Who should you hire first?

Nothing will make or break your new business like your first hire. They will be the reason for your potential success or failure, and they will largely dictate the type of company that you’ll become in the future.

Like other new entrepreneurs, it’s normal not to be confident when it comes to hiring your first employee. But the good news is that you don’t need to focus all your energy on finding the most experienced candidate to suit a role, but rather someone with the perfect set of skills and qualities to fit your business’ demands.  

Here are some qualities to keep an eye on when choosing your first hire.

You’re going to be relying heavily on this individual for support, so at least make sure they possess some of the basic qualities, which include: strong work ethic, effective communication skills, and people skills. After that, you can mould them into what you want them to be.

Look for someone who has business connections

In today’s day and age, there is no excuse not to be active on social platforms, connecting with people in different industries and keeping up-to-date on the latest trends and innovations. When looking to hire, make sure that your potential candidate has some connections that could add value to your company. From client or supplier partnerships to influential thought leaders, these relationships are the ones that could help elevate your company to new heights. Make sure your candidate can assist with this.

Once your company reaches those new heights (and hopefully it does), your first employee will most likely hold a key position within your company, which is why it’s always worth taking the extra time and initiative to find someone worthy in this department, especially if you’re new to the industry yourself.

For example, a good way to help your first employee learn more about the industry and connect with other business owners would be to send them on entrepreneurial conferences like AfricArena2017. This is where new business opportunities can be explored and potential new markets unpacked.

Look for flexibility in your potential candidate

Thankfully, the digital environment allows for a lot of training and knowledge gain. If you’re hiring someone who will help grow your digital presence, you would want someone to be knowledgeable within the online space. Another thing is that, with your first hire, they will need to wear many hats. One day they’ll be required to attempt something they’ve never done before and the next day something else. It will never be the same, which is why the person you hire will need to be versatile and willing to adapt.

If all of a sudden you find yourself running late, would your hire be able to pick up on a marketing pitch that you needed complete by lunch time? The ideal person would be someone who has experience in both online marketing and traditional sales, but it’s not always easy to find a jack of all trades.

The fun in searching for the right person is being able to read between the lines. Look for skills and experience that could contribute to your first (best) employee.

Try to find someone who is good at the things you’re bad at

As we know, skills can be taught, lessons can be learned, but personality is what it is. So, the secret to hiring your first employee is finding someone who’s not like you. They need to be someone you get along with, but whose strengths are your weaknesses. For example, hiring someone who closely resembles you means that the likelihood of you two getting along is high, but you cannot hire another ‘you’. The point is to find someone who complements your skills set. If you’re terrible at negotiating business deals, then find someone who nails each pitch. Or, if you’re really good at social media, don’t hire another online guru.

Making the correct hire can be tough and it’s not to be rushed into just for the sake of urgency. Rather take some time to carefully assess what your company is lacking, and even if you do know exactly what you’re looking for, try not to make a rushed decision and hire someone you aren’t fully comfortable with. As previously said, your first hire is going to set the tone for your business success.

Make sure they are a good team player

Along with hiring someone with the above-mentioned qualities, it’s important for them to possess the skill of being a good team player. If not, then you need to reevaluate your decision. One of the key skills, for any company’s employee to have, is to be driven by team collaboration and engagement. If someone doesn’t work well with others, you’re going to be dealing with a lot of headaches. Make sure they are self-motivated, share the same values and principals as you do, are willing to take risks and are interested in learning more. Because, after all, they’re going to be steering your ship.