Is This Your First Hire?

If you are a small business owner, then I am talking to you.

So you’ve done all the nitty-gritty of starting up a business and have been doing well on your own. That is perfectly fine. Well actually, it was until recently.

As your business began to grow, you realized that you are swamped with work. I guess the term “swamped” perfectly describes the overwhelming feeling when you are up to your neck with things to do, and yet you can’t just take control of everything.

You need help. So why not hire someone?

There are so many things you need to decide before looking for your first hire. Usually, the first hires of new businesses do administrative stuff so that you the business owner can focus on more important tasks, like enlarging your market reach or looking for sales.

But that is jumping the gun. Before you start looking for candidates, let me run you through some common mistakes that new business owners make when making their first hire. Here it goes…

Hiring someone simply because they were referred by family, relatives, friends, business associates, etc. This happens quite often and mostly with disastrous repercussions. Sure the recommendation is powerful because you are at least confident in the character reference. But then, that is not the only reason you are hiring staff for, right? Common sense will tell you not be tempted to cut corners. Instead, put the candidate on board only after passing through your selection process in order to best assess their capabilities.

Hiring a high profile candidate
Hmm… this is very tempting for new business owners especially if you feel that your rock star can bring so much wisdom to your business. Bear in mind however that:

•the person’s earlier successes will not necessarily translate into your business’s success,
•this high-maintenance hire may strain your meager resources,
•you might think that because your rock star has more business experience than you that he or she is indispensable, and
•you will be more likely to bend your rules for the person.

A more important consideration would be to take an honest look beyond the glowing façade and see if the candidate is really qualified – skills-wise.

Disregarding culture fit
More and more successful businesses have realized that “culture fit” is an important hiring decision. If you are a small business and this is your first hire, it is even more important. When you are working in close proximity with a person day in and day out (and that’s the reality for small businesses), it is important that you share the same values and work ethic. Otherwise, you will only be subjecting yourself to too much unnecessary stress. And consequently, the quality of work and productivity will suffer.

Making sure that your first hire is good will give your business a good boost. Bad hires are expensive, as well as a waste of precious time – something that small businesses don’t have the luxury of.

So, if you are contemplating making your first hire, remember the blunders mentioned above, and avoid them at all cost. After all, your business deserves only the best.

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