Five tips for small businesses hiring their first employee

Hiring the first employee is a massive step for any small business. SmallBusiness.co.uk presents some advice for those taking the plunge.

1. Clearly define the role you’re recruiting for

What we’re really talking about here is creating a job description. Sit down and figure out all of the tasks and responsibilities that you’d like your new hire to take care of.

Now take a step back and check over it. Does this job description look realistic – could one person manage to do all of these tasks? Are the tasks and responsibilities related? Sure, you might ideally want a web developer who can write and deliver a marketing plan for your new product and help you with your accounts, but is it realistic to assume you could find an individual who is experienced (and talented) in all three areas? Or do you actually need three people?

If you can’t afford to hire three people right now, it might be best to figure out which tasks you most consistently need help with. For example it may be that whilst you do need help with your accounts, it isn’t something you need help with full-time, but you could outsource this work to an accountancy firm or freelancer.

2. Use your network to recruit

You’ll doubtlessly need to advertise your role, but don’t forget to also make good use of your network (both online and offline). Let your network of contacts know that you’re looking to hire and ask them to share your job amongst their network / recommend candidates.

3. Complete telephone interviews

Inviting potential candidates to do a ten-minute telephone interview can be a great way of pre-screening those who you’d like to invite to an in-person interview.

In-person interviews are really time-consuming, and you’d be amazed by just how much you can pick up with a quick telephone interview instead.

4. Prepare a set of interview questions

Having a set of interview questions which you ask every candidate makes it much easier to compare them side by side and ultimately decide which individual is the best fit for your business.

5. Trust your instincts

A candidate might look fantastic on paper, but some reason, when you meet them in-person something just doesn’t feel right. Hiring the right person for your business is about more than just experience and qualifications – the right attitude and personality are important too. At the end of the day you’ll need to enjoy working with this person (otherwise your work life will quickly become unbearable) so trust your instincts.

You might also like to check out the guide we reproduce below about how to hire your first employee. It offers guidance on navigating the recruitment process and understanding all of your legal obligations as an employer.


Click image to open interactive version (via Simply Business).

To use it simply follow the step by step process. Beneath each step there are links to further resources and information – click the links and they will open in a new tab.

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