If your business is in need of an extra set of hands, you may be feeling a mix of both excitement and trepidation.
On one side of the spectrum, this is a good thing. Needing help means your business is growing and that what you have to sell is worth investing in.
On the other side is the unknown. When you bring on employees, you accept a new set of responsibilities as both a business owner and personnel manager. And in doing so you relinquish some of the ownership you had held over certain areas of the business.
It can be an overwhelming step to take but is also necessary for the sake of your business’ long-term success. To make the process easier, keep these eight considerations in mind when hiring your first employee.
Get the Paperwork in Order
You may have already registered or incorporated your business in Canada. To proceed with hiring employees, you will need to register a business number (BN) with the Canada Revenue Agency. Also, you should request a payroll deductions account and have it set up before your employee’s first day on the job.
For hired candidates, have them sign an accepted job offer and keep it on file in an employee-specific folder. This is where you can also keep other paperwork accumulated during the hiring process (e.g., a signed TD1, timesheets, invoices, pay stubs, etc.).
Post a Clear and Concise Job Description
When posting a job opening, think of your description as an advertisement. You’re trying to appeal to the perfect candidate; someone who can bring the right set of skills to the table and make your job easier.
Do some research on relevant job titles people may be most familiar with in the line of work you’re hiring for. Then lay out your description to include the following: a brief introduction to the role, examples of everyday tasks, experience requirements, and an overview of the company. Be realistic about what you need and avoid laundry listing a bunch of hard stops.
When you’re researching job titles, keep an eye out for average pay trends around similar jobs in your area. You’ll want to take these into consideration when running calculations against your current budget.
One thing to remember is that employees are an investment in your company growth. Set lower wages and the level of experience you should expect will decrease as well. This may also mean you’ll need to do more handholding upfront. Money saved in salary may end up costing you more in time in the long term.
Cast a Wide Net and Interview Many Candidates
Too many options is not always a good thing but for the sake of your first hire, it doesn’t hurt to have choices. Explore different job posting sites and take advantage of recruiting channels made available through social media.
Once you’ve sorted through applications, bucket candidates by your level of interest. For those you’re most excited about, consider bringing them in for an in-person interview. And if you’re on the fence about someone, schedule a quick 30-minute phone interview. Take the time to ask thoughtful questions of each candidate that paint a clear picture of their experience and past successes.
Verify Job Experience with References
For even the most beloved of candidates, it never hurts to do a bit of follow-up. Ask them to provide you with two to three references for contacting via phone or email. If the reference verifies your feeling about the potential employee, great. If not, it may be worth weighing whether someone else would be a better fit.
Set Expectations Upfront
It’s important to set and reiterate expectations at every stage of the interview process. You want to provide clear direction on what a role will entail. If it has the potential to change in the future, be clear about that as well.
The last thing you want to do is throw someone a curveball on day one. Doing so can end up leaving you with both a resignation letter and one-way ticket back to hiring square one.
Be Prepared to Manage
With your first employee, kinks are likely to arise in process, responsibilities, and communication. These setbacks are all part of the process in learning how to merge your solopreneur working habits with that of another person.
Cut the other person a break if they can’t immediately read your mind full of needs and wants. Guide them through your established processes and be open to new ones along the way. You’ll need to give up total control to make your business the best it can be.