5 questions to ask before hiring your first employee

March 1, 2018

As an owner of your own business, you’re used to working hard. You’ve put in plenty of blood, sweat, and tears as you built it from the ground up. But now, it’s becoming more and more clear that you can no longer handle all of the day-to-day tasks by yourself. It’s time to hire your first employee. A momentous occasion for any business owner, for sure. But with that milestone also comes increased responsibilities (and risks) you should be aware of. For example, one estimate tallies the average cost of recruiting, hiring and training a new employee at close to $4,000. With that in mind, this post will detail 5 questions you should ask yourself before hiring employees.

1. When’s the right time to hire someone?

In short, it’s time to hire someone when you’re consistently putting in more time than is sustainable and still feeling like you’re not getting everything done. Seventy-hour weeks should not be seen as your new normal. Hire too early in your business’s lifecycle and the employee won’t have enough to do. Hire too late and you run the risk of burning yourself out trying to accomplish everything by yourself.

You also need to be sure you can financially sustain that new hire, but we’ll discuss more of the numbers/taxes/legal aspect later in this post.

2. Where’s the best place to find a first employee?

At this point, there’s no need to start at According to the Wall Street Journal, referrals from friends, advisers, and industry colleagues are often the most efficient way to find new employees. By going the networking route, you’ll ensure that candidates have already undergone a certain amount of prescreening. (After all, your colleagues likely wouldn’t recommend them if they hadn’t performed good work for them in the past.)

3. Who’s the best employee to hire?

It might be tempting to go after candidates with higher-profile backgrounds, but they’re probably not the best fit for your environment. Instead, focus on employees who are more in the jack-of-all-trades mold. By hiring someone who has a wide range of skills, you’ll get an employee who is able to pitch in wherever asked. Their inherent flexibility will be an important asset as you offload certain responsibilities.

4. Is your business legally ready to bring on a new employee?

This is one of the tougher questions to answer in the process, but making sure all of your T’s are crossed and I’s are dotted is imperative. This site provides a pretty comprehensive list of all of the legal mandates and operational requirements you need to fulfill prior to bringing on an employee. It includes tasks like getting an Employee Identification Number (EIN), registering with your state’s labor department, setting up workers’ compensation insurance, and preparing your payroll system to withhold taxes.

5. Are there other resources that can make it easier to hire employees?

Absolutely. Clover specializes in new ways to run your business better. They offer several handy apps that can make the process of hiring and managing a lot less work. Consider trying HR Resources by Homebase. It has job descriptions, new hire forms, hiring guides, performance reviews and more. You should also take a look at Gusto Payroll Integration. It’s designed to help you automate a lot of important tasks like tax withholding, reporting, etc.

By answering these questions, you’ll get a successful head start down the path of growing your business with your first employee.

[image: Manon a Job Interview by Amtec Staffing on flickr]

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