Get the right hire first time for business success.
From a business perspective, your first hire is as important as your first client. It’s the make or break moment for how the business will perform from here on out.
While some people are in business for themselves and the lifestyle it affords, for the growing business there’s only so long you can go on as a lean one-man-band. Here’s what you need to know about making your first hire count.
Beyond the red tape that comes with a new employee – basic conditions of employment, salaries, benefits, liabilities, contracts – hiring mismatches can result in absenteeism, excessive costs, loss of clients, even outright business collapse.
Five tips for getting your first hire right:
1. Don’t trust your instincts
Whether you’re bringing on a senior level employee or an admin clerk, remember that criminal, underqualified or unstable minds are very bad news for a young and growing company.
As much as 40% of job applications have bogus or inflated information. Plus, if your new hire causes injury to others due to negligence, that’s an expensive lawsuit you’re going to foot the bill for. Be sure to do a credit check too. An employee in financial trouble can threaten the company’s coffers.
What to do: Make sure you do thorough background checks on your prospective hire.
2. Do a drug test
Drug and alcohol related deaths and injuries are an unfortunate reality. Whether its recreational or an addiction, a substance abuser is a drain on an organisation not just from an absenteeism perspective, but from a service deliver and professionalism point of view and company culture. In the US as much as 65% of workplace accidents are caused by substance abuse.
What to do: Conduct pre-employment and random drug screens especially if your employee will be operating machinery, working with children, or on the road.
3. Look out for unwanted behaviour
People want to work at Google because it’s got amazing company culture. While this gives the mega-corp the luxury of picking and choosing from the best of the best applicants, they’re able to maintain their company culture because of behavioural screening.
Psychological testing, skills and aptitude tests, even a lie detector can be used to make sure you hire someone who will not only live your company’s values and serve as a role model to others.
What to do: As a small business, outsource behavioural screening to ensure that your hire has the right temperament to succeed. Make sure though that the tests you conduct are job-related and non-discriminatory.
4. Check references (and ask for more if need be)
Before making a formal job offer, be sure to call at least three of the prospective hire’s references. Two should be professional, one should be personal to endorse the character of the applicant.
Do not neglect this step and only call one person. Don’t be afraid to ask questions either rather than just listen to them wax lyrical about how wonderful the person is. You’ll be surprised what people will say when asked!
What to do: Ask your prospect for at least three references. Ensure that the are the mix suggested above. If they don’t have many references (e.g. they’re fresh out of school with no working history), ask for the contact number of their school or college, and other members of their community who can vouch for them.
5. Set the employee’s salary and their classification
Decide on the employee’s salary before offering them a job, and determine what kind of benefits you can afford to give them. Then decide whether they’re going to be part-time, full-time or contract. This step is important for tax purposes, not just for employee/employer clarity.
What to do: Before you even send out a call for applicants, make sure you know exactly what it is the business needs, what kind of skills the person will need to meet the business needs, and what the market related salary will be. This will ensure you attract the right kind of applicants and hopefully keep them without over paying.