Have your own startup? Hiring your first employee can be quite challenging for a small business. For more times than none, startup companies will require a potential candidate to carry out tasks that does not fall under his/her direct role. Reason being that there is less structure in a small company than a large one. For instance why would you need an HR department if you do not have any employees? Or one employee? Because of this, startups would need different strategies to hire than a 20 + employee company.
This week at EnergyPower Lab, our posts are for you entrepreneurs out there who are ready to invest in human capital!
Additionally to the sudden sense of responsibility you will have over someone else, it’s a strong signal that your company is going places. Someone believes in your idea and wants to make it happen. And in many cases, he or she is taking on a significant amount of risk to do so. Unfortunately, not all startups hit it big!
But the most important way in which it changes your business is speed wise. A new person dedicating all of his or her effort to your startup means that suddenly things are going to move fast, a lot faster.
1. If you can afford it, sooner rather than later
Bring a team member in as soon you have extra money to spare, even if it feels a bit tight at first. The extra pair of hands (and legs!) will definitely be worth it in the end. Not to mention that 2 heads are better than 1! Tasks that would take you a week to finish can suddenly be completed in a day or two.
2. Look at their potential not just their past!
One crucial attribute of a skilled recruiter is the ability to see the potential of a candidate and not just look for indication for past success. Look for an individual who has an interest and passion for causes or missions that suit yours. Also look at proof that the person is good at what she has done in the past.
You do not need someone with a master’s degree and 10 years’ experience. Sometimes from a simple conversation you can get a sense that you and someone will work well together.
3. Talk is cheap…
Some people have been to so many interviews that they have become experts at answering interview questions, in that sense; they have become experts at bullshitting. A good strategy to counter that is to allow a candidate to demonstrate a skill. For instance give them a scenario with a few minutes to think about how they would solve an issue or how they would pitch a certain idea.
4. Have everyone on the team get in on the interviewing process
All co-founders of a startup should be on board when it comes to hiring your first employee. Considering that the founders have the same vision for the company, they should be able to agree on who fits the position best. So, make sure that everyone on the team gets a chance to talk to the potential employee. It is also better to share responsibility so one does not bear the burden if it doesn’t work out later.
5. Being part of the team
People join startups because of the freedom of weighing in. They join them to feel like they are working alongside a team rather than under a superior. This will pay off as together you can help build the company’s vision and learn alongside each other. This will make your “employee” more confident and more willing to give it his all.
6. Design your onboarding process
This may be very time consuming but will definitely pay off on the long run. Have all your things defined from your company culture, strategy to your past experiences and lessons learned. Hence during the briefing everything will be clearly stated from the beginning ensuring that anyone new onboard is heading in the same direction.
7. Don’t ignore your legal responsibilities!
Last but most importantly, make sure you lay out all the legal grounds. While entrepreneurs tend to have more of a “laisser faire” outlook and less structured than a typical corporate employer, laying out all the legal terms and creating an employee contract is essential. Get all your legal documents together to protect yourself, your company as well as your new employee. Truth is, hires do not work out sometimes and you need to make sure that things can run smoothly out that door. The last thing you want as a busy entrepreneur running to get your company off the ground is dealing with legal issues related to a hire that did not work out.
Your first hire is a huge footstep towards the growth of your company. Take the time to do things properly, and you’ll make sure that your first employee will be there for the long drag—and be one of the best things to happen to your company as you join the competitive market.