Hiring Your First Employee as an Entrepreneur
Congratulations! If you’re ready to hire your first employee, you must be on the right track to success. Your first hire is your next big business move, and you’ve got to nail it. A good employee can help you lay the foundations for a strong and stable company. A bad employee can sink your entrepreneurial ship before it sets sail.
If you’re going to make a great first hire, follow these pro tips to ensure that you hire only the best possible person for the job and avoid the many pitfalls of the hiring process.
Find Another Entrepreneur
If you’re only hiring your first employee, it means that your business has a lot of building to be done. Here’s the truth: not all job seekers are ready to handle the long hours and immense grind that comes with launching a startup. If you want your startup to be successful, you’re going to need employees who are ready to give it their all, and then some.
That’s why it’s important to hire someone who’s an entrepreneur at heart. You’re not necessarily looking for someone to be a business partner—after all, you’re hiring an employee who’s going to work under you—but you should find someone who’s willing to invest a similar amount of passion in your company. As the first hire, they should expect to acquire new roles within the company as it grows. They should also have plenty of ideas about how the company can improve and grow more profitable. You don’t have to use any of their ideas, but it’s always a good thing to have employees who have creative ideas on how to make the business better. If they’re throwing new ideas your way, it means they care.
Post a job listing on an online job board so you can advertise it to a huge amount of people, and specify that you’re looking for only the most driven applicants. When you’re interviewing job applicants, look for that person who treats their career as their own personal brand. These are often the people who have that entrepreneurial spirit that you’re looking for.
Choose Someone Who Can Expand Your Network
If you’re going to grow your business, you have to network with other professionals so you can develop strategic partnerships. Networking will also expose you to a wider array of talented professionals you could hire as your business grows.
Ideally, your first hire should have a large network of valuable associates that you’re not yet connected with. When you and your employee pool your networks, you’ll have a larger set of professionals with whom you can try and develop partnerships.
LinkedIn is one of the most effective websites for networking, and you should only try and hire someone who has a LinkedIn profile with dozens, if not hundreds of connected associates. LinkedIn is undergoing a huge amount of change, so definitely take some time to learn how to survive on LinkedIn.
Run a Background Check
Before you give your first hire an offer letter, you should run a pre-employment identity check on them. An identity check will, first and foremost, confirm that your employee truly is who they say they are. When you’re early in your entrepreneurial career, associating yourself with a fraudulent individual could have severe legal, financial, and reputational repercussions.
A background check will also tell you whether or not your prospective hire has a criminal record—for obvious reasons, you might not want to hire someone who’s a convicted felon. If you’re launching a startup in the financial business, you might also want to hire someone who has a solid credit history, which suggests ample knowledge about finances. Background checks can give you an applicant’s credit history.
Get an Employment Lawyer
It’s not a bad idea to make your first hire an employment lawyer. An employment lawyer can help you avoid getting into legal troubles when you’re hiring. Did you know, for instance, that there are questions you need to avoid during the interview process so you won’t get sued for discrimination? An employment lawyer can give you the run-down on all these things so you’ll avoid legal trouble, especially when it comes to immigration law and salary negotiation.
If you want to create a successful career as an entrepreneur, your first employee needs to be driven enough to help your business get to the point where it’s hiring its one-hundredth employee. Don’t just hire anyone—hire someone who’s hungry, who has a clean history, and who has a great network of professional associates with whom you can do business with.