What To Look For When Making Your First Hire

You’ve done it! Your business is up and running. You’re making an actual income from something you’ve started yourself. You have a steady set of clients and have measures in place to expand your business. Looking to hire staff and provide a living for someone based on what you’ve invented for yourself is definitely a positive feeling, but sometimes it can be difficult to consider what to look for when hiring staff. It can be tempting to choose based on personality alone or on a strong CV, but without a HR department to help there are some considerations you need to make when bringing in employees.

Can they do the job?

This one may seem simple, but it’s a key factor that many overlook. Can your prospective employee actually perform the necessary tasks in your business? If you run a trade-based business, a plumbing company, for example, you can measure this against professional certification, or for a skills-based business such as a graphic design agency, you can see a portfolio of previous work. But it’s not just efficacy with the task at hand that makes for an employee that can function. Knowing protocols in health and safety and ensuring your business presents a good image is also a key feature of being able to do a job. For example, do they have the right insurance for plumbers that also protects your business if you send them on a job alone? Or do they have discretion when working on a sensitive and secretive graphic design project?

Do you want to spend time with them?

Personal bias massively comes into small businesses. Without a HR team to do the vetting for you, you will want to work with people you want to be around. They call it the airplane test – can you imagine spending time with them on an airplane? If not, then you won’t want to hire them to spend so much time with you. While first impressions are often wrong and some people need time to warm up out of an interview situation, you will subconsciously know who you might enjoy working with and who might give you interpersonal problems. If you’re stoic and serious and your new hire is already too laid back, you might not get along spending a lot of time together in close confines. Or if you have strong views about a subject, you won’t want to be rubbed the wrong way by those with opposing opinions.

Whoever you hire will be an ambassador for your brand and will reflect your values to a portion of the public. You want to be able to speak to them as a boss, but also as a co-worker. You want to trust that they can complete a job and leave a good impression on clients for future work. Ultimately, you want someone that you can imagine being a part of your workforce for years to come. For most employers, who you want to hire is an instinctive decision and often one that pays off.

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