If you are starting a business, one of the scariest things to overcome is that fear of hiring your first person. If you just put up a help wanted sign and hire the first person through the door that wants the job, you might decide that being a one person operation is what you should remain forever! So how do you get the right person for the job? Here are my tips from experience of doing it right…and doing it wrong.
1. Did you ever notice in school that cliques of kids sat together? The athletes at one table, the A+ kids at a table together, the stoners at a table together…So when you decide to do a first hire, ask your friends who are in the category you want to hire in for recommendations. Ask your A+ friends, not your stoner friends…they will likely have A+ recommendations for you.
2. Hire temps. When you hire someone for a specific amount of time like one week, one month, 90 days…it takes some of the sting out of a bad hire as once the time is up, they are gone, no firing needed, nothing bad on anyone’s record. IF they are incredible and do an awesome job THEN you have the chance to offer someone a permanent job and make their day!
3. Just an interview is a bad way to get a feel for someone. Most people can clean up well for 20-30 minutes. You want someone who will not only do the job well but work well with you and with others you may bring on later. The best way to avoid this is to see #2, but if that isn’t an option, at least make the interview something significant. Make it a paid interview and have them come in for the whole day to work with you. You may be out a little money if you don’t hire them, but it is well worth not having to deal with the headache of accidentally hiring someone who will sink your start-up!

Another bit of age old advice. Don’t just call the references provided. Call the 2nd to the last employer as well. They won’t be trying to get rid of this person and thus give them a glowing reference. Now days it isn’t legal to trash someone in a reference, but if they give one that sounds like, “Yes, they worked here and that is about all I can tell you.” it is the usual way of saying, “I wouldn’t hire this person again in a million years” without actually saying it. (You might want to make sure the person on the phone did actually work with the person you are looking to hire before making that assumption.)

Good luck hiring! Our economy needs it!


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