Hiring your first employee: When going it alone is no longer an option – StartupSmart

There comes a time in every soloist’s life when going it alone is no longer an option. It may be that you need to employ someone to manage the marketing, balance the books, take appointments or generally be your behind the scenes Miss Moneypenny. Or it may be that for a particular project you need a co-worker to make it happen.


Even if you have managed people before in other areas of your work, bringing someone into your own business has a very different feel to it, especially when you are used to doing it all yourself.


Here are some crucial considerations when looking for and choosing the right person for the job.


Know what the job is


The position might be only for a few hours a week, but write out a job description including all areas of responsibility and associated tasks. This will help you get clear about what you want done and where the line is between your work and theirs. Even a dot point list gives you something external you can refer to and agree on.


Work with someone you like


If you already know someone and get on with them, that could count. It might be more important than their skill base or past experience in some cases. Work is always more fun with someone you like, so don’t discount people you already know when looking out for a person who will bring different strengths and new ideas to your business.


Think about trust


Trust is what enables work to happen. But how do you know you can trust someone? Big conversation, but in essence, ask yourself questions around the four dimensions of trust. Is this person competent to do what they say they can do? Are they sincere in carrying out what they promise they will? Is this person involved – in other words, do they care about what matters to me in my business? And is this person reliable – will they deliver on time and to the standard?


When checking with referees, these questions can be very useful. And remember, trust works both ways so you can also ask yourself about how someone might experience working with you!


Give it a try


If you are feeling anxious about whether the situation will work out okay or not, you may find the person you interview is fine with a trial period. Make it long enough to be a fair indicator and not so long that you can’t extricate yourself. Each business is different, so it’s hard to set a definite length of time, but this gives you both some room for movement and discussion.


Make it legal


There’s always paperwork, regulations and, of course, taxes involved in getting someone else on board. Make sure you don’t miss out any of the required administration when you enter into an employee or partnership agreement. You can check it all out at the national government business advice site and make sure insurances, taxes, superannuation and Workcover are all taken care of.

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