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On Hiring Your First Employee

I’m ready to hire my first real employee. I’ve been building my business alone up to this point, and it’s become busy enough for me to get help. What do I need to know before I hire?

Exactly what you want the employee to do!  That’s the first and most important thing you need to know before you even post the job.  Although this sounds basic, it’s where most first-time employers fall flat on their face.  Remember that there’s a huge difference between a business owner and an employee.  Owners do it all … there’s no task too small or too complicated.  Many owners try to hire a carbon copy of themselves when they get busy because they think that if someone else can just do everything they’re currently doing, it will make themselves more productive.

The best way to make your first (or for that matter your 50th) hire a success is to carefully break out the specific job functions the employee will be responsible for performing.  These need to be tasks that are critical to operating the business, but that will free you to focus on the most important parts like customers, product, and process. 

If you’ve already decided that you can benefit from an extra pair of hands, select those tasks that are most repetitive and easily measured.  It’s the only way you’ll be able to train and manage your employee successfully.  Two more important things to know:  once you’ve determined the functions, explain them thoroughly to every job candidate before you decide to make an offer AND,  don’t add on more after you’ve hired him.  Wait at least three months until you start to add new tasks onto someone’s plate.