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Who should you hire first?

Startup hiring decisions

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How to decide who to hire first or who to hire next when your company is growing?

Hiring employees is one of the most important decisions in your business. At the same time is one of the things that can go very wrong and actually often do go wrong when we hire the wrong people for our businesses. It’s not only about hiring the right person capable of doing the job, the culture fit, but also hiring for the right roles at the current stage of your company growth. Here are a few tips if you want to know who to hire first.

Your first hire is a game changer. Get it right.

How to plan your hiring strategy

First, identify the areas of your business to hire for and what the new role will add most value to your life as a business owner. Consider the following things:

1. Your time

Where does most of your time go? Create a score card where you can write the weekly hours spent on specific tasks and add the hourly rate you could hire someone to do the same. This will quickly show you what you shouldn’t be doing yourself. Hire first people who will take over your low value tasks. It can be a part-time employee, a freelancer or a virtual assistant if you don’t have enough work yet for a full-time position. 

2. Hire a PA

One of your first hires should be your personal assistant. This will be one of the most important people in your business and will have the biggest impact on your time leverage. An executive assistant will add the most value in your business, enable you to focus on what you really need to take care of and improve your work life massively. 

3. What you hate doing

Hire for the jobs that you don’t enjoy doing yourself. The tasks that we don’t enjoy we usually procrastinate on, take up more time and usually we are not top performers on those – others would do them better. Those are also the areas where we are more likely to have blind spots and avoid taking important decisions. Keeping the tasks we dislike will slow down your start up’s growth. You will be much happier and more productive on other tasks when you hire employees for the jobs you don’t enjoy. 

4. Critical growth area

Think which area of your business is the most important to facilitate growth and hire for that area. 

Tip: Don’t hire for the tasks that give you the most joy. If you get rid of those, you will start getting bored and lose interest in your business. 

One thing to remember when building a team in your start up is, that the more people you employ, the more time you have to spend on managing them (instead of working yourself on the daily delivery). To avoid creating a bottleneck of your time shortage, first hire people to free up your time so you have more time and can transition into managing your team. 

So this is my take on the hiring priorities and deciding who you should hire first to grow your company. In my experience hiring a good assistant had the biggest impact on growing my business. The success of that hire was also thanks to my PA’s strengths in the areas which I didn’t enjoy doing – that’s another thing I want to recommend to double the impact of hiring a PA. 

If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.
What is your hiring experience and priorities?

Who did you you hire first in your business and was it the right decision? Filling which role helped you the most? 

Books about hiring

Staffing Organizations
The Wiley Blackwell Handbook of the Psychology of Recruitment, Selection and Employee Retention (Wiley-Blackwell Handbooks in Organizational Psychology) 

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