduct a constructive interview

We’ve all been in the candidate’s shoes – nervously awaiting the interviewer to ask questions and desperately hoping that they’re going to be relevant and easy to answer. This is not a nice position to be in, so do make sure you’re prepared and have thought about what you’re going to ask. Before interviewing a candidate, ask yourself; what do I want out of this interview? Do I want to find out more about their past experience? Do I want to know what direction they would want to take the company? Or, do I want to ask some left field questions just to see what type of character they are?

Conducting interviews can take a long time. If you know what you’re going to ask, what you want to hear and what constitutes success then you can ensure this is a constructive use of your time.

Set employee goals and targets

Unfortunately, the hard work of recruiting doesn’t end when the candidate signs on the dotted line. You’ll know if your recruit is successful when you see performance results and you won’t get to that stage without at least a little bit of support. To ensure this happens as smoothly as possible it’s a good idea to set achievable goals for your new hire so that both of you know what’s expected and what training/help will be required. No matter what their background, you’ll need to nurture your employee. This will ensure they’re happy, motivated to work and realise the potential you spotted in their interview.

Know business rules and regulations

Startups probably can’t dish out big contracts with a comprehensive package of benefits, but there are some things you’ll need to provide a new employee by law. These may include sick pay, pension plans as well as maternity/paternity leave.

As well as this, you’ll need to make sure you follow the correct tax, insurance and health and safety obligations. Do make sure you get clued up on the minimum requirements before you commit to hiring. The cost of an employee doesn’t end with their salary package.

At this point in your business journey, it’s imperative that you invest your time and finances into things that will deliver strong returns. This is why it’s vital to not jump into any rash decisions when it comes to recruiting. Also, there are online tools that can help support you through the recruitment process. Here are some of the key takeaways from this blog to help you with your first hire:

  • Think long and hard about whether or not you are ready to hire.
  • Your website and social media are an important free means to promote vacancies.
  • Think carefully about the interview process to ensure it’s constructive.
  • Understand how you’re going to support your new recruit to help them settle in.
  • Make sure you understand the law around taking on new employees.