If you are self-employed, you’re already used to working long hours including weekends and public holidays. After all, you are responsible for every aspect of your work, so it can be difficult to catch a break. This, however, leaves you vulnerable to burnout and makes it difficult to scale. Your work-life balance suffers, and it seems that even finding time to take your partner or kids out is a huge struggle.
This regrettable set of circumstances can change if you hire one or more employees to help you bear the burden. Hiring your first employee can feel intimidating. But by applying the following tips, you can comply with your local labour laws and steer clear of the most common hiring pitfalls.
1. Don’t Expect Them to Be a Replica of You
No two people on the face of the earth are completely the same. Even identical twins have certain traits unique to each one of them. Similarly, each person you interview will have their own ideas, habits, and mannerisms. As long as these traits won’t make it difficult to work with them, don’t make the mistake of disregarding candidates who do not hold similar views and preferences as you.
If anything, people with a contrasting character could complement your strengths and pick up the slack on your shortcomings. If your way of working is more freewheeling, your best bet would be to go with someone who is schedule-oriented.
2. Understand and Document Their Exact Role
Before you place a job ad, take time to write down a job description. Note down the goals you expect of your new hire. The more clearly you articulate the job description (and subsequently, the job ad), the higher the chances of attracting the right candidate.
Make sure the listed responsibilities are realistic. Don’t make the job seem more glamorous than it is by omitting the less pleasant aspects (such as working long hours). Your new hire’s first day on the job should be almost exactly what they expected when they submitted their application.
3. Understand Your Management Style
By hiring your first employee, you automatically become a manager. The person reports to you, and it’s now one of your duties to make sure they are doing what they are expected to. Management styles vary from person to person. Know your default style and make sure you hire a person who will not be antagonized by it.
For example, you cannot state in the job ad that you want an independent thinker who works with minimal supervision but end up micromanaging them. You’ll make the new hire unhappy and uncomfortable which eventually lowers their productivity.
4. Plan Ahead
Hurried, last-minute hiring is often self-defeating. You may bring someone onboard quickly but due to the poor planning and rushed recruitment, there’s a high risk of employing the wrong individual. Instead, plan ahead. Recognize that finding the right hire takes time, meticulous shortlisting, and thoughtful interviewing.
Ideally, you should kick off the process several months before the expected first working day of the new employee. That being said, don’t pass up an excellent hire just because you discovered them early in the process. Cut your costs by offering them the job immediately and bring the process to a close.
5. Conduct a Background Check
If your employee violates a law or regulation that governs the conduct of your business, you or your company may be held liable. You can reduce the probability of this happening by running a pre-hiring background check to determine if the person has a criminal history or if they’ve caused legal problems for previous employers.
There are multiple ways of running a background check. Start with a simple web search of the person’s official name. You can also contract a third party to do a more comprehensive background check but you’ll need the candidate’s authorization beforehand for that.
6. Develop a Training Program
Whether it’s one-on-one training sessions or it’s a detailed user manual handed to the new hire, have an exhaustive training program. It’s the perfect way of getting your employee to hit the ground running.
The training program should be comprehensive but focused. Only cover the things that relate to the new hire’s job. You don’t want to flood them with the knowledge they won’t need to apply.
These tips will set you on the path toward a productive and happy working relationship with your new staff.