BridgeYour good buddy Jon Lee here, back from a very relaxing vacation in Turks and Caicos (you’ve gotta go if you can, — it’s gorgeous) to talk to you about a very common, but very vexing problem for new businesses: hiring your first employee.

You are in the right place if:

You’ve gotten your business started, or joined a small company, and you have customers, possibly even profits, but now you need to start building a team of employees, and you’re not really sure where to begin and who to hire.

When it comes to hiring employees, there are two big mistakes most small businesses make.

1. Hiring Too Soon

Why is this a problem? Because employees cost money and take time to manage. You really shouldn’t be hiring until you are comfortably profitable and adding a new employee will produce more income.

2. Not Paying Enough for Good Help

This is the killer hidden mistake almost every small business makes. Remember what your Dad told you: “You get what you pay for.” Good help is hard to find, and in a small business, good help can literally be the difference between profitability and failure.

I made both of these mistakes with my own business, and I’ve watched hundreds of entrepreneurs since follow in my not-so-great footsteps.

Luckily for you, I was able to correct my mistakes and figure out exactly what you need to look for when you’re hiring your first employee.

So, without any further ado, let’s introduce my three unusual tips for hiring your first employee — tips I wish I had known:

1. Ask Yourself, ‘Is the Employee a Necessity, or a Luxury?’

PaintbrushesNecessities for your small business include things like marketing, Internet services, websites, etc. Luxuries are things that are designed to make your life easier. Far too often, small businesses decide to hire because they want the luxury of not having to respond to emails or pull late nights to finish projects. When you’re profitable, luxuries are a good investment; when you’re not, they will sink your business faster than almost anything else.

2. Split Test Your Hiring

This was something I wish I knew back in 2008 when I hired my first employee. Instead of hiring one employee and hoping they work out, I now hire two employees on a trial basis for two weeks. I give them both extremely similar projects and see which one does the better work. First place is a brand new job — second place is,”You’re fired.” Not only will this get you the best employee, but it will also let you know if you even need an employee in the first place.

3. Lay Out Clear and Precise Job Objectives When You Hire

One of my worst hiring stories came when I was hiring a personal assistant. I knew I needed someone to do all of my little errands and stuff so I could work more, but I didn’t have a good idea of exactly what I needed an assistant to do. I ended up having to hire and fire three different people until I finally sat down and fleshed out the exact objectives of being my assistant. Since I did that in 2011, I have had the same wonderful assistant, Vanessa. You need to know exactly what you expect a new hire to do and how to tell if they’re doing a good job. If you don’t know that, do not hire anyone.

Let’s Recap:

I see new employers make two major mistakes:

1. Hiring too soon.

2. Not paying enough for good help.

Make sure that it makes sense for you to hire now, and that you can afford to hire someone good! If you can’t, wait a little bit longer to hire.

Next, we talked about my three unusual tips for successful hiring:

1. Determine if the hire is a necessity or a luxury. Only hire necessities.

2. Split test your hiring to make sure you get the best employee possible.

3. Lay out clear and precise objectives before hiring.

If you avoid those two very common mistakes and make sure to take advantage of these hard-learned tips for hiring, you will be able to make sure you hire a superstar as your first employee!

Follow Jon on Twitter: @uncoveruragame

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