Employee Assessment: How to Make the First Hire for Your Business

Nov 27, 2017

Are you a small business owner looking to make your first hire? If so, congratulations! Hiring your first employee is a huge step for your business and shows your company has real merit and a promising future.

Hiring an employee to help you and your business grow is critical to success. But how do you complete an employee assessment and make sure you’re hiring the right person for your business?

When it comes to hiring, there are many things to consider such as your industry needs, financial situation, and employee compatibility.

Want to know how to complete an employee assessment and hire the best employee out there? Keep reading to learn how to make the first hire for your business.

Signs You Should Hire an Employee as Soon as Possible

When you’re running a business on your own you can try things out, set your own schedule, and run your business without worrying about hiring or employee management. But without employees, you won’t be able to grow and scale your business in the long-term.

Here are some signs you need to hire employees as soon as possible:

You’re Turning Down Work

If you have to turn projects or customers away, chances are you’re over-worked and understaffed. You shouldn’t hire an employee if you don’t have adequate work for them, or if you can’t afford them, but if you have both, you definitely should hire one.

You’re Not Able to Offer All the Services You Want

Are there certain parts of your business you can’t grow due to personal bandwidth issues? By hiring an employee, you can take on new types of work you can’t handle on your own. You can even hire people who can take on projects you don’t have the personal skills to complete.

You can’t grow your business or be truly successful if you can’t offer the services your customers want.

You’re Receiving Complaints from Customers

If your customers are complaining about your work or timeliness, chances are you’ve spread yourself too thin. A second employee can help respond to phone calls and emails, help organize your work and make sure you’re up to date on all your projects. Bad publicity and negative reviews can destroy a small business so you need to do all you can to avoid those things!

Questions to Ask Yourself Before Hiring Your First Employee

If you’re overworked or desperate to get your business going, you’re probably itching to start a potential employee assessment. Before you start bringing your candidates in, think through the following questions to make sure you’re going about hiring in the right way.

Do I Have a Defined Role to Fill?

Don’t post or advertise a vague job title or unclear responsibilities. Take the time to come up with a killer job description that sells the position and lays out the responsibilities and expectations of the new employee. This will help with your employee assessment and guarantee you are getting qualified candidates with relevant experience.

Tip: If you write a very detailed job description, it’ll be easier to set benchmarks to measure your new employee’s performance.

Am I Hiring Someone With the Same Skills as Myself?

When completing an employee assessment, you should make sure you’re looking for someone with complementary and not identical skills. Be careful to avoid hiring a candidate that is good at all the things you’re good at. Instead, try to hire an employee that has strengths that compensate for your weaknesses.

Will The New Employee Help With My Bottom Line?

If you’re a small business owner with limited finances, you need to make sure you’re hiring for a role that will help the business grow. Does this work lie within your business’s main areas of strength and is it needed on a regular basis?

Only hire for absolutely essential roles. Your first employee is a huge financial investment, so you need to know that their role will help make your business more profitable.

Will the Potential Employee be a Good Model for Future Employees?

Your first employee isn’t just your first employee, they’re a model for employees to come. When conducting an employee assessment, make sure your candidates have the necessary qualities to serve as a model for employees you hire later on.

Does this Employee Seem Like They’ll Stay a While?

When conducting a potential employee assessment, you should ask candidates why they are interested in your business and what they are hoping to get out of working with you. Your first employee will likely learn your company inside and out, so it’s vital that they are looking to grow with you and the business.

If a candidate seems like they’re only interested in a short-term position, turn them down. By hiring someone who wants to stay with you long-term, you can avoid employee turnover. This will save you money and time on recruiting and training.

Would Hiring an Independent Contractor Be Equally Effective?

Full-time employees require a regular salary and often benefits, which can be costly for a new business owner. Many roles and services like website design, marketing, and administrative assistants can be easily performed by remote workers or freelancers.

Sometimes hiring someone on a freelance or contract basis is easier and just as effective as hiring someone full time.

By answering these questions in advance, you can make sure you’re conducting employee assessments on only the best candidates.

Tips for Employee Assessments & Hiring

Now that you know why you should hire a new employee, you need to know how to go about actually hiring one! Here are some tips and best practices for an employee assessment and hiring.

Hire Sooner Rather Than Later

The sooner you hire a new employee, the sooner you’ll be able to cut down on your to-do list and start getting impactful work down. An extra person will help with brainpower, creativity, and guarantee that you’ll get work done sooner.

The longer you wait, the more you’ll delay company growth.

Have Candidates Show Skills and Demonstrate Job Aptitude

Believe it or not, job candidates have gotten very good at lying or using their charm to get jobs they’re not truly qualified for. Research shows that the best way to determine if a candidate is right for a job is by having them complete a job-related task. Exercises like this help determine if the candidate has the critical-thinking skills and qualifications to do the job on a daily basis.

Tip: When doing an employee assessment like this, give the candidate limited direction so you can see how they would tackle the assignment without guidance.

Look for Flexible Candidates from Smaller Companies

While it may be tempting to hire an employee from a big company, they’re not always the best fit for small businesses. Employees from smaller companies are usually more flexible, relatively independent, and willing to do a variety of jobs. Employees from bigger companies are usually used to rules and structure and less comfortable with going with the flow.

Sell Your Small Business to Candidates

From your job postings to candidate interviews, you should be making your company seem like an ideal place to work! How do you sell your small business to employees?

  • Remind them you’re not bureaucratic like big businesses
  • Tell them there is potential for job growth
  • Sell the human aspect of small businesses

This will show potential employees that working for you isn’t a risky venture, but rather an opportunity to grow with a business that matters!

Find Employees Through Your Personal and Business Networks

You should ask for employee referrals from friends, industry colleagues, and past coworkers. If one of these people recommends a potential employee, they’ve already done some of your employee assessment. This makes networking an invaluable part of job sourcing.

Fun fact: Start-ups generally find their first 10 or 15 employees through referrals.

Conduct Killer Candidate Interviews

Finding a candidate is only half the battle. You need to conduct an interview that determines if a candidate is qualified while selling the business to them in the process.

Here are some interviewing tips so you conduct a great employee assessment:

  • Screen candidates on the phone before an in-person meeting
  • Learn what interview questions are illegal to ask candidates
  • Reference the candidate’s resume and previous work experience
  • Ask the candidate what they want in a new role
  • Ask questions about the company culture you want to create


Final Thoughts on Your First Employee

Hiring your first employee is scary, but exciting! If you plan appropriately, rely on your network, and conduct killer interviewers, you’ll have a great first hire in no time!



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