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Career Advice

How to Hire Your First Employee

Your business is finally at a point in its growth where you need to hire an employee, or maybe ten, to help you take your business to the next level. While it is very exciting to take on a new team member, it can also be very stressful to think about trusting elements of your business to another person. The reality is that no matter how much this new person loves your business, they will never love it as much as you, so you just need to accept that right now. Once you realize that your baby is no one else’s baby, it gets easier to bring someone into the team. New employees will look to your love and passion for your business as a cue for how they should treat the business, so don’t be discouraged if you find people aren’t as in love with your idea as you are. Just keep doing what you are doing, and they will come on board quick enough.

The first thing you want to know about your potential employee is how coachable are they? It used to be that business owners wanted hard workers with determination and skills that are ready straight out of the box, but now, it is more important to find someone with the right personality or attitude that can learn the ropes of your business. Learning how to work in your business is one thing, but they should also be able to take direction, show initiative based on suggestion, be open to professional and useful criticism, and they should not be afraid to fail.

A good question to ask a potential new employee is to describe a time they failed and how they reacted to that situation. It’s amazing how many people will say they have never failed or they will say they can’t think of a time when they weren’t doing an amazing job. Don’t hire those people. They are egotistical and fake. Hire people who can tell you a million stories of how they failed and have bounced back. Look for signs in their stories of growth and learning. These are the kinds of people you want: the ones who can handle what life has thrown at them.

Consider asking your potential employee to complete a background check, like Triton in Canada. It might seem unnecessary given the way most new businesses operate, but if you are going to be letting this person have access to things like your bank account or your cash til, get a background check. You might find that your perfect candidate has a previous record, which is fine – everyone deserves a second change – but it’s better you know up front than to find out later.

Besides being coachable, you should look for a potential employee who has continued to better themselves and can demonstrate an interest in learning. Many people take courses online or read books to learn new things: ask your potential employee about the last book they read and what they learned from it. Sure, it sounds hokey, but people who are real gogetters know it’s important to make time for self-development. Finally, your gut will do most of the talking when it comes to making your first hire. You’ll just feel it when you find the right person for the job.


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