5 Steps To Prepare For Hiring Your First Employee

There's a big difference between needing to share the workload and actually hiring another real human being to do it.

Photo: Photo: Tammy Bjelland, founder and President of Language in Bloom; Credit:
© Julie Napear Photography
Photo: Photo: Tammy Bjelland, founder and President of Language in Bloom; Credit:
© Julie Napear Photography

Congratulations! You’ve made the decision to expand your team.

This is arguably one of the most exciting moments of an entrepreneur’s experience. It’s exhilarating, but it can also be overwhelming.

There’s a big difference between needing to share the workload and actually hiring another real human being to do it.

And while it can be scary, the end result is that you can work on bigger projects and focus on growth if you hire someone who is a good fit for your company.

You can break down the preparation for hiring your first employee into five steps:


1. Decide what you want to delegate

Arguably the most important step to bringing on an employee, but often one that gets ignored because it seems obvious. Be very specific about exactly what you want to delegate, because this will help you write the job description. In fact, you should write your job description at the same time you create your list of tasks to delegate, so you can make sure that the list of responsibilities comes together in a way that makes sense for one position.


2. Consider how much you can pay

If you’re bringing someone on as an employee, that incurs more costs than just a base salary. Your budget for hiring an employee needs to include the costs of insurance, hiring a lawyer to draw up any legal documents you need, developing HR systems that are needed, in addition to the time it will take you to train someone on your business and the tasks they need to accomplish. All of that takes financial resources, so make sure you’re honest about how much you can actually afford to pay.


3. Get your legal and financial ducks in a row

Make sure you do your due diligence about whether to hire an employee full-time or part-time, or whether the work you need to get done can be outsourced to an independent contractor. The SBA is a great first resource on the difference between the two, but you should always talk to a lawyer, your CPA, and your insurance agent to make the decision that’s right for your business. Every state has different requirements, but hiring employees will mean that you need to know what’s required of you in terms of unemployment insurance, liability insurance, payroll taxes, etc. The terminology gets tricky so make sure you’re working with people who will explain these concepts to you in clear language.


4. Identify qualities of your ideal applicant

Include any quality or experience that’s a must-have or a deal breaker. Compile a list of interview questions and what exactly you are looking for in the applicant’s answers. If you’re very clear at this about who you are looking for before you even announce the job opening, then it will lessen the time required to sift through resumes and cover letters. Make sure to add this list of qualities and skills to your job description.


5. Compile your employee onboarding kit

Get ready for when your new hire’s first day by documenting the processes they’ll need to use to accomplish their tasks. You can do this with checklists, adding to a running Google Doc, or establishing processes in a project management tool. Collect any documentation that a new hire will have to review and/or complete, and place it in an easy-to-find location. Outline your new employee’s schedule for the first week, and make sure to include time for training, checking in, and giving feedback.


Hiring your first employee is an important moment in your business, but it’s completely manageable (and even enjoyable!) if you follow these five hiring steps.


This article has been edited and condensed.

Tammy Bjelland is the founder and President of Language in Bloom, a learning solutions company that specializes in a task-based approach to talent and expertise development. She is also the creator of the How to Train Your Employees program. Connect with @tammybjelland on Twitter.


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