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The four key steps to making your first hire

Monday, 16 July 2012 | By Fred Schebesta

feature-hire-thumbExpanding a business and hiring new people has one core requirement: you have to make a critical business decision.


I don’t find myself making hiring decisions every day, although there are times when you either need to make a decision because the business needs it or you are forced to make a decision.


Recently, we have been hiring new members to build our newest site Mobile Phone Finder, and I have been facing these critical business situations more often.


My hit rate of good and bad decisions has improved ever since I put a process around the decisions.


Here are the key steps I’ve learned when it comes to hiring someone.


How to know when you need someone


These are the prerequisites of beginning this thought process. If you haven't got all of them, don’t focus your efforts on hiring someone – focus on sorting out the business.


You have established your own processes of your core business. A process here is the step by step guide on how to do the thing you want them to do in the business.


This is super e-myth101, but it's impossible to tell someone what to do without knowing the process. Some roles are more creative and there isn’t a process established, but I would suggest defining that as well into a broad process with a creative component.


The structure produces more defined and better outcomes. The best way to ensure this is the case is if you personally have done the process and you can write it down step by step. You essentially want to hire people to do parts of the process:

  • It’s a profitable process. If your process isn't profitable, don't scale it. Fix the process first.
  • You could potentially make more money by doing your core process faster and more often.

  • When you make a profit, don’t be smart and come up with another way to also make a profit, instead, just do the process you figured out before more often.

How to make the decision


Fundamentally my decision here is based on:

  • Can you make more money by speeding up your core business process?
  • Is there a simple part to that process that someone else could do?

As you can see, all I do is break down the decision into smaller choices that are easy to make.


I believe a complex decision is actually a set of simple decisions lumped together and your brain is trying to solve them all at once.


Now that you have your prerequisites, you need to define who you want.


How to choose who to hire

  • Write a dot point list of what responsibilities of your core business process you want them to look after.

    Point out the steps and write them as items of responsibility. For example, if you want them to check a list of items and ensure they have been done, write it as “reporting and management of business processes to check for quality”.

  • This list will be the beginnings of your job ad.

    Write a list of the type of people you want to work for you. This is damn hard to do. Try and squeeze out five dot points on the key values you want of the people in your company.

  • Then write a list of questions you could potentially ask to figure out if that person has them.

  • Write up your job ad. All you need now is to define the opening sentence about your business, who you are looking for (use list above), their responsibilities (use the list above), a few dot points about why it's great to work for your business and finally how they can apply.

  • Best always to also write who you don't want; the qualities or things you don't want in a person.

  • Post your ad, promoting your ad tips: Place it in niche job boards; put it on your website; email to key people or colleagues and ask if they know of anyone that might be interested; tweet it asking for people; post it on LinkedIn groups, find people on the network and in-mail it to them.

  • For each recruit you now need to make a decision. Do they meet your checklist of people you are looking for? Do they have the attitude you want? Are they capable of achieving what you need from them with excellence?

How to make the decision

  • Say “no” more than “yes” to people in your interviews. Don’t be afraid to say no to something you know isn’t right.

  • Be brutal with your assessment of your criteria you have set. If you waver and make exceptions you will end up with a company which is bloated and full of B players.

  • Only hire the person that you want and need, don't hire someone out of compassion.
  • Hire the person that is better than you at something and that something is what the business needs in that process.

Making critical decisions is actually just a process of setting simple criteria and making simple decisions on whether or not they meet what you need.


Spending that extra time on the criteria will give you the exceptional results more often than not.


In the end, you have to make a choice, so do it. Don’t shy away from making a decision.


Fred Schebesta is the founder of Australia's most popular credit card comparison website: Credit Card Finder. Fred's passion for financial comparison and helping Australian consumers save money let him to launch Home Loan Finder to compare home loans, and Savings Account Finder to compare savings accounts. You can follow him on Twitter @schebesta.