5 Tips on Hiring Your First Contractor or Employee


Last Updated on April 8, 2016

Most businesses start pretty small; sometimes with only you or yourself and a partner to handle all the responsibilities. But at some point, as customers increase and business grows, you’ll need to hire an employee or a contractor to outsource work to. Hiring your first employee can be relatively simple; most managers or business owners utilize the traditional resume and interview method.

This can usually work out fine, but you might want to consider things a bit more carefully before saying yes to any applicants. Read these tips on hiring your first employee and you’ll improve your chances of ensuring that the employee or contractor is one that will perform to your expectations, as well as stay with you long-term instead of seeking employment elsewhere.

1. Training and Experience

The first thing you need to consider when hiring your first employee is whether or not you need to find someone already experienced, or whether you will need to provide training. An experienced employee deserves higher compensation, but training an employee can also be costly, especially if you invest in training and a salary and the employee then decides to leave shortly thereafter.

The amount of experience is also a factor. An employee that possesses a lot of experience may not be happy for too long working at your business if it is still small. So the plan is to find someone that may already possess some experience or has worked in a similar industry, but is used to a small business atmosphere and is not looking to jump ship to a larger company.

2. Where to Find Applicants

These days there are numerous resources for posting jobs listings and finding applicants. You can post online ads in online newspapers, job sites, and social media sites, or you can take the initiative and search resume banks for the perfect candidate yourself. Because each position is different, some resources might suit you better than others, but the main point is to go where you are most likely to find applicants suited to the position you are hiring for. For example, if you are looking for someone with a lot of credentials and experience, you probably wouldn’t use Facebook or Craigslist; LinkedIn would serve you better.

Regardless of where you look, it is recommended to put full details of the job requirements and any other pertinent information into your job listing. If your ad is lacking in detail, you are bound to get an overload of resumes from applicants that are lacking in the requirements and experience you desire. A detailed listing reduces the slush pile and results in more relevant applicants.

3. The Interviews

It can be tempting to hire someone solely based on their experience and their resume if it appears that they have the skills and knowledge you require. But just because someone offers a lot of experience doesn’t always mean they work well with others. The interview isn’t just an opportunity to find out more about an applicants credentials; it is also your chance to gage their friendliness, motivation and energy level, capacity to work as a team, or any other traits you deem necessary for a good fit within your company.

Ask questions regarding different situations the applicant might encounter if hired, and see how they would respond and what actions they would take. Ask them why they prefer to come work at a small company rather than a larger one.

4. Networking

As an entrepreneur, you probably have developed a network of friends and colleagues, and possibly even advisors or a mentor. Networking is always a good way to find good applicants, because those that recommend a particular individual for a position or as a contractor typically have first hand experience with that person. Ask around—you never know who might know someone that could be the perfect person for the job.

5. Hiring Contractors

Hiring contractors is a little different than hiring employees, because contractors are typically only utilized for a temporary period.  Some businesses opt to use contractors because they do not always have enough work to warrant a full-time employee, or because a particular task that needs to be completed, such as a website design and development, also doesn’t require hiring and retaining staff.

When seeking to hire contractors, there are numerous resources you can use. You can find freelancers on online freelance sites such as Guru.com or Freelancer.com, or you can seek companies that specialize in the services you require. Whichever route you go, look for someone that has ample experience and favorable reviews. Discuss pricing beforehand, and make sure all terms are in writing, so that there can be no misunderstanding or disagreement afterwards.

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