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Hiring Your First Employee: The Best Mental Checklist

It’s time. I know you’re scared. You’ve been at your business all by yourself, and everyone knows you deserve Kudos for doing it all on your own. As it stands, though, you’re overwhelmed with the growth and expansion, unable to keep up with the calls, leads and invoices. You need help. This is a good thing. You’ve reached the first marker in the journey of a corporate lifetime.

Now Hiring

photo credit: ttblum

You’re Ready to Hire Your First Employee

What do you do? How do you do it? What do you have to worry about? What questions should you ask? What makes a good candidate anyway?

Don’t be shocked if you’re asking all these questions, feeling as if you’re more nervous than the prospective candidate walking through your door. It’s normal. Quite frankly, I’d bet every hiring manager never grows accustomed to the idea of the interview and the hiring process. It’s daunting, exhausting and rather stressful.

There are ways to prepare yourself, though, for that all-important first employee that you’ll hire for your company, starting with….

Figuring Out Whether You Really Need to Hire

We all like to think we can hire or we should hire. The question, though, we should ask is this — should we hire. It’s a big step. You don’t just make it, all because you think you’re having trouble keeping up. Really evaluate your situation and ask yourself these core questions:

  • Am I actually losing business because I can’t keep up?
  • Am I juggling too much at the moment?
  • Am I running out of printing paper, clips, pens, markers and notepads?

The third question, though, is a bit of a joke, but pressing an important point. If you’re letting some of your minor responsibilities of maintaining your business drag, that’s a telltale sign: you might need to hire an assistant.

Examine the Cost, Though, Just to Be Sure

Hiring someone ultimately means you’re losing more out of your revenue. Is it worth it? I’m, of course, not simply talking about paying an employee’s salary or wages. According to the National Federation of Independent Business, you’re recommended to provide for yourself a detailed cost-reward analysis before even thinking about hiring an employee.

Itemize everything in the job description, too —

  • New Equipment Costs
  • Facility Upgrades
  • Supply Usage

You’re adding another body onto your establishment. Think about how much more waste will be attributed, everything from graph paper to toilet paper. They’re expenses. Factor it all in. Figure insurance costs, too, as well as the expense and time it takes to handle the additional payroll and taxes.

Once you’ve crunched all the numbers, compare. Look at the reward: how much more business are you able to take on with your new employee? Are you getting more efficient? Do you have more capacity for more orders? These are important questions to ask. And those answers may determine whether you’re ready or not ready to hire your first employee.

Prepare Yourself for the Hiring Process. It’s a Lot More Intricate Than You Think.

It’s easy enough to say “you’re hired.” In fact, a lot of jobs end up like that all the time. Legally, though, with the consultation and advice of a qualified business lawyer, you need to handle the hiring process methodically, following this checklist:

  • the Employer Identification Number (Make Sure You Have It)
  • Preparing the Tax Withholdings (Don’t Forget It)
  • Verifying Employees (Protect Yourself)
  • Register With Your State Directories (Make Yourself Legally Known)
  • Post Your Required Notices (Make Yourself More Known)

I know. It sounds like a lot to do. But you’ve got to do it.

Recognize That Now Your Entire Working Environment Will Change

Hiring your first employee doesn’t mean your entire workday won’t change. Trust me; it will. Let it. If you don’t, you’ll have an employee wasting away his or her day doing nothing tasks while you continue on with the ‘important stuff.’ You want to retain your employees.

That means delegating when necessary. You hired someone for a reason. Take a load off your plate and let some of those tasks go. You’re not the sole proprietorship entrepreneur anymore. You’re a CEO. You’re the boss.

Do the training, the performance evaluations, oversee, examine, analyze, nitpick. Be a boss.

Watch Out for Those Legal Parameters

In many ways, you’re faced with much more to consider than even the employee. That comes with the territory as a boss, though. You have to watch out for….

  • Consent for Background Checks (Get Them Immediately)
  • Don’t Forget to Set Up Your Tax Status (Trust Me. It’ll Save You Money)
  • Make Sure to Accurately Classify the Employment Status (Verify and Record It, Too)
  • Do You Need Disability Insurance? (Consider Your Industry)
  • Do You Need to Offer Benefits? (Maybe, Maybe Not)
  • Watch the Questions You Ask During Interviews (No Questions About Age, Gender, Race, Etc. Etc.)

Believe it or not — and I apologize if this sounds scary — but just one slip up on any one of these factors, and you could be facing dire consequences. Definitely check this list for sure.

Like I Said: It’s a Big Step.

Luckily, you have the professionals in the legal industry to guide you through this journey of expanding your business beyond the 1-man operation. I repeat, though: that’s a good thing. After all, it’s a definite sign that you’re doing something right.

About author

Matt Faustman
Matt Faustman 3 posts

Matt Faustman is the CEO at UpCounsel. You can follow his business insights on Twitter at @upcounsel.

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