“It’s important to realize that business is all about people, people, people. Make this your top priority. Surround yourself with people who have the skills, know-how and personality to get the job done, and success is bound to follow.”— Richard Branson
You can have the best branding, a killer product, and oodles of financing, but if you don’t get the right people on board to help you, your business is in trouble.
Defining the company’s vision and getting the first hires right is critical. “When someone is hiring their first employee, chances are they’re going to have to be an incredible multitasker. I think you want to look for someone who is very flexible in their mentality, who is a quick learner, and who is able to switch between tasks, and really focused on problem solving,” says Dallas-based Vlad Molchadski, CEO of online marketing company BizTraffic.com and a U.S. Small Business Association SCORE mentor. “Whenever you get the right person for the right job, everyone wins. If you get the wrong person for the wrong job, everybody loses.”
You’ll also want to make sure you’re up on your employment and labor law, which may vary from state to state.
How do you know when it’s time to bring someone —or even a few someones — on board to help? Molchadski says that if you feel your quality of service, product or safety will be compromised if you keep doing it on your own, it’s time. Hiring your first employees can also help you move forward if you’ve reached a kind of plateau just working on your own — but you have to relinquish control.
It’s smart to delegate the time-consuming tasks that don’t provide high value to the revenue generation—or the ones you can’t do as well or as quickly as someone else. “I believe that bookkeeping is one that can be and should be outsourced, especially if it takes a lot of time,” Molchadski says. “Other tasks that I believe that can be outsourced can partially be marketing or social media.”
Choose Your First Hires Wisely
Putting out an ad and wading through a sea of résumés can be daunting. Start narrow and go wider, Molchadski says. “Referrals are always best, so creating an atmosphere where people want to work is critical. Other ways are taking the position to internet job boards such as Indeed and LinkedIn and connecting with nearby colleges and universities for talent, including interns.”
He says he doesn’t rely so much on a gut feeling about a candidate during an interview, but rather, what he calls “predictive analytics”— taking into account the experience, talents and personality that a person brings into a job. “What I’ve learned is that how you perceive people may be quite deceiving and does not necessarily predict their traits,” he says. “Some people interview really well, and that’s so misleading because then when they get to a position, there is a massive mismatch on the job, and it’s not always their fault, some people are naturally good networkers. Prediction indexes and personality test has been an invaluable tool for me in order to make sure that I pick on the right traits the position will require.”
And even if someone’s not a particularly good fit for one job, he or she might be for another one down the line — or to fill in a suddenly vacant position. “People come and go, personal circumstances can dictate a departure of employee in any moment, and you just never know. The harm to productivity can be very costly as opposed to continuously maintaining conversations with those you feel will be a good candidates for any positions that might come up in the future,” Molchadski says.
Tools and Resources for Hiring Employees
Molchadski uses Plum, Culture Index, and Behavior Index tools to help suss out strengths and weaknesses when considering a hire, and to keep up on management and business HR news he reads Entrepreneur and Forbes.
The U.S. Small Business Administration also offers these tips for when you’re ready to hire: