How to prepare for your first hire

  1. Francois Badenhorst

    Francois Badenhorst Business Editor, UKBF & AWEB Staff Member

    91 18
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    Hiring is a leap of faith. The person you meet at the interview stage could be completely different from the person you deal with day to day.

    Hiring employees is a minefield, especially for small businesses who can’t afford to waste time, money and, often overlooked, emotional capital on a bad hire. Most intimidating of all is if you have never hired someone before.

    On UKBF, there are plenty of business owners who struggle with the issue. Youngentrepreneur posted recently, musing on whether to invite someone to join his month-old venture. And last year, Butler Service summed up the hiring problem well: “This is not as easy as I thought it was going to be as people can hide their cons very well. I can't completely follow my instinct as people often talk the talk.”

    Take a step back

    The first step is to check you can afford the employee. While it’s natural that you’ll want to grow your business, rushing into employment could leave you - and your employee - in a difficult position in future. Make sure their contribution will increase your business by a considerable amount more than they are costing you, Mr D advised this week.

    Consider what kind of employee you’re looking for, and don’t be tempted to hire from your friends and family. As any UKBF member will testify, going into business with people you have personal relationships with rarely ends well.

    Prepare your interview questions carefully

    As Butler Service found, hiring is particularly tough when you’re seeking someone with experience across a number of areas.

    “The mission is to get someone who's well-connected, has some industry connections that can lead to jobs and knows how to develop well and blend in with my current company structure. I have a budget ready to pay this person for the first six months, however I don’t wish to wait six months before any jobs or money is coming in.”

    First impressions count, obviously, but preparation for the interview is key: the interview is for you as much as it is for the candidate. JacksonInn writes, “It’s important that you have a clear idea about what you want from an employee and ask them questions that are going to elicit the information that you are interested in.

    “Whilst asking them about their previous position and how they have managed situations may give you an idea about them, this is likely the stuff that they would have rehearsed.”

    Gecko001 adds, “I would probably concentrate a lot on why they are wanting to leave their present position. You might think that you will make the perfect employer, but if they are presently working for a larger firm, they will be taking a big risk by working for a firm where they will be the only employee.”

    Culture fit matters

    And it’s not just qualifications. You need to nail down what your dream employee is. What that is depends on your circumstances and the service you offer. “I used to employ people when I had the call answering service, and I was far more interested in their personality and how they would fit in rather than their previous experience,” says Ashley Price. “And I ended up only ever having one bad employee.”

    In other situations, you may need someone who can just get the job done. But would a seasoned sales person really leave a cushy job to start at a small business? Probably not. The solution could be hiring a rookie. “Somebody fresh, hassle free and most importantly hungry,” writes Redd.

    No matter what you choose, if it doesn’t work out there’s no room for sentimentality. As The Byre says, firing fast “is a lot better than trying to make things work when the employee is obviously dead weight”.

    TLDR? Noah gives an excellent outline of what it's like to hire an employee here.

    What’s been your experience with hiring? Do you have any rules that you follow religiously?

  2. Julia Sta Romana

    Julia Sta Romana UKBF Contributor Free Member

    50 11
    I can definitely relate to this. You can tell early on whether the employee would have the right attitude for the job. That's why it's important to ask the right questions during a job interview. Because it's not just the applicant's skill/experience you have to look at. How would they react under stress? Do they work well with others? Would they be comfortable in your company culture? These values are just as important. You can teach a skills. Employees can gain experience. It's much harder to change a person's attitude.
    Posted: Apr 13, 2018 By: Julia Sta Romana Member since: Apr 18, 2017
    Kat Haylock likes this.
  3. luis62halverson0298

    luis62halverson0298 UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    0 0
    Prepare your interview questions carefully ;)
    Posted: Apr 20, 2018 By: luis62halverson0298 Member since: Apr 3, 2018