As a small business, growing pains are something everyone is hoping to have. But that doesn’t make them any easier to solve. One of the biggest hurdles you’ll have to jump comes when it’s time to start bringing on employees.

From making the decision to hire to the candidate search and onboarding, hiring your first few employees can seem like a huge time and energy suck. Like most things, you’ll need to put in a little extra time, so you can save a bunch in the long run.

The good news is that if you put in the time where it really matters, you can save yourself a lot of hassle. Have no fear – we’re here to help you get started!

First Things First – Do You Really Need to Hire?

As a solo entrepreneur, you’re used to be super busy and wearing a bunch of different hats. So how can you tell when it’s actually time to bring on you first full-time employee? There’s no formula for building and growing a startup, but there are definitely signs when it’s time to hire.

If you don’t have time to work on your business — moving it forward and planning for the future – because you’re too busy maintaining it, then it’s probably time to look into hiring someone new. Another indication comes if clients or customers are not seeing you as much as they used to or as much they want to.

[pullquote]When your many hats start getting in the way of doing your true job as the entrepreneur, it’s time to start looking for your first employee.[/pullquote] That being said, if you just don’t have the budget for a full-time employee, there are plenty of tools and services to help you unload some of that work. For example, try hiring a virtual assistant to handle administrative tasks or a freelancer to build and maintain your website.

Who Should You Hire?

So you’ve decided that you really do need to hire a full-time employee, but who are you gonna hire? How do you know what type of hire – marketing, administrative, accounting – makes sense for your business right now?

What kind of hire to make first is going to vary depending on a lot of things, like what industry you’re in and what skills you have as the entrepreneur.

If there’s a skills gap in the company’s operations, hire to fill that gap. Are you having a hard time getting the word out about your business? Hire a marketing manager. Not good with money? Hire someone else to handle accounting.

If you’re simply overwhelmed with day-to-day operations, an assistant or administrative hire probably makes the most sense for you. Anything that doesn’t absolutely need your touch can be done by a new hire. That way you’ll have more time to focus on bigger things.

Let’s Make It Easier

Once you make the decision to start hiring, the process can seem absolutely daunting. But have no fear – hiring tools abound that can make your life a whole lot easier.


Job boards are the common place to post your job listing, but there are so many out there. How can you possibly find the time to post to every job board? SquareHire takes the work out of it by automatically posting your listing to your website and free job boards.

When applications come in, SquareHire organizes them into one, searchable database and keeps track of where each applicant is in the hiring process. You can even get metrics on which job boards have been the most successful for you!


When it comes to finding the right employee, LinkedIn is a huge resource. If you’re on the free version, you can search through more than 300 million users to find the right employee for you. You can also create a company page and post your job listing here.

On the affordable paid version, you can send InMail to any user – even if you’re not connected.


Once you have resumes and applications flowing in, Recruiterbox can help you stay organized and scheduled. The app is a collaborative and intuitive dashboard that’s organized a lot like your email inbox.

Bonus! If you only have one job opening, you can utilize their free package!


When it’s time to start interviewing candidates, HireVue makes the process much easier and less time intensive.

HireVue allows you to send questions to your candidates and have them answer them via video chat. The resulting video can be viewed on any device, and you can pause, rewind, and share with other team members.

Recruiting Services

Sometimes, you really just don’t have the time or the energy to go ahead with all that making a hire entails. The good news is there are tons of recruiting firms that are willing to do just about everything for you.

Firms, like Anchor Advisors, are specifically focused on recruiting for small businesses and offer their services for an affordable cost.

The 3 Things That Really Matter

Luckily, there are only a few parts of the process that really require a lot of TLC. There are 3 truly key aspects of the hiring process:

These are the stages when you want to put in the bulk of your time and effort because they hold the power to make the rest of the process much easier. Get these right and you’ll have an easy time when it comes to making a hiring decision and benefitting from your new employee.

1. The Job Description

Writing up a job description is the first step toward finding the right employee. It’s also pretty important. Your job description will ultimately determine who ends up in your applicant pool. Since you’re probably hoping the right person ends up there, you need to craft your job description very carefully.

Fortunately, job descriptions aren’t super complicated. You’re really just summarizing what you want the new hire to do and what the results of their work should be. But you do have to think about it.

What do you expect your new employee to do? Run your social media and web presence? Develop a strategic plan? Handle administrative tasks? Once you know what you need, it’s as simple as putting the pen to paper.

2. The Job Listing

A lot of this has to do with the job description that you just wrote. It also has a lot to do with where you put your job listing. Some great places to start include:

Crafting your job listing is another opportunity to fine-tune your depiction of the ideal candidate. While the job description says what the employee will do, the rest of the listing is about what the employee should be.

Here, you should include the skills that will be beneficial for the job (e.g. detail-oriented, strong managerial skills, research ability) and the character and personality traits that will help the ideal candidate fit with your workplace culture (e.g. energetic, team player).

You’ll also want to talk about the minimum qualifications for the position. Include education requirements, desired amount of experience, and any certifications necessary.

3. New Hire Onboarding

Onboarding is a method of ensuring that your new employee is caught up-to-speed and can be productive as soon as possible. Having effective onboarding helps your new hire to become a contributing employee as quickly as possible.

There are a number of strategies that you can use to help with employee onboarding. For example:

At Valve, “employees are given a 56-page whimsical employee handbook (or “survival guide”) with funny illustrations and a desk with wheels.”

Mike Montali of Harbor Business Compliance says, “Throughout the on-boarding training period, the new hire completes a scavenger hunt that involves engaging in various activities with members of the company such as joining a fantasy sports league or participating in a community service event.”

[pullquote]“Outings help the workers, especially the new ones, bond outside the office, where they can truly be themselves,” [/pullquote]noted Michael Pesochinsky of

Get Hiring!

Now that you know all about the super important parts of hiring a new employee, it’s time to get started. It’s all about knowing what you need and then looking for it.

Just remember: If you put the time and effort into finding and training the right new employee, you’ll be saving yourself lots of time in the long run! Now you have the tools, so get out there and find awesome people!

Your Turn: What insights can you share from hiring your first employee?