Hire your first employee

When you have a small team or limited resources, every hire counts. Here's some of the best advice for when you're looking to hire your first employee as your small business grows. 

When you have a small team or limited resources, every hire counts. When this is the case, you need to be confident about who you recruit and what you recruit them for. But, with a small team or limited resources, it’s likely that you don’t have a great deal of time to spend on recruiting or vetting potential candidates.

Here’s some of the best advice for when you’re looking to hire your first employee as your small business grows.

11 steps you need to take when you hire your first employee

1. Utilise A Probationary Period

The probationary period will allow both you and your new employee to assess if the role is truly a good fit.  During induction, make your new employee aware of the probationary period from the beginning in order for you to set the expectations and minimise any discord should you later realise it is not working out.

2. Look For Attitude Over Experience

When hiring your first employee, It’s better to recruit someone with some experience and skill, but who has a can-do attitude, rather than an expert in the field who is not very flexible. You want someone who can flow and adapt within your business and who is also capable of wearing many hats, rather than someone who is extremely knowledgeable but not a team player.

3. Find Someone Who Can Fill Multiple Needed Roles

Try to find the right person for the job, but also the person who can fill the most holes. Look for a great employee who can do multiple things—people with a passion for what you do and who really want to be a part of your business family.   If you want to grow your business from within, people with multiple skills are most valuable.

4. Ask For References

Ask for references every single time. Don’t make the mistake of not double-checking and relying “on your gut feelings” when making a hiring decision – it never ends well!  In addition to the references given by the prospective employee, check any mutual connections you may have and ask around to get a feel for their work.

5. Test Their Character And Ability

Once invited for an interview, a candidate is clearly well qualified. Two factors that are extremely important are their character and their ability to do the job better than you.  If the latter is not true, you are not adding much to your business, just filling holes.  As for character, it is the deciding factor between a productive player versus destructive behaviour that can ‘pull down’ your business.

6. Be Proactive

Just like any solid crisis communications strategy, being proactive is paramount. Don’t wait until you need someone to figure out who might be a good fit.  Start today by imagining who you’d love to have on your dream team and start making notes about what you will want them to do.

7. Fill Gaps In Your Knowledge Base

Recruit for roles that fill the gaps in your knowledge base so that you can free up your time to run the business.  Think about your recruitment strategy in terms of “putting yourself out of a “job,” so you can focus on the overall business.

8. Try A Variety Of Ways To Recruit

Free job boards, paid-for ads, ask colleagues, post in social media, use agencies or recruit people  straight out of school/college.   Also get a colleague/business associate to conduct an additional short interview with a potential recruit.  They may see things that you do not.

9. Hire For Values First

Do not hire based on experience and CV alone.   For example, HR Dept has five specific core values in our company that we rate potential recruits against.  Hire the person who fits your values best.   Better to recruit the less experienced or qualified person if they fit the culture better—people first.

10. Focus On Fulfilling Your Highest Need

Recruit someone that fulfills your highest need. For example, if you need an amazing writer to supplement the team, hire the person that you think will execute in that area. However, think through how you might be able to train that person to do the other needs. Training for new skills can be a key asset to your business.

11. Finally, Don’t Forget The Formalities

When recruiting for the first time, you will have duties and obligations as an employer.

So, follow these simple steps…

Your duties and obligations as an employer

Check Your Employee’s Legal Right to Work

You have the responsibility for checking that your new employee: (1)  Has the legal right to work in the United Kingdom and (2)  Meets the requirements of any employment checks necessary for their position.

Apply for Disclosure and Barring Service Check (if applicable)

You may need to apply for a Disclosure and Barring Service check if your new staff member will be working in a field that requires this.

Provide Your Employee with a Job Description and Contract

You should provide your new employee with full details of the job and an employment contract.  This information must be in writing.

Pay Your Employee

Your employee must receive no less than the current National Minimum Wage, and be provided with a payslip showing the gross/net amount earned, together with any deductions to their salary.

Obtain Employment Insurance

Ensure you have adequate Public/Employers’ Liability insurance. This helps to cover your business from workplace health and safety claims made by staff members.

Contact HM Revenue and Customs

You must contact HMRC and register as an employer and also submit payroll data to HMRC any time you pay your employees.

Enroll Your Employee In The Workplace Pension Scheme

This is a legal requirement for all employees. 

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