Things You Must Do When Hiring Your First Employee

Things You Must Do When Hiring Your First Employee

You may be running your business as a lone ranger, thereby performing all the physical and mental functions required to keep it afloat all by yourself, but the firm has now expanded and out-grown your lone labour. Or, it could perhaps be a bigger establishment that you are just starting and is about to get operational. In both situations, hiring becomes indispensable.

Hiring your first employee is no doubt a milestone in your entrepreneurial growth. It indicates that you have been able to successfully assemble all other factor inputs required and you are just in need of the right person to man them. But being an employer comes with numerous obligations. Therefore, it is something that should be well thought out and done rigorously and strategically to ensure it achieves the desired impact. It is important to appreciate that it is your first time, and just as with any other exercise you are prone to “first-time errors”.


Your need for hiring doesn’t mean you will just start employing. A lot of things need to be in place before you start bringing in people to work. Remember you are now about to indirectly shoulder the responsibility of another person’s livelihood, whose success partly depends on how enabling the working environment is. More so, you are employing to ensure efficiency and effectiveness, which should, in turn, translate to higher output. Getting things wrong at this stage will mean doom for your business while getting it right can put your firm on a path of growth.

While a number of the things you are required to do before your first hire are statutory, a couple of others depend on the industry you are in and the prevailing business environment. Giving all factors the needed consideration will go a long in determining the success of the hiring process, employee(s) performance on the job, and the overall growth of the firm. Highlighted below are the things you should do before you start hiring for the first time.

Things You Must Do When Hiring Your First Employee

Assess your current financial situation

Before bringing in others, ensure that your business will remain profitable over time. Once you begin to make a profit and feel the tipping point of your capability is approaching, hire someone to reduce your workload. If you feel you are at the peak of profitability, hire sooner than later; it will be unwise to continue with the huge workload instead of strategizing toward the future. If you need to hire before you commence operation, you must evaluate the firm’s likely income and its proposed expenditure to establish the number of employees you can afford to pay for a while before you start making profits. Create a plan, and explore the money market for financing options that will keep you afloat until business stabilizes.

Meet the legal requirements for employment

Now that you start recruiting, ensure you meet all the legal obligations of a firm that can employ. There are a lot of legal requirements in every country’s employment laws and Nigeria is not an exception. From tax obligations to minimum wage, make sure your new firm complies with all its legal responsibilities to avoid losing money on litigation or regulator fines. Firstly, you need to register with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CEC), then follow up by getting an employer identification number, it allows you to hire legally and pay taxes. Create a payment mechanism that deducts employee’s tax from the source and focuses on hiring only eligible candidates.

Describe the tasks for each role

The efficacy of your task list determines your workers’ productivity. Hence it is important to define every role’s responsibility as clearly as possible before hiring to fill them. Tasks can be made a lot easier long before they are undertaken, by simply framing and defining them properly, in the right size and unit. You will have to identify the area that needs the most attention and support; At the start-up stage, only roles and employees that will drive the business should be prioritized. Take time off to assess what you have been doing and categorize them based on competence, value addition, and time of execution. Once you can identify and categorize tasks, it will be easier to coin a job role that can be filled. Articulate the functions of each position explicitly, so that the person coming in to fill it will have an understanding of what is expected of him. It will subsequently aid you in supervision and personnel assessment over time.


Build an online presence   

The challenge of building a startup team for a firm from the scratch is that of uncertainty; the firm is unknown with nothing tangible for reference.  So it’s important to make a conscious effort to build an online presence and identity. Having a good reputation and outlook will make your firm attractive to top talents who may key into your vision and will want to work for you. It is important to make your social media posts objective, concise, and professional to keep and grow your community. A company’s website may be of an additional advantage if you can afford one.

Create a hiring process

After the capital, the biggest challenge to startup growth is hiring; If you recruit the right people, you will bring onboard individuals with the skills needed to grow your firm and its products, but if you get your hiring wrong, the success of your firm may be at risk. Hiring someone that has never been involved in a hiring process can be a daunting experience. Attracting top talents can be extremely difficult at this stage because your firm has no employment history. Hence, getting things right through a strategic plan is necessary.

Conduct research on employment processes and adopt that which suits your establishment the most. You can also seek the input or involvement of professionals to drive the process. An employment process for a startup should have the following feature:

  • An enticing job posting
  • An insightful screening and vetting process
  • An onboarding process
  • Terms and conditions of service

So before thinking about bringing people in, create a solid and consistent hiring process that will support and guide you in making the hiring process a success.


Setup compensation packages and employee benefits

These will not just make your firm an attractive place to work but will foster employee retention. In your early days, your workers will likely be relatively underpaid, relative to the market rate for their skills and effort. Once you feel financially secured you should raise their pay. Nonetheless, offering early employees equity as part of their compensation package will be helpful for your business; Many will be comfortable letting go of a portion of their pay in exchange for part ownership and the long-term reward its portents. Similarly, you should establish employee benefit programs such as health insurance and performance allowances to give prospective applicants a sense of security.

Your first hire is very vital to the life of your firm. Take the time to do to create the enabling environment, you will land a valuable employer that will be around for a long time and end up being one of the greatest things to happen to your business.

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