In this blog, I’m going to explain, step-by-step, how to hire an employee.
Hiring an employee might be the biggest leap in the evolution of a business. It’s the first step toward being a business owner instead of “self-employed” (see my last blog for more info on that).
It’s essential to growing.
If you are one of the many “business owners” who I’ve spoken to over the years who says they’ve tried hiring an employee, but “it’s not worth it” because they don’t care enough, do crap work, are more trouble than they’re worth, cause more harm than good, and so on, you’re wrong. Millions of businesses are successfully employing billions of people right at this very moment. The concept of employment is not flawed. You’re just bad at it.
The steps I’m going to go through below are geared toward a full-time of part-time person. If you’re not ready for a full-time person yet, but need help, part-time is a great option, but it’s not your only one. If you are just starting off and need a salesperson, try and find someone who can work part-time and will work for just commission. If you need labor, consider paying by the piece/task. In both these cases, you get the security of a fixed expense. You’ll probably sacrifice some margins this way, but it reduces your risk.
I’m also a big fan of what I call “micro-hiring,” where you are hiring to get a specific task done, not hiring a person then giving them roles. These micro-hires are typically small weekly expenses — $25, $50, $100, maybe $200 a week. For instance, we have someone whose only job is to thank every person who shares one of our posts on Facebook. We have someone else whose only job is responding to every comment/message on Facebook and Instagram. We have another person whose only job is to call every lead that comes in as fast as humanly possible. Sometimes, it’s not another person you need, it’s just one or two critical but time-consuming tasks. Micro-hires are great for that. Fiverr is a tremendous resource for this. So are friends who are not working, who work from home, or work part-time.
Without further ado, how to hire an employee.
Step 0: Hire a payroll service
If you’re just starting, using a service like ADP or Paychex takes the stress and learning curve out of payroll taxes, running payroll, worker’s comp, direct deposit, and so on. They’re fairly inexpensive and a great way to go.
Step 1: Advertise
Start by letting the friends and family you trust and respect know that you’re hiring, and to send viable candidates your way. I’m a big fan of hiring friends and family. You may not be. This is a decision you need to make for yourself. But even if hiring people close to you isn’t for you, there’s a good chance they know quality humans.
If you can spend a little money, run an employment ad on your company’s Facebook page or LinkedIn. Facebook is better for general and skilled labor, sales jobs, customer service, and other non-executive type roles – probably what you’re seeking if this is your first employee. The Facebook job platform is really great, too. It’s a tremendous way to find lots of options quickly, which is what you want.
How you write your ad MATTERS. If you want a superstar, you need to write an ad a superstar will respond to. Be honest, but make it sound exciting, and be clear that you’re only hiring the best.
Here are two ads for a shipping manager.
Ad #1: Shipping clerk wanted. $17 an hour. Lots of growth potential. Overtime available. No experience necessary, but preferred. A/C warehouse.
Ad #2: Are you almost unhealthily obsessed with organization and attention to detail? Do you get oddly satisfied checking goals off a list? Do people ever accuse you of “caring too much” about getting things perfect? If all this sounds like you, you may be perfect for our shipping clerk position. $17 an hour, and with all of the overtime at time and a half you can handle. If you can handle 12+ hours a day, the opportunity is there for you to take. Only apply if you’re a superstar willing to be rewarded for your potential and earn promotions – workers hired in this position today will be the company’s leaders in the future. You don’t need any experience, just determination and a willingness to do what it takes.
Which one of those do you think will entice the best candidates? Specifically ask for the best of the best in your ad. Set the bar ridiculously high. Offer compensation worthy of the best. And that’s what you’ll get.
Step 2: Interview
Lots of people get interviews wrong. They think the purpose of an interview is to assess someone’s competency / their ability to execute the job. They think that by “interviewing” the candidate, asking questions about their skills and work history, they’ll be able to successfully discern how well they will perform.
This is malarkey.
It’s impossible to tell from an interview how well or how poorly someone will do the job.
And if you think you have some special trick or magic question to suss out the truth – hogwash.
The purpose of an interview is to gauge personality. Certain roles have certain personality prerequisites, and this conversation gives you a small determining if their personality is the right fit, and vice versa.
My advice for the interview is to just have a conversation. Preface the interview by saying that a conversation is your goal, and that their answers to any personal questions have no impact on getting the job. And then just chat. Do you like them? Can you spend 8+ hours a day with this person? If it’s a sales / customer service job, are they friendly and personable?
You can train someone to do most jobs. You can’t train personality or work ethic. As long as they meet any minimum technical requirements, ignore the resume. Ignore the references (who supplies a bad reference?). Choose for personality.
Step 3: Try them out
When you hire someone, let them know it is very tentative and probationary. As I said before, it is IMPOSSIBLE to successfully predict how well someone will perform. You have to try people out. And when – not if, WHEN – your first choice isn’t totally awesome, when you see a red flag on day 1 or 2, do yourself a favor, and more importantly, do THEM a favor, and fire them immediately. Fire fast. This is why getting lots of options via Facebook is good, because you are planning on hiring and firing a few, maybe a bunch, until you find someone perfect.
Step 4: Treat them like gold
You’ve gone through a lot of trouble to find a great employee; now, treat them that way. Great employees get support. Great employees are paid well. Great employees get raises, bonuses, and promotions. Great employees have autonomy and don’t need to be micromanaged.
Step 5: Have reasonable expectations
Do you want to know the secret to getting an employee to care about the business as much as you do? Give them half the company. That’s the only way. There’s no way you can expect an employee to care as much or work as hard in YOUR business as YOU do.
Congratulations. You now have an amazing employee, hopefully for years to come. With hard work, talent, and a bit of luck, the first of many. Short of childbirth, you are doing the most creative endeavor mankind is capable of. You are building a business – a living, breathing, evolving enterprise that impacts the world, has a personality, and affects people’s lives. And it is built, piece by piece, by the people you hire to be a part of it. Pick great people, allow them to be great, and then your company, inevitably, will be great as well.