The Ultimate Guide to Hiring Your First Team Member in 2020
So you have this itch like you’re ready to bring on some help in your business.
Whether you’re looking for some admin support to come in and declutter in your business, someone that’s going to help you create a better work-life balance, or someone to tackle a specific, specialized business function, the steps for a successful hire and Onboarding is the same.
The truth is that there are good and bad fits for your business. And how well they fit may change as your business changes too, and that’s okay.
For whatever stage you’re in right now and for whatever help you’re looking for, follow this ultimate guide to hiring your first team member to make sure they check all your boxes and you hire successfully.
Step 1: Get Clear on What You Need
The absolute LAST thing that you want to do when hiring is to bring someone on because you either see other people hiring and feel like you need to look too successful or feel like you need help but aren’t exactly sure about what that looks like.
A brilliant activity to do is:
- Write down EVERY activity in your business. From blogging and SEO to tracking your finances and drafting proposals for clients.
- Write down everything that you WANT to be happening (or SHOULD be happening) in your business, but isn’t – either because you don’t have the knowledge to do it or you don’t have the time.
- Put a * or highlight all of those activities that drive revenue.
Doing this can help you identify where hiring someone might be the best investment of your resources.
Write Down Roles & Responsibilities
Once that’s been identified, it’s time to map out what those roles and responsibilities look like as a part of your team. The worst thing you could do is bring someone on without really knowing what they should be doing day-to-day.
Map out what they’re in charge of, who they report to, what their specific tasks are, and what tools they need to be able to accomplish them. Also, make sure that you write down what their performance metrics would be.
How do you know that what they are working on is getting you results?
Step 2: Getting the word out there, aka. Posting the job
Now that you’re clear on what help you need and what their actual job description is, it’s time to spread the word and find the best fit for your team. There are a few different ways that you can do this:
- Outsource through sites like Fiverr or Upwork.
- Post a job description in a Facebook group or through your page (on Facebook or LinkedIn).
- Ask your network for recommendations.
As you spread the word, make sure that you are specific in a way that those seeing your messages will self-qualify. AKA, you’re not getting EVERYONE – even those that are not a great fit – applying or saying they’re interested.
Be specific on what you’re looking for to bring in the best options for you.
Step 3: Interviews & Doing Your Due Diligence
As the requests and applications roll in, it’s time to start the interview process.
Make sure you set your boundaries and are only getting on the phone or Zoom with individuals who you think would be a good fit already – or have the potential to be a good fit.
While it’s always a good thing to acknowledge everyone that expressed interest, your time is valuable, and the last thing you want to do is spend your days interviewing people that didn’t make sense from the beginning.
Now when it comes to the actual phone call, you can perform your interviews as formal or casual as you like. It is your business, after all. But you are looking for a few key things:
- They have the skillset to get the job done.
- They have the willingness and drive to learn anything they don’t already know.
- They are a good personality fit.
Someone could have THE BEST qualifications in the world, but if they don’t fit well with you, your leadership style, or the rest of your team (if you have one), then it just isn’t going to work long-term.
Post-call, do your due diligence, research them, verify what they’ve said and take the time to double-check the information.
Don’t feel uncomfortable asking for references, for examples of work, or even giving them a made-up task to trial.
You’re the boss, and it is totally within your right to qualify the best person for your team.
Step 4: Onboarding for Success
You’ve found someone you are PUMPED to hire. This person really knows their stuff, they love the vision of your company, they align with your values, and they have this infectious energy that makes you want to bring them on right away.
But before you do, make sure that YOU are set up to bring them on board. The last thing you want to do is find this incredible human being to add to your team, but then a lack of communication and organization TOTALLY ruins it, and you both end up frustrated.
Before you onboard someone, you want to make sure you have in place for them:
- Information on how communication will work, including contact information, tools used to communicate, and policies for using those tools.
- Any policies (like social media policies, dress code if it is an in-person job, code of conduct, etc.)
- Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for the tasks they will be executing (i.e., your process for editing and publishing a blog, your process for engaging with your audience on social media, your process for handling customer support requests, etc.)
- Tools and Software (and how to use them)
- Company information, including any brand assets they need to do their job, your company’s mission statement and values, and so on.
Having all of this information centralized and ready to go for your new hire will make sure that they have everything they need to jump in and get to work right away.
If you use a project management tool to coordinate your business, having an Onboarding area in there for your team members is a great asset to have. For example, in ClickUp:
Step 5: Communication & Checkpoints
And last but not least, to maintain a successful and productive relationship with any team member, communication is vital.
I recommend having regular check-ins with them, whether you both agree that a quick weekly 15-minute call to check-in makes more sense, or a monthly review and strategy session fits better for the role and tasks they’re executing for you.
While I take the “open door” approach, wanting everyone on the Rebel Office team to feel comfortable coming to me if something isn’t working or they aren’t sure how to complete something that I’ve asked, everyone manages and leads their business differently.
Regardless of how you lead, it is essential to make sure that there are as few opportunities for miscommunication as possible.
It helps to check in with yourself and to go over the processes you’ve set in place regularly to make sure that everything is still running smoothly and efficiently.
Our Leadership pro, Skye Barbour, breaks down challenges with communication and how to lead with key communication tactics.
Growing your team is an exciting milestone for your business and yourself as the boss and leader. Trust your gut, stay organized, and be the total rockstar that you are.