Starting your first business is exciting, and you’ve probably really enjoyed running it and having complete control over the day to day operations up to this point. Not to mention never worrying about having to pay someone, correct their work, or discipline them for coming in late. However, despite these annoyances, hiring an employee is a crucial step in the growth of any business. It will allow you to get more done than you could otherwise on your own, which will hopefully let you turn an even greater revenue. Before you hire your first employee though there are a few things that you should keep in mind. These are common mistakes made by new business owners, and by avoiding them you’ll be one step ahead of everybody else.

Ensure that the person is legal to work in the United States

Since you’re still a small business you’re probably not going to have a lot of money to spare to pay someone a high salary. That’s ok, but it doesn’t mean you can get sloppy and hire the cheapest option either. If you hire an undocumented worker and they get caught by immigration later on, not only will you lose your employee, your business may come under scrutiny as well. Check the legal status of everyone who applies for a job, and be sure that they have any necessary qualifications. For example, a truck driver needs a commercial license the same way a lifeguard needs a certification from the Red Cross.

Screen for illicit substances

You should consider asking a potential applicant for a drug test for a couple of reasons. People who are clean are more likely to work for you for longer, and be more dependable employees. Not only that, but statistics have revealed some surprising insights about drug users. People who use drugs are 2.5 times more likely to be absent 8 days or more, 3 times more likely to be late for work, and 5 times more likely to file a workers compensation claim. You can learn even more about the negative impact of drugs on a worker’s performance by visiting Summit’s Website

Dig deeper than the resume

According to Statistic Brain Research Institute, more than half of all resumes contain misleading information of some sort, and 13.6% of all respondents report lying on their resume at least once. To ensure that you don’t hire someone who has built up their resume on thin air, ask them about everything they have written on it. Have them tell you about all of their previous job experience, and about what they learned from each job. If that all seems to check out, the next step is to call the references they have listed. It’s very possible that one of the jobs that they worked at previously has since gone out of business, but if you can’t get a hold of any of their previous bosses, you may want to consider shelving their application.

Have a very good idea of what you’ll expect them to do

If you’re not sure what exactly you’ll be asking your first employee to do, it will make it extraordinarily difficult to know when you’ve found the most suitable candidate. Before you even begin the job search, you should write down in detail what you’ll expect the candidate to do, and any special experience or certifications that they might need. By doing so, so you’ll have a far better idea of who will be a good fit for you and who won’t. Sometimes an exceptional person may walk into the door and you might want to hire them because of their character alone. However, if you know that they’re not qualified for the kind of work you’ll be asking them to do, then you can avoid making a costly mistake.

Get a sample of their previous work

This might not apply for all businesses, but in certain situations it may make sense to get a sample of some of the previous work that a person has done. For example, if they’re a graphic designer, carpenter, painter, or architect, looking at what they’ve done for previous employers should give you a good idea of what they’re capable of. If you’ve shortlisted a particular candidate and you think that you may like to hire them, you may even consider having them create a sample project for you and your business. If you’re ready to give them the job, and they’re confident in their abilities, they should have no problem spending a few hours creating a mock-up for you to show you what they’re capable of doing.

Make sure you get along with them one on one

Since this is your first employee you’re probably going to be spending a lot of time alone with them in the office, or at the very least talking on the phone with them if he or she is going to be working remotely. That’s why it’s crucial that you find someone who you get along with well, and wouldn’t mind spending a great deal of time with. Communication is an important part of creating a good business atmosphere, and you should even consider hiring a less qualified candidate who you get along with better, versus the more qualified one who rubs you the wrong way.

All of these are solid guidelines to follow when it comes to hiring your first employee. It might seem like a stressful process, but with some preparation and thought, it doesn’t have to be. By keeping in mind everything mentioned above you are sure to find a great employee who you will be happy to work with for years to come, and expand your business with as well. Hopefully in time you’ll need to hire even more employees, and by that time you’ll have some experience under your belt and you’ll be ready to make more good hiring decisions. While this article has been about how to find the most suitable candidate, if you want to learn more about the legalities of hiring your first employee, you should read this article put out by the Small Business Administration.

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