Hiring your first employees

We all know that you are only as strong as your weakest link. The same concept applies to your company. Employees can make or break your career. In this article, Josée Larocque-Patton gives us the low down on how to hire your very first employee.

Hiring the right employees is key to the development of your business. When someone is not a right fit you can run into challenging situations which cost you money, time and can be damaging to the work environment. When you hire the right employees, your business will thrive, your sales and profit will increase and your overall work environment will be successful.


The below steps can help new entrepreneurs and existing business owners grow their teams.



Have you defined the role(s) you are seeking to fill? What is your job analysis, have you determined the knowledge, skills and abilities you will be looking for to fill the role? Once you have determined the job, you can create your job description. Keep in mind people apply for roles based on their interests in the job, therefore the job description is your key to entry into a pool of applicants.


Include information about your company culture and social responsibility in your job description.


Attracting Job Applicants

Will you advertise on your company site or are you part of any local business group sites? What about LinkedIn and other local community sites which are cost-effective? Do you have any referrals for fellow business owners? As much as possible, it is not recommended to hire family or friends. To narrow down your applicants, include a salary range with benefit information on your posting.


Ensure your advert grabs the attention, interest and desire of any applicant and that it tells the applicant how to take action and apply for your role.

Resume Screening

In today’s world when someone has held the same role for 3 years, this can be considered loyalty to the company / position. Maternity, paternity leaves, people’s health and family situations could create gaps in history, therefore do not automatically shy away from a resume because there is a gap in history. When someone has very little work experience, look for extra-curricular activities, volunteer time or tutoring experience.


Google the person’s name or seek out their LinkedIn profile prior to deciding to interview them.


re-Screen Interview

Book a time for a 15-20 minute call to assess their interest in your company, confirm their previous work history and other items listed on the resume.  It is also a good time to question and set the expectations for the hours of work and the salary. The applicant should be given a realistic view of what the role entails.


Follow your gut. Only when you feel there is a possibility should you set a date for an in-person interview.


Always have two leaders in an interview. As far as possible, one male and one female to ensure gender equity. As a back-up, have a two-tier interview process - two separate interviews by two different gendered leaders. Pre-set your questions and always include behavior questions. If you have gotten this far, you know the person has the qualifications to do the role and now you are assessing their values, beliefs and want to determine if they will be an ambassador for your company.  


Do not ask any personal questions which may be considered unlawful in your country. Should an applicant share personal information, advise the applicant you do not require the information for the interview and continue with the interview.


Please always advise applicants they will be contacted should they be considered or move to the next level and not just leave them hanging. Hire for attitude, train for skill.


References, Background Checks

You are looking to seek out if there are any skeletons in the closet. Just like you Googled the person when you reviewed their resume, it does not hurt to do another social media check. All applicants usually provide 2-3 references, although many companies no longer provide references and only confirm employment. Your number one question to ask is “would you rehire?” If you cannot get a straight answer from the person providing a reference, or if the answer is long winded or beating around the bush, it is usually a sign that something is up. Think about it… when an employee is great, you could hear it in someone’s voice and the leader will usually automatically have positive things to say.


If you want a criminal background check, this should be shared with applicants at the onset of the job posting to avoid discrimination claims.

Before Considering to Hire

Discuss your candidate choices with other leaders and determine which applicant will be the right fit. Plan the applicant’s first 3-5 days down to each detail; who will meet the applicant on the first day, what paperwork needs to be completed, when they will have lunch, how they will get paid and when. And also who will they train or job shadow with.


A new applicant’s on-boarding is their first impression of you. Be prepared and ready to embrace them with open arms.


Extending the Offer

Verbally extend the offer and set a date and time to meet in person. If you are not able to meet in person, at least send the job offer by email and have them electronically return the offer. The preference is to have the job offer letter and all on-boarding material ready for the new employee to sign and review on day one. Include all details in your offer letter, salary, health and dental benefits, employment termination clause, potential bonus, vacation percentage, stock options and any other employee benefits you can provide (birthday day off with pay etc.).


Follow up, check in and ensure your new employee is set up for success.


Written By: Josée Larocque-Patton


For any other best practice tips or questions feel free to contact Josée Larocque-Patton | Founder & CEO of The HR ICU

www.thehricu.com | email josee@thehricu.com