Nothing will make or break your new business more than the first employee you hire. As an entrepreneur just starting out, you’re probably not too sure about what you’re doing when it comes to hiring your employees.
Of course, you’re not shooting completely in the dark. You’ve got common sense after all, and so far, that has been enough to get you to this stage in your business. A lot of qualities you want in your first hire are pretty obvious and go without saying. Make sure the candidate has a strong work ethic and cares for more than just the paycheck you’ll be giving them at the end of every week. Check to see that they’re an effective communicator, because chances are it’ll come in handy down the road even if it’s not critical right now. And of course, you’re going to be spending a lot of time with your employee so you’re going to want to choose someone you can get along with.
Those are all great qualities to look for and help give you a great place to start when evaluating job candidates. But if you want to take it a step further, here are some less obvious, but nevertheless, key traits you want to be keeping an eye for in your potential hire.
Find Someone With Business Connections
Having business connections with the right people can elevate your company to new heights. This can come in the form of partnerships, discounts on supplies, new ways to generate revenue, and other special privileges that you simply can’t get access to unless you know that special someone. Unfortunately, building connections — especially strong ones that actually come with advantageous perks — is not something you can just do in the blink of an eye. It requires not only huge amounts of time and effort, but also pure luck.
That is why it is so important that the first employee you hire has access to people who can potentially help your business grow.
Of course, finding someone with these types of connections will be difficult. But remember, this isn’t just anyone you’re hiring — it’s your very first employee. Once your company reaches the top (and let’s hope it does), your first employee may very likely hold a key position within your potentially large corporation. He could be the CFO or CTO or a huge shareholder. That’s why it is always worth taking the extra time and initiative to find someone with business connections, especially if you don’t have too many yourself.
Find Someone Who’s Versatile
If you’re hiring an online marketer, you don’t want someone who’s good at just online marketing. Your business is young and the world is unpredictable. One day you need one thing, and the next day you need two other things, but not that thing from before. You need to hire someone who will be versatile enough to help your company in more than just one area. If all of a sudden you find yourself spread too thin and need the online marketer you hired to give a sales pitch to some potential buyers, can he do it?
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In order to find someone who can act as your Swiss Army knife, you should look for candidates with a wide range of skills and expertise. Find someone who’s had experience as both an online marketer and a salesman. Of course, it’s always difficult to find the perfect candidate who has knowledge of all the areas you may need help in. That’s why sometimes you need to read between the lines. Look for skills and experience which might imply that the candidate is capable of learning new things quickly. Perhaps he’s never been a salesman, but from interviewing him you can tell that he’s a good communicator. That, coupled with his previous experience as a cashier, suggests that he’s good with people and would most likely be able to pull off that sales pitch — even if it might not be the greatest.
Find Someone Who Is Good at the Things You’re Not
Don’t fall for the trap of hiring someone just like you. There are many reasons why you would. For example, hiring someone who closely resembles you probably increases the likelihood that you two would get along. In general, we vibe better with those we can relate to. But as it stands, with your business being run by just you and your next hire, you want someone who will be able to complement your skill set. If you aren’t comfortable with talking to customers or negotiating business deals, then find someone who is. If you’re great at computer programming, then you don’t need another coder.
Hiring your second employee is all about bringing in someone who can do the things that currently can’t be done. It’s about filling in the missing pieces. Take some time to carefully assess what your company is lacking because of your own limitations. For instance, many companies don’t have an online presence or don’t do social media because the owners aren’t tech-savvy enough to know where to begin. Therefore, despite how important having an online presence is towards growing a business, they end up completely neglecting this critical area.
Making the correct hire can be tough. Even if you know exactly what you’re looking for in your first employee, that doesn’t mean you’ll find him. While the process can be frustrating, don’t make a rushed decision and hire someone you aren’t fully comfortable with. Keep your cool and good luck.