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Hiring Your First Employee: Part II

Once all the documentation and paperwork is out of the way for hiring your first employee (as related in Part I), you may face some unexpected challenges.

The first is your own attitude toward supervision and sharing space. We all want to consider ourselves great bosses, but clearly we all have bad days. We all want to consider ourselves generous, but clearly we all also need some privacy and me time. Consider what you want from the new culture you are developing. Will you have the patience to train a complete novice or do you want someone who will jump in right away or will you be exasperated by having to undo habits learned elsewhere? Are you happiest surrounded by extroverts or introverts? Some questions you can only rely on yourself to answer; others have already been answered in the wealth of books and online articles available on managing people and evaluating your management style. Take advantage of the knowledge of people who have taken this first step before you.

The second unexpected challenge is the process of interviewing. I recommend a telephone interview before you take time for a personal interview. Over the phone you can find out if the candidate’s experience, workplace preferences and salary requirements match the job you’re offering. If you have never interviewed anyone before, you would be wise to have a script (HR Compliance 101 will help you develop one) so that you are always comparing answers to equivalent questions. Don’t dominate the interview. Allow your interviewee plenty of time to speak; that’s the only way you’ll know if a candidate matches what you are looking for. Also remember that the purpose of the interview is to find a great fit for your company—not to eliminate people with trick questions.

The third unexpected challenge may be closing the deal. I strongly recommend that every first hire be contingent on a 1 month trial. In the course of that month you will find out if you are compatible with your new hire. You will also discover if the new hire exaggerated qualifications or has habits that would have been deal breakers in the interview, if you knew about them. Finally, the new hire will be able to walk away without prejudice if the job is simply a bad fit.

Until you have actually hired and kept your first employee, you are a novice in a situation that is far more complicated—legally, emotionally and procedurally—than you may have realized. HR Compliance 101 has shepherded many a business owner through the process of hiring a first employee. Please give us a call.

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