How to Make a Great First Hire

Hiring just anybody is easy. Simply see if they can “fog a mirror.” Yet, hiring the right person, especially the first hire for a small business, may not be easy but it is crucial. It is crucial because a business owner should want the hire to fit, to contribute, and to stay contributing. As Lawrence Bossidy, author and former COO of General Electric said, “I am convinced that nothing we do is more important than hiring and developing people. At the end of the day, you bet on people, not on strategies.”

The Benefits of a New Hire

A small business owner clearly can’t do it all. Making a great hiring decision for the first employee (as well as good hiring decisions for subsequent employees) provides important benefits. A great new hire will:

  • Bring important skills to the company, allowing the organization to generate more revenue and capacity.
  • Free up time for the owner to focus on key objectives.
  • Bring information and perspectives to the team that can inject creativity and innovation into the business leading to process improvements, identifying new opportunities, and stimulating progress.
  • Facilitate meeting deadlines, completing projects, and meeting goals.

Key Hiring Steps

First, prepare for the hiring process:

  1. Define the role of the person to be hired. Determine the critical functions and key deliverables of the position.
  2. Identify the characteristics of the ideal candidate. What skills, qualifications, and attributes would make a candidate ideal for the position?
  3. Determine what the company can afford for the position. The full calculation must include compensation and any benefits as well as things like state payroll taxes, unemployment insurance, and worker’s compensation. It should also include other expenses like workspace and equipment.

Second, begin the hiring process:

  1. Create a clear and descriptive job title. Write an appealing job description including an engaging summary of the role. Identify key job duties and responsibilities. Identify both required and preferred skills and any necessary qualifications. Spell-out employee benefits or perks.
  2. Seek applicants.
  3. Screen applicants by reviewing cover letters and resumes. This review process can include conducting pre-interview phone screens.
  4. Interview qualified candidates. Look for specific qualities desired for the business including such things as cultural fit, passion for the business, versatility/flexibility, competitive drive, resilience, and sense of accountability. Keep these valuable things in mind:
  • Don’t simply hire yourself.
  • Know that attitude and values are key.
  • Work to solve problems with the new hire, not create them.
  • Continue to think about the big picture of the business.
  1. Check References.
  2. Choose the candidate to be hired based on:
  • Who would make a great fit for both the near and longer-term?
  • Who has the right experience, skills, and personality for the job?
  • Who will make the needed impact on the business?
  1. Make an offer of employment by calling the candidate and expressing the offer and details of the offer. Follow that with a formal offer of employment.

Functional Requirements for a New Hire

Get the new employee to do these things:

  • Fill out Form I-9.
  • Complete a W-4 form
  • Complete any benefit enrollment forms.

Then, file a new hire report with the state. Remember to follow all labor law requirements and correctly secure and save new hiring paperwork.

Get Expert Financial Assistance That You Can Rely On

Contact Doerhoff & Associates, CPA, based in Jefferson City, MO for professional accounting and financial assistance that you can count on. Doerhoff & Associates has one goal in mind, to provide comprehensive business accounting services designed specifically for your success.